Following the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting mayor Bill Peduto (who rejected the idea of armed guards in houses of worship) announced his intent to defy Pennsylvania’s state-wide preemption law and enact an “assault weapons ban” and red flag law in the Steel City. In response, hundreds of gun rights supporters held a rally at the city-county building yesterday.
The mayor and sympathetic city councilmen are trying to organize other cities in the state to do the same and force a court confrontation over the preemption law.
“State representatives and state senators who were here Friday are introducing similar bills to go along with this, and our goal is to get other municipalities across the state to do these bills as well,” Councilman Corey O’Connor said.
But the crowd that assembled yesterday, some of them armed, are vowed to oppose the mayor at an upcoming city council meeting.
The size of the rally crowd that gathered Monday for at the City-County Building suggests that Council Chambers on Jan. 24 will be full of opponents of the three proposed bills. They aim to regulate assault-style weapons and certain ammunition and accessories, as well as allow courts to authorize law enforcement to temporarily seize a person’s guns under limited circumstances.
About 16 protesters later entered the City-County Building in an unsuccessful attempt to speak with Peduto and City Council members. Six of them were armed and checked their guns in a secure room before entering, according to building security.
“We simply wanted to come over and get any council member’s opinion or statement on do or do they not maybe support Mayor Peduto’s position, or anything that would help us understand where the council is coming from,” said Boyd Martin, who was among the group. “We got nothing.”
The city council will meet January 24 to consider the gun control bills.