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Wolf vetoes bill to prevent municipal firearms restrictions

The Associated Press
In this Jan. 19, 2016, file photo, handguns are displayed at the Smith & Wesson booth at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas.

HARRISBURG — A bill to help gun owners and gun-rights groups seek civil damages from governmental bodies that pass firearms restrictions was vetoed on Thursday by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

The legislation would have given a pathway to the courts for people adversely impacted by ordinances, rules or other actions by counties, townships, boroughs and cities that violate limits in state law.

The aggrieved parties would have been able to collect damages and to seek a court injunction against the laws.

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Wolf's veto message called the legislation an attack on local governments seeking to address gun violence and said it displayed indifference to the safety of state residents.

The bill had passed both chambers with largely Republican support.

The Republican state lawmaker who penned the bill, Fayette County state Rep. Matthew Dowling, said Wolf’s veto put Second Amendment rights at risk and vowed to continue to fight local gun ordinances.

Pennsylvania has long prohibited its municipalities from enforcing firearms ordinances that regulate ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of guns and ammo. Gun-rights groups say municipalities often ignore the prohibition by approving gun restrictions.