December 12, 2018-
Six weeks after 11 people died in a shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, Democratic state Rep. Dan Frankel is seeking co-sponsors for legislation that would allow municipalities or counties to more easily create their own gun laws. Mr. Frankel, whose district includes the synagogue, is pitching two bills that would seek to remove so-called “pre-emption language” from either state law or the Allegheny County code. Pennsylvania courts have ruled that such language prohibits cities from enacting gun laws that differ substantially from state law, striking down, for example, assault weapon bans in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
“What I’m trying to do is, basically, change those laws and remove the pre-emption for local governments and allow them to move forward in light of the fact that the state has been unable or unwilling to address the issues,” Mr. Frankel said. Gun bills are often a heavy lift in the Republican-controlled state Legislature, and few have passed in recent years. Proponents of the pre-emption language have argued that it saves gun owners from accidentally running afoul of a patchwork set of firearm laws that could vary across municipal boundaries.