Amicus Brief: Leach v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

June 25, 2015

The Pennsylvania Coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns filed this amicus brief in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, supporting a constitutional challenge to a punitive, sweeping firearms preemption law adopted by the Pennsylvania legislature.

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IN THE SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA
MIDDLE DISTRICT
No. 61 MAP 2015
DAYLIN LEACH, Minority Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and
Senator Representing the 17th Senatorial District, VINCENT J. HUGHES,
Senator Representing the 7th Senatorial District, LAWRENCE M. FARNESE,
Senator Representing the 1st Senatorial District, CHERELLE L. PARKER,
Representative for the 200th House District, EDWARD C. GAINEY,
Representative for the 24th House District, the CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, the
CITY OF PITTSBURGH, and the CITY OF LANCASTER,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, MIKE TURZAI, Speaker of the
House of Representatives, JOSEPH SCARNATI, President Pro Tempore of the
Senate; MICHAEL J. STACK, III, Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania, and TOM WOLF, Governor of the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania.
Appeal of: MIKE TURZAI, Speaker of the House of Representatives, JOSEPH
SCARNATI, President Pro Tempore of the Senate
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE
PENNSYLVANIA COALITION OF MAYORS AGAINST ILLEGAL GUNS
IN SUPPORT OF APPELLEES
Appeal from the Order of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
at No. 585 MD 2014, dated June 25,
November 2, 2015
Kim M. Watterson (Pa. Bar No. 63552)
Richard L. Heppner Jr. (Pa. Bar No. 209208)
Paige H. Forster (Pa. Bar No. 204959)
REED SMITH LLP
Reed Smith Centre
225 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2716
412.288.3131
Counsel for Amicus Curiae Coalition Of
Mayors Against Illegal Guns
Received 11/02/2015 Supreme Court Middle District
2015
Filed 11/02/2015 Supreme Court Middle District
61 MAP 2015
– i –
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
TABLE OF AUTHORITIES ……………………………………………………………………… ii
INTEREST OF AMICUS CURIAE ……………………………………………………………… 1
SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT …………………………………………………………………….. 3
ARGUMENT ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 6
I. The Unconstitutional Procedure Used To Pass Act 192 Defeated The
Purposes Of Article III Of The Pennsylvania Constitution, Denied
Municipalities The Right To Be Heard, And Produced A Statute That
Would Have Severely Harmed Municipalities. …………………………………………. 6
A. Article III Of The Pennsylvania Constitution Prohibits Hybrid,
Multi-Subject Bills Like Act 192. ………………………………………………… 6
B. Proponents Of Act 192’s Standing And Fee Provisions
Resorted To The Unconstitutional Procedures Used Here
Because They Could Not Pass Those Provisions Using
Constitutionally Permissible Tactics. ………………………………………….. 10
II. This Case Demonstrates The Importance Of The Public Policies At
Stake, And Further Illustrates Why The Protections Of Article III,
Which Were Brushed Aside In Adopting Act 192, Are Crucial…………………. 12
CONCLUSION …………………………………………………………………………………………. 18
– ii –
TABLE OF AUTHORITIES
Page(s)
Cases
City of Philadelphia v. Commonwealth,
838 A.2d 566 (Pa. 2003) ……………………………………………………………………passim
Firearm Owners Against Crime v. City of Harrisburg,
2015-cv-354 (Dauphin Cty. Ct. Comm. Pleas) ………………………………………….. 16
Nat’l Rifle Ass’n v. City of Philadelphia,
977 A.2d 78 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2009), appeal denied, 996 A.2d
1068 (Pa. 2010) ……………………………………………………………………………………… 16
Nat’l Rifle Ass’n v. City of Pittsburgh,
999 A.2d 1256 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2010) ……………………………………………………. 16
U.S. Law Shield ex rel. Todd Hoover v. City of Harrisburg,
2015-cv-255 (Dauphin Cty. Ct. Comm. Pleas) ………………………………………….. 16
Washington v. Dep’t of Pub. Welfare,
71 A.3d 1070 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2013) ……………………………………………………….. 7
Other Authorities
2011 PA House Bill 1523 ……………………………………………………………………………. 10
2013 PA House Bill 1243 ……………………………………………………………………………. 10
Joshua Prince, Municipalities Repealing Unlawful Ordinances, Prince
Law Offices, P.C. (Dec. 31, 2014)
http://blog.princelaw.com/2014/12/31/municipalities-repealingunlawful-ordinances/
……………………………………………………………………………… 16
National Rifle Association suing Pittsburgh and Philadelphia over
gun laws, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Jan. 15, 2015, available at
http://www.post-gazette.com/news/state/2015/01/14/NRA-suingPennsylvania-cities-over-gun-laws/stories/201501140192
………………………….. 16
– iii –
Novel New Law Prompts Towns To Agree To Rescind Gun Measures,
Associated Press, Jan. 11, 2015, available at
http://apne.ws/1y7RYG6; ……………………………………………………………………….. 16
Pa. Const. Art. III § 1 ……………………………………………………………………………………. 6
Pa. Const. Art. III § 3 ……………………………………………………………………………………. 6
Pennsylvania: Governor Tom Corbett Signs Firearms Preemption
Legislation into Law, NRA Institute for Legislative Action (Oct.
28, 2014), http://www.nraila.org/articles/20141028/pennsylvaniagovernor-tom-corbett-signs-firearms-preemption-legislation-intolaw
……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 13
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INTEREST OF AMICUS CURIAE
Amicus curiae, the Pennsylvania Coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns
(the “Mayors’ Coalition”) is a coalition of 194 mayors of cities, townships, and
boroughs across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.1
The municipal chief
executives who make up the Mayors’ Coalition are the elected leaders of
municipalities of diverse sizes, from several boroughs of fewer than 200 people to
the nation’s fifth largest city, with more than 1.5 million residents.2
Among the
members of the Mayors’ Coalition—which include the leaders of the three city
Appellees in this case—are Republicans, Democrats, and independents who hold
divergent views on a wide range of political questions, and disagree on many
issues. But the members of Amicus all agree that their highest responsibility is
enforcing public safety laws to protect the communities they serve, and that
addressing the high cost of firearms violence is central to upholding this duty.3

1
A full list of the members of the Mayors’ Coalition is set forth in the Appendix.
2
The smallest municipality represented in the Mayors’ Coalition, Cherry Valley,
has fewer than 70 residents; the largest, Philadelphia, has a population of more
than 1.5 million.
3
The Pennsylvania Coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns is part of a larger,
national coalition of current and former mayors that is a project of Everytown for
Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country.
Everytown brings together more than 3 million supporters—including moms,
mayors, gun violence survivors, and everyday Americans—who are fighting for
public safety measures that respect the Second Amendment and help save lives. At
(continued…)
– 2 –
Amicus’s members are the ones who get late-night calls when a police
officer is shot or a child is killed. They know first-hand the toll that gun violence
takes on communities across the Commonwealth, and they seek to use all the tools
at their disposal to mitigate the costs of gun violence. The law at issue here,
Act 192, hinders the ability of these local leaders to carry out their most important
responsibility. Worse, it threatens their municipalities, and their taxpaying citizens,
with onerous and punitive financial penalties for taking any actions—even actions
fully consistent with state law—to confront gun violence.
Amicus files this brief to assist the Court in understanding how the
unconstitutional process used to pass Act 192 impeded the Mayors’ Coalition’s
ability to participate in the constitutionally-mandated legislative process, and to
protect the fiscal and security interests of its members’ communities. The brief
demonstrates the impact that an unprecedented bill like Act 192 will have on the
ability of communities across the Commonwealth to ensure public safety and to
protect the public fisc.
________________________
(continued…)
the core of Everytown, along with the national Mayors Against Illegal Guns
coalition, are Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a grassroots
movement of mothers founded the day after the Sandy Hook tragedy, and the
Everytown Survivor Network, which empowers survivors to share their stories and
take action to spare other families pain.
– 3 –
SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT
Before it was invalidated by the Commonwealth Court, Act 192 threatened
municipal governments’ ability to govern and protect their citizens. Because Act
192’s backers succeeded in advancing the legislation only by resorting to
constitutionally impermissible machinations at the eleventh hour of the legislative
session, the public—including the Mayors’ Coalition and residents of the
municipalities its members govern—was denied the chance to consider and weigh
in on the bill’s firearms provisions before its passage. This irregular procedure
contravened the basic purpose of Article III of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Act 192 also undermined the longstanding and well-established precedent of
the Pennsylvania courts by adding to the Pennsylvania firearm preemption statute,
18 Pa. C.S. § 6120 (“Section 6120”), an unprecedented grant of standing to
individuals and organizations that have suffered no harm or injury. The Act
conferred a sweeping private right of action to challenge local firearm
regulations—and awarded fees and costs to anyone who brought a successful
action, even if a municipality rescinded an ordinance rather than defending it. It
granted this right of action to any resident of the Commonwealth who can legally
own a firearm (or an organization of which she is a member), even if the ordinance
was never enforced against the individual—indeed, even if she never set foot in the
municipality in question. By opening the courthouse door to plaintiffs who have
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suffered no actual injury—and encouraging them to sue with the prospect of legal
fees—the Act also would have required municipalities to bear the costs of
defending baseless, and ultimately unsuccessful, legal challenges to entirely lawful
local ordinances.
The provisions effecting that amendment of the Commonwealth’s firearm
preemption law were inserted at the last minute into a bill, House Bill No. 80, that
dealt with an entirely different and unrelated subject: the theft of copper wiring
and other scrap metals from businesses and construction sites. As a result, the Act
violated the original purpose rule and the single subject rule of Article III of the
Pennsylvania Constitution.
Article III’s original purpose and single subject rules exist to ensure an open
and deliberative legislative process. They guarantee legislators and the public
proper notice of—and the opportunity to consider and debate—all legislation
before its passage. These rules were violated and their purposes were circumvented
by the last-minute insertion of major changes to House Bill No. 80 on the eve of its
passage, changes that were totally unrelated to its core provisions on metal theft.
This eleventh hour grafting of wholly unrelated standing and fees provisions
onto a bill regulating stolen copper wire not only created an unconstitutional
hybrid, it also enacted sweeping, historically unprecedented changes that would
have undermined municipalities’ abilities to govern and to protect their citizens.
– 5 –
By invalidating Act 192, the Commonwealth Court prevented an attempt to amend
Pennsylvania law that would have created one of the strictest—and most
financially punitive—firearm preemption statute in the history of the United States.
It would have subjected Pennsylvania municipalities and their taxpayers to onerous
fiscal penalties in the form of legal fees and costs—regardless of whether the
municipalities defended their regulations in court or voluntarily repealed them.
Therefore, the public—including the members of the Mayors’ Coalition and
the municipalities they govern—had much to say regarding the merits of Act 192’s
unprecedented standing and attorneys’ fees provisions. When those provisions
were considered in a stand-alone firearms bill, the public aired its concerns to the
legislature, and the bill was rejected. But unconstitutional procedural tactics
prevented the public, including the Mayors’ Coalition members, from being heard
when these measures were spliced into Act 192 and rammed through the
Legislature just as it ended its session.
This Court should affirm the Commonwealth Court’s order striking down
Act 192 as unconstitutional.
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ARGUMENT
I. The Unconstitutional Procedure Used To Pass Act 192 Defeated The
Purposes Of Article III Of The Pennsylvania Constitution, Denied
Municipalities The Right To Be Heard, And Produced A Statute That
Would Have Severely Harmed Municipalities.
As the Commonwealth Court held, the enactment of Act 192 violated both
the original purpose rule and the single subject rule of Article III of the
Pennsylvania Constitution. Because of the vitally important public safety—and
fiscal—implications of an unprecedented legislative act like Act 192, public debate
on such legislation is critical, and the ability of municipalities to weigh in on such
legislation must be safeguarded. The highly irregular and unconstitutional
procedures by which Act 192 was adopted denied municipalities, including those
led by the members of the Mayors’ Coalition, that ability.
A. Article III Of The Pennsylvania Constitution Prohibits Hybrid,
Multi-Subject Bills Like Act 192.
Article III specifies that “no bill shall be so altered or amended, on its
passage through either House, as to change its original purpose,” and that “[n]o bill
shall be passed containing more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed
in its title.” Pa. Const. art. III §§ 1, 3. “Article III’s general purpose is to place
restraints on the legislative process and encourage an open, deliberative and
accountable government.” City of Philadelphia v. Commonwealth, 838 A.2d 566,
585 (Pa. 2003) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Sections 1 and 3 of
Article III impose on the legislative process “mandatory requirements that apply
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to the procedures by which all legislation is to be enacted [and] . . . are a
cornerstone of our democratic process.” Washington v. Dep’t of Pub. Welfare, 71
A.3d 1070, 1077 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2013) (emphasis added). They forbid “inserting
measures into bills without providing fair notice to the public and to legislators.”
City of Phila., 838 A.2d. at 586. In other words, Article III’s original purpose and
single subject rules ensure that all citizens of the Commonwealth can participate in
the democratic process.
Here, the violations of Article III that led to the enactment of Act 192
undermined Article III’s cornerstone function of protecting Pennsylvania’s open
and deliberative legislative process. Act 192’s standing and attorneys’ fees
provisions were wholly unrelated to the original purpose of House Bill 80, which
was, as the Commonwealth Court found, to criminalize theft of secondary metal.
Leach, 2015 WL 3889262 at *15. In addition, the title of Act 192, which stated
that (among other things) it was “for limitation on the regulation of firearms and
ammunition,” did not fully and fairly reflect the bill’s true purpose, which was to
create unprecedented rights for non-aggrieved persons to sue and recover
attorneys’ fees. (See R. 241a). Appellants’ arguments to the contrary are
unavailing.
Appellants argued to the Commonwealth Court that Act 192’s original
purpose was to “establish[] the offense of theft of secondary metals and grade[] the
– 8 –
offense as a misdemeanor of the first degree or a felony”—a purpose supposedly
related to the standing and fee provisions of the final version of the bill because
conviction of a misdemeanor or felony “precludes ownership of a firearm under
federal law.” (R. 68a). Now, Appellants argue to this Court that the original
purpose was “to amend the Criminal Code,” or alternatively “to amend the Crimes
Code, but only with respect to statutes that (i) affect the ability of an individual to
legally possess a firearm, or (ii) regulate the legal possession of firearms.”
Appellants’ Br. 26-28. This echoes Appellants’ argument that Act 192’s “single
subject” is to “amend the Crimes Code, but only with respect to statutes that
involve the regulation of firearms or the ability to own a firearm.” Id. at 17.
Contrary to Appellants’ contentions, these post-hoc rationalizations regarding
Act 192’s “original purpose” and supposed “single subject” cannot be squared with
nature of the legislation or the requirements of Article III.
According to Appellants, whenever the General Assembly contemplates a
bill that would establish a misdemeanor or felony offense or modify the Crimes
Codes, members of the Mayors’ Coalition and other municipal leaders would need
to scrutinize every proposed amendment to the bill to discover whether any
altogether distinct provisions relating to lawsuits about firearms had been
introduced. And Appellants’ proffered interpretation of Article III would similarly
require that mayors invest substantial time and resources in poring over bills of all
– 9 –
kinds to ensure that their voices are heard on subjects that affect them. The need
for such vigilance would strain the resources of municipalities all over the
Commonwealth—and it is precisely the outcome that Article III of the
Pennsylvania Constitution forbids.
This Court has ruled that Article III, section 3 imposes a “germaneness”
requirement, which is met “where the provisions added during the legislative
process assist in carrying out a bill’s main objective or are otherwise ‘germane’ to
the bill’s subject as reflected in its title.” City of Philadelphia, 838 A.2d at 587. A
bill does not pass the germaneness test merely because it is conceivably possible to
“fashion a single, over-arching topic to loosely relate the various subjects included
in the statute under review.” Id. Appellants’ specious attempts to relate Act 192’s
metals theft provisions to its standing and fee provisions cannot satisfy the
requirements of Article III. Rather, they merely serve to illustrate this Court’s
pointed observation that “no two subjects are so wide apart that they may not be
brought into a common focus, if the point of view be carried back far enough.” Id.
at 588 (quoting Payne v. School Dist. of Borough of Coudersport, 31 A. 1072,
1074 (Pa. 1895) (per curiam)). Appellants’ efforts to pull back far enough that Act
192’s metal theft and standing and fee provisions come “into a common focus,”
cannot conceal that Act 192 addresses distinct and wholly unrelated subjects. See
– 10 –
id. The Commonwealth Court correctly held that it does not pass constitutional
muster.
B. Proponents Of Act 192’s Standing And Fee Provisions Resorted
To The Unconstitutional Procedures Used Here Because They
Could Not Pass Those Provisions Using Constitutionally
Permissible Tactics.
Article III’s single subject and original purpose rules ensure transparency
and exist to guarantee that provisions of legislation are considered—and rise or
fall—on their merits, rather than becoming law after being shoehorned into
unrelated bills that are uncontroversial or enjoy widespread support. As this Court
has explained, one purpose of Article III’s single subject rule is to prevent “the
attachment of riders which could not become law on their own to popular bills that
are certain to pass.” City of Phila., 838 A.2d at 586 (internal quotation marks and
citation omitted). That is precisely what happened here.
Act 192’s standing and attorneys’ fees amendments would not have
passed—indeed, they did not pass—under the Legislature’s ordinary and
constitutionally mandated procedures. When considered in the light of day as a
stand-alone firearms bill (see 2011 PA House Bill 1523), the provisions died in
committee. Two years later, another attempt to append them to a bill amending the
Uniform Firearms Act suffered the same fate. See 2013 PA House Bill 1243. Only
by resorting to extra-legal means—and grafting the controversial standing and fees
provisions onto an uncontroversial, enormously popular bill, House Bill 80—were
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the sponsors of these provisions able to advance them through the Legislature.4
This circumvention of procedure had the effect of limiting debate on the
amendment. And, just as importantly, it shielded the bill from the attention of the
public, denying municipalities that would be affected the opportunity to weigh in
with their legislators.
The perversion of procedure that allowed Act 192 to pass would have
engendered dire and inevitable consequences for municipalities. Almost every
municipality in the Commonwealth has the word “firearm” in its code in various
places—frequently in ordinances that have been on the books for decades and that
have not been enforced in recent memory—and Act 192 encourages lawsuits
against all these municipalities, even by persons or organizations who have never
visited the city and cannot make any colorable claim to have been harmed by the
ordinances in question. Pennsylvania municipalities that did not scrub their legal
codes and rescind each of these ordinances would have faced onerous financial
penalties as a result of these lawsuits. Indeed, even a municipality that successfully
defended itself against a challenge to a non-preempted law would have been
required to bear the cost of that defense, since Act 192 awards attorneys’ fees only
to successful plaintiffs, not successful municipal defendants.

4
When considered in its original form, as a bill dealing exclusively with metal
theft, House Bill 80 sailed through the House by an overwhelming 197-2 vote.
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A full debate on the amended version of House Bill 80 would have brought
these ill-advised and dangerous consequences to light. As explained above, when
the measures were considered on the merits on their own, and apart from the
uncontroversial metal theft provisions at House Bill 80’s core, they failed. Had an
open and transparent debate been held on conjoining the standing and fees
provisions with the original metal theft provisions, it is likely—through advocacy
by the Mayors’ Coalition and other citizens of the Commonwealth—that the hybrid
bill would also have failed. But because the bill’s original purpose was
unconstitutionally modified, because the final bill unconstitutionally contained
more than one subject, and because those changes were rushed through in the last
moments of the legislative session, the outcome of an open and fair debate on Act
192 will never be known. The constitutional rights of the Mayors’ Coalition’s
members, and all Pennsylvanians, to participate in the legislative process were
abridged. For this reason, the Commonwealth Court overturned Act 192.
II. This Case Demonstrates The Importance Of The Public Policies At
Stake, And Further Illustrates Why The Protections Of Article III,
Which Were Brushed Aside In Adopting Act 192, Are Crucial.
Act 192 purported to enact unprecedented, unique, and sweeping changes to
Pennsylvania law. It raised important public policy and good governance issues
upon which the public should have been given the chance to weigh in. Had it not
been struck down, the Act would have created one of the strictest firearm
– 13 –
preemption statutes in the nation. It would have imposed on local municipalities
the expenses not only of defending their regulations, but also of footing the bill for
any legal challenges that succeed. Just the threat of lawsuits under Act 192 had a
chilling effect on local governments, pressuring them to repeal local firearm
regulations—whether or not they actually were preempted under Section 6120. In
short, Act 192 raised public policy issues and had wide-reaching implications that
should have been debated openly in the legislature and by the public. Open and
public debate on important issues, such as those raised by Act 192, is at the very
heart of what Article III is meant to protect. See City of Phila., 838 A.2d. at 586
(noting purpose of Article III to ensure “fair notice to the public and to
legislators”).
As amended by Act 192, Pennsylvania’s firearm preemption statute would
have been the only law in the nation to include such harsh and punitive standing
and fee provisions. When Act 192 was signed, the advocacy arm of the National
Rifle Association applauded it as the “strongest firearms preemption statute in the
country.”5
Even if one agrees with the NRA’s position supporting Act 192, surely
legislation that makes Pennsylvania an outlier far outside the mainstream—even

5
Pennsylvania: Governor Tom Corbett Signs Firearms Preemption Legislation into
Law, NRA Institute for Legislative Action (Oct. 28, 2014),
http://www.nraila.org/articles/20141028/pennsylvania-governor-tom-corbett-signsfirearms-preemption-legislation-into-law.

– 14 –
among states with firearm preemption statutes—should have been passed only with
substantive debate and opportunity for input by Pennsylvania citizens. Enacting
such a far-reaching and significant law without such debate and input runs counter
to Article III’s protections for citizens and its safeguarding of an open and
deliberative legislative process.
Although Pennsylvania is not alone in preempting at least some local firearm
regulations, Act 192 went far beyond the preemption laws in other states. By its
terms, the Act’s standing provisions swept broadly, granting standing to any
“resident of this Commonwealth who may legally possess a firearm under federal
and state law,” or any membership organization that has as a member one such
person, to challenge any “ordinance, a resolution, regulation, rule, practice or any
other action” that is “prohibited” by Section 6120. (R. 246a). The newly created
private right of action would have empowered a single non-resident to threaten
local governments with the cost of defending suits where no plaintiff was harmed
(or, more likely, empowered a non-local firearms advocacy association, like the
National Rifle Association, which has already brought such suits against the
Appellee cities, to do so).
Moreover, unlike other states’ firearm preemption laws, Act 192
encouraged such threats by placing a bounty on local governments’ heads. It
contained an unusual “sore winner” provision that makes a fee award almost
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impossible to avoid, because fees would have been shifted even if the local
government voluntarily rescinded or repealed a challenged regulation once a suit
was filed. Id. (As noted, however, the Act did not require unsuccessful challengers
to reimburse municipalities for the cost of defending their regulations.) Act 192, in
other words, was a one-two punch: it greatly expanded the group of individuals
and organizations who could be plaintiffs, and also greatly expanded the number of
plaintiffs who would have qualified for an award of attorneys’ fees.
Act 192, therefore, had a dramatic chilling effect on local governments. It
pressured municipalities to repeal enactments—even if no one whom they affect
objected to them—for fear that a fee-seeking plaintiff would file a judicial
challenge. And it discouraged local governments even from taking steps that would
be permitted under Section 6120, merely because there would have been a much
greater potential for costly and meritless lawsuits challenging such measures. In
the face of such vexatious litigation and expense, Pennsylvania municipalities were
pressured to repeal even regulations that were not preempted.
The threat of proliferating litigation—and the chilling effect on local
governments—had already proved quite real immediately after the bill’s passage.
Before Act 192 even went into effect on January 5, 2015, one attorney sent letters
to nearly 100 municipalities threatening suit if they did not repeal local firearms
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regulations.6
Many capitulated rather than contemplate the costs of defending their
regulations.7
Shortly after Act 192 took effect (and before the Commonwealth
Court struck it down), Appellant’s amicus the National Rifle Association filed
three lawsuits against Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Lancaster.8
Non-residents filed
not one, but two, lawsuits against Harrisburg. U.S. Law Shield ex rel. Todd Hoover
v. City of Harrisburg, 2015-cv-255 (Dauphin Cty. Ct. Comm. Pleas); Firearm
Owners Against Crime v. City of Harrisburg, 2015-cv-354 (Dauphin Cty. Ct.
Comm. Pleas). Under longstanding precedent, because none of these plaintiffs had
suffered any actual injury, none would have had legal standing to bring these
lawsuits were it not for Act 192’s standing provisions being forced through the
Legislature using brazen and unconstitutional means. See Nat’l Rifle Ass’n v. City
of Pittsburgh, 999 A.2d 1256, 1259 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2010) (dismissing on
standing grounds claims that local regulations were preempted); Nat’l Rifle Ass’n

6
Michael Rubinkam, Novel New Law Prompts Towns To Agree To Rescind Gun
Measures, Associated Press, Jan. 11, 2015, available at http://apne.ws/1y7RYG6;
see also Joshua Prince, Municipalities Repealing Unlawful Ordinances, Prince
Law Offices, P.C. (Dec. 31, 2014) http://blog.princelaw.com/2014/12/31/
municipalities-repealing-unlawful-ordinances/.
7 Id.
8 National Rifle Association suing Pittsburgh and Philadelphia over gun laws,
Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Jan. 15, 2015, available at http://www.postgazette.com/news/state/2015/01/14/NRA-suing-Pennsylvania-cities-over-gunlaws/stories/201501140192.

– 17 –
v. City of Philadelphia, 977 A.2d 78, 81-82 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2009) (same), appeal
denied, 996 A.2d 1068, 1069 (Pa. 2010). Moreover, without Act 192, none of the
attorneys bringing these suits would have had the rare financial incentive of
recovering fees and costs, even if it were possible for them to locate a plaintiff who
had actually suffered injury or harm.
In sum, it is unsurprising that Act 192’s proponents had to resort to an
extraordinary—and unconstitutional—procedural ploy to pass Act 192. The Act
was a major departure even from standard state firearm preemption statutes. It
placed unprecedented power over local government in the hands of non-residents
and single-issue special interests. It had the potential to markedly affect municipal
budgets and impose significant costs on local taxpayers. It allowed nearly anyone
to challenge local regulations—even regulations that enjoy unanimous local
support, and even regulations that ultimately would withstand the merits of a
Section 6120 preemption challenge.
Because Act 192’s standing and attorneys’ fees provisions so dramatically
affected local governance and municipal budgets—something that became
apparent immediately after the statute took effect—it was precisely the kind of
legislation that requires full and open public debate before enactment. As
explained, guaranteeing such debate is the purpose of Article III’s single subject
and original purpose rules. Because those rules were violated here, local
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governments and elected officials—including members of the Mayors’ Coalition—
were not heard and could not participate fully in public debate regarding the
important policy implications of the Act. Therefore, the Commonwealth Court
correctly ruled that passage of Act 192 violated Article III.
CONCLUSION
Because of the unconstitutional way Act 192 was passed, an extraordinary
statute that would have directly affected municipalities throughout the
Commonwealth was enacted without meaningful debate or an opportunity for
citizens to voice their views. The Court should affirm the Commonwealth Court’s
order striking down Act 192.
November 2, 2015 Respectfully Submitted,
/s/ Richard L. Heppner Jr.
Kim M. Watterson, Esq.
Richard L. Heppner, Jr., Esq.
Paige H. Forster, Esq.
REED SMITH LLP
Reed Smith Centre
225 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2716
Phone: 412.288.3131
Fax: 412.288.3063
Counsel for Amicus Curiae
Coalition Of Mayors Against Illegal Guns
APPENDIX
The following is a complete list of the members of Amicus Pennsylvania
Coalition Of Mayors Against Illegal Guns as of the date of filing:
Aldan Mayor James Hopely
Aliquippa Mayor Dwan Walker
Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski
Ambler Mayor Jeanne Sorg
Applewold Mayor Gretchen Dosch
Auburn Mayor Barbara Burke
Avondale Mayor Doris Howell
Bell Acres Mayor Ronald Besong
Bendersville Mayor Robin Gochenauer
Bentleyville Mayor Thomas Brown
Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez
Big Beaver Mayor Donald Wachter
Birdsboro Mayor Joseph Peterson
Blawnox Mayor Anthony Gross
Boyertown Mayor Marianne Deery
Briar Creek Mayor Verncel Creveling
Bristol Mayor Patrick Sabatini
Brownsville Mayor Lester Ward
Burgettstown Mayor Anna Marie Quader
Burnham Mayor Loyce Harpster
Canonsburg Mayor David Rhome
Carbondale Mayor Justin Taylor
Carlisle Mayor Timothy Scott
Castle Shannon Mayor Donald Baumgarten
Catasauqua Mayor Barbara Schlegel
Chalfant Mayor James Perry
Chalfont Mayor Marilyn Becker
Cherry Valley Mayor Ronald Lockwood
Chester Mayor John Linder
Churchill Mayor Paul McKenna
Clairton Mayor Richard Lattanzi
Clearfield Mayor James Schell
Collingdale Mayor Frank Kelly
Colwyn Mayor Michael Blue
Conway Mayor Debbie Giska-Rose
Conyngham Mayor Joseph Carrelli
Coraopolis Mayor Anthony Celeste
Courtdale Mayor Dorothy Duesler
Cressona Mayor Gail Knauf
Dallas Mayor Timothy Carroll
Darby Mayor Helen Thomas
Dormont Mayor Phil Ross
Dover Mayor Richard Pope
Downingtown Mayor Josh Maxwell
Doylestown Mayor Ron Strouse
Duquesne Mayor Philip Krivacek
Eagles Mere Mayor Joan Werner
East Brady Mayor John Klein
East Pittsburgh Mayor Louis Payne
Easton Mayor Salvatore Panto
Edgewood Mayor J. Edward Cook
Edgeworth Mayor Wayne Murphy
Ehrenfeld Mayor Ray Plummer
Ellport Mayor Joseph Cisco
Ellwood City Mayor Anthony Court
Emporium Mayor Bruno Carnovale
Emsworth Mayor Dorothy Quinn
Erie Mayor Joseph Sinnott
Factoryville Mayor D. Gary Evans
Falls Creek Mayor Charles Moore
Farrell Mayor Olive McKeithan
Felton Mayor Gary McBrien
Folcroft Mayor Robert Frey
Fountain Hill Mayor Jose Rosado
Freeburg Mayor Fred Moyer
Freemansburg Mayor Gerald Yob
Freeport Mayor James Swartz
Girard Mayor William Miller
Girardville Mayor Edward Burns
Greensburg Mayor Ronald Silvis
Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse
Hartleton Mayor James Dorman
Hastings Mayor Sam Grillo
Hatboro Mayor Norm Hawkes
Hawley Mayor David Hawk
Hawthorn Mayor Ronald Cyphert
Heidelberg Mayor Kenneth LaSota
Highspire Mayor John Hoerner
Homestead Mayor Betty Esper
Hummelstown Mayor Bradley Miller
Huntingdon Mayor Dee Dee Brown
Hyde Park Mayor John Zanotti
Indiana Mayor George Hood
Industry Mayor Nicholas Yanosich
Jefferson Mayor James Sanders
Jenkintown Mayor Ed Foley
Knoxville Mayor Donald Bosh
Kutztown Mayor Sandra Green
Laflin Mayor Dorothy Yazurlo
Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray
Lansdowne Mayor Anthony P. Campuzano
Laureldale Mayor Fred Feltenberger
Leetsdale Mayor Peter Poninsky
Lincoln Mayor James J. Beisler
Linesville Mayor Barry Chapin
Liverpool Mayor John Mark
Loganton Mayor David P. Shreckengast
Lyons Mayor Randy Schlegel
Malvern Mayor David Burton
Martinsburg Mayor Rex Hartman
Mayfield Mayor Alexander Chelik
McDonald Mayor Terry Bennett
McKean Mayor Weslee Clapper-Krepps
Meadville Mayor John Christopher Soff
Media Mayor Bob McMahon
Mercersburg Mayor James Zeger
Milesburg Mayor Ethel Kellerman
Mill Creek Mayor Lester Haney
Millbourne Mayor Thomas Kramer
Milton Mayor Edward Nelson
Monaca Mayor John Antoline
Montoursville Mayor John Dorin
Moosic Mayor James Segilia
Morton Mayor Maureen Piselli
Munhall Mayor Raymond Bodnar
Nanty-Glo Mayor Stephen Szymusiak
Narberth Mayor Tom Grady
New Castle Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo
New Philadelphia Mayor Frances Tkach
New Stanton Mayor Nicholas DeSantis
Newell Mayor Nicki Todaro
Newport Mayor Mary Hetrick
North Charleroi Mayor Stephen B. Hega
Northampton Mayor Thomas Reenock
Northern Cambria Mayor Carol Jarvis
Oil City Mayor Barbara Crudo
Oxford Mayor Geoffrey Henry
Palmyra Mayor Fred Carpenter
Parkside Mayor Ardele Gordon
Penndel Mayor Robert Winkler
Perryopolis Mayor Timothy Smith
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter
Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto
Port Clinton Mayor Jeffery Schappell
Pottsville Mayor James T. Muldowney
Reading Mayor Vaughn Spencer
Ridgway Mayor Guillermo Udarbe
Saltsburg Mayor Elizabeth K. Rocco
Sellersville Mayor Thomas Hufnagle
Seward Mayor Anthony Hajjar
Sharon Hill Mayor Harry Dunfee
Sharpsburg Mayor Richard Panza
Shippensburg Mayor Bruce Hockersmith
Souderton Mayor John Reynolds
South Coatesville Mayor John Long Jr.
St. Lawrence Mayor Michael Fritz
State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham
Steelton Mayor Thomas Acri
Stockertown Mayor Charles Davis
Stoystown Mayor William Boyd
Strattanville Mayor Harold Davis
Sugar Notch Mayor William Davis
Summerhill Mayor Eric Miller
Summit Hill Mayor Paul McArdle
Sunbury Mayor David Persing
Sutersville Mayor Alaina Breakiron
Swarthmore Mayor Timothy Kearney
Telford Mayor David Snook
Timblin Mayor Kenneth Danser
Trafford Mayor Reynold Peduzzi
Trainer Mayor Francis Zalewski
Tremont Mayor Roger D. Adams
Troy Mayor Mike Powers
Tullytown Mayor J. David Cutchineal
Tunnelhill Mayor LeAnn Hritz
Turtle Creek Mayor Kristine Kelley
Upper Darby Mayor Thomas Micozzie
Verona Mayor David Ricupero
Wampum Mayor Jeffrey Steffler
Waynesboro Mayor Richard Starliper
Wellsboro Mayor John Wheeler
West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta
West Conshohocken Mayor Joseph Pignoli
West Easton Mayor Gerald Gross
West Hazleton Mayor Frank Schmidt
West Homestead Mayor John Dindak
West Leechburg Mayor James Gallucci
West Mayfield Mayor Paul Farkas
West Newton Mayor Mary Popovich
West View Mayor John Henry
Westfield Mayor Dick Vargeson
Whitehall Borough Mayor James Nowalk
Whitehall Township Mayor Edward Hozza
Wilkes-Barre Mayor Thomas Leighton
Wilkinsburg Mayor John Thompson
Wilson Mayor David Perusso
Windsor Mayor Larry Markel
Yatesville Mayor Vincent Tozzi
Yeadon Mayor Rohan Hepkins
Yoe Mayor John Sanford
York Springs Mayor Jeffrey Shull
York Mayor C. Kim Bracey
Youngwood Mayor Joan Derco
Zelienople Mayor Thomas Oliverio

CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE AND SERVICE
I hereby certify that this brief complies with the limit of Pa.R.A.P. 2135
because it does not exceed 30 pages.
I further certify that on the 2nd day of November, 2015, a true and correct
copy of the Brief of Amicus Curiae Pennsylvania Coalition of Mayors Against
Illegal Guns was served via the court’s electronic filing system and United States
mail, first class, postage prepaid, addressed as follows:
Martin Jay Black
Robert Louis Masterson
Dechert LLP
2929 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2808
Richard Gerson Feder
Eleanor N. Ewing
City of Philadelphia Law Dep’t.
1515 Arch St. 17th Fl.
Philadelphia, PA 19102-1595
Counsel for Appellees
Lauren Fitzgerald, Esq.
Kathy Ochroch, Esq.
Blank Rome LLP
One Logan Square
130 North 18th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-6998
Counsel for Amicus Curiae
Cease Fire PA
Michael Vincent Puppio, Jr.
James Patrick Hickey, III
Nicholas Michael Orloff
Raffaele & Puppio, L.L.P.
19 W. Third St.
Media, PA 19063-2803
Counsel for Appellants Mike Turzai,
Speaker of the House and Joseph B.
Scarnati, President Pro Tempore
Jonathan S. Goldstein
Robert J. McNelly
Britain R. Henry, Esquire
McNelly & Goldstein, LLC
11 Church Road,
Hatfield, P A 19440
Counsel for Amici Curiae
The National Rifle Association
Of America and The Firearm
Owners Against Crime
/s/ Richard L. Heppner Jr.
Richard L. Heppner Jr.
(Pa. Bar No. 209208)
Counsel for Amicus Curiae

Leach v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Leach v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania