As Snowflakes in Hell reports, the city of Philadelphia passed five new gun control laws today:
The five bills limit handgun purchases to one a month; require lost or stolen firearms to be reported to police within 24 hours; forbid individuals under protection from abuse orders from possessing guns if ordered by the court; allow removal of firearms from ?persons posing a risk of imminent personal injury? to themselves or others, as determined by a judge; and outlaw the possession and sale certain assault weapons.
Just one problem: PA state law preempts any city, country, or other entity from enacting gun control laws. The state legislature reserves that power to itself. There’s been a great deal of conflict between crime-ridden, urban Philadelphia (which is very anti-gun) and the rest of the state (which is very pro-gun) in regards to such laws. Rather than obey the state law, the Philadelphia city council enacted these laws and Mayor Nutter has signed them. He’s also ordered Police Chief Charles Ramsey – and by extension, all city police – to enforce these laws.
Because of preemption, and the Ortiz precedent upholding preemption, these laws passed by city council are essentially not law, so anyone enforcing them will be acting under color of law, and could possibly lose their qualified immunity.
In short: If the police do enforce these illegal laws (“illegal laws” seems contradictory, but oh well), they could stand to be held personally responsible.
This could get exciting. I suspect that the state legislature will slap Philadelphia, and that lawsuits may be filed. All of this paid for by taxpayer dollars.
This reminds me of a similar situation in San Francisco: California has a similar preemption law, and prohibits cities and counties from enacting their own gun control laws. San Francisco ignored this prohibition, enacted a ban on all handguns, got sued, lost in court, appealed, lost again, appealed to the State Supreme Court, and lost again. Lots of taxpayer money wasted for a stupid law that wouldn’t have any effect on crime. Philadelphia really needs to learn from the mistakes of others.