City Solicitor Shelley Smith today challenged in court the standing of the National Rifle Association to sue Philadelphia for a package of five gun-control laws passed by City Council on April 10 and signed immediately into law by Mayor Nutter. Smith told PhillyClout her preliminary objections, filed with Common Pleas Court Judge Jane Cutler Greenspan, note that the NRA challenges the legality of the gun control laws but doesn't "allege an actual injury." The NRA sued on behalf of its members in the city, two firearm organizations, two gun shops and four firearm owners.
"They don't deal specifically with the legal injury as it relates to each of the separate ordinances," Smith said. "You have to look at what every ordinance prohibits and then figure out if any of the plaintiffs can allege any specific injury." The local laws limit handgun purchases to one a month, make it a crime to not report a lost or stolen gun within 48 hours, allow police to confiscate guns with a judge's approval from people considered a danger to themselves or others, prohibit gun possession by people subject to protection from abuse orders, and ban semiautomatic weapons with clips that hold 10 or more rounds.
Greenspan on April 17 approved the NRA's request for a temporary restraining order to keep the city from enforcing the new laws. She will hold a hearing on May 19 to consider the group's request for a permanent injunction. The NRA says the laws conflict with a 1996 state Supreme Court ruling that only the state can regulate guns. Smith says the city laws do not conflict with that ruling. Further complicating matters, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey had vowed to enforce the local laws before the restraining order but District Attorney Lynne Abraham said she would not prosecute anyone arrested for violating them.
UPDATE: PhillyClout thanks the readers below for correcting our headline spelling. But we find their connection of our sloppy spelling to U.S. Sen. Barack Obama to be a ridiculous stretch. Thanks fellas!