Commonwealth Court Strikes Challenge to Uniform Firearms Act  

In Crawford v. Commonwealth, ___ A.3d ___, 2022 WL 1681980 (Pa.Cmwlth. May 26, 2022), the Commonwealth Court dismissed a petition for review filed by a number of Philadelphia residents in which they alleged that the General Assembly engaged in unlawful conduct because it failed to revise the Uniform Firearms Act and Home Rule Charter and Optional Plans Law to permit municipal regulation of firearms.  

The residents asserted that the General Assembly should be liable under the state-created danger doctrine, substantive due process, and interference with statutory delegation of powers principles. In a lengthy opinion, the court rejected all of those arguments and stated, “To the extent Petitioners claim that municipalities could enact local laws more effective than the Firearm Preemption Statutes, these matters are reserved to the social policy-making branch of our government, the General Assembly.”  

In a concurring opinion, President Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer referenced Judge Leadbetter’s concurring opinion in a case earlier this year, in which she stated that “local conditions may well justify more severe restrictions than are necessary statewide.” Judge Jubelirer argued that the novel arguments raised here may provide a basis for the Supreme Court to reconsider its prior opinions and allow for local restrictions narrowly tailored to local necessities.  

Judge Ellen Ceisler filed a dissenting opinion, in which she stated that “Pennsylvania’s municipalities protect the health, welfare, and safety of their citizens. In my view, protecting citizens against the threat of gun violence lies at the heart of that duty.”  

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