Bill Peduto pittsburgh synagogue gun control preemption
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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After the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, the city’s Democrat-controlled government has made a strong push for more gun control laws. But there’s something standing in their way, namely Pennsylvania’s longstanding preemption law.

Despite the state law which clearly prevents the proposed legislation, Mayors Against Illegal Guns member Bill Peduto and a variety of city councilmen have taken a damn-the-torpedos-full-speed-ahead approach, apparently relishing an inevitable legal fight over the preemption law that they hope the state Supreme Court will void. And while he has no say in the matter, Pittsburgh’s gun grabbers are being cheered on by Governor Tom Wolf.

This is not unlike the attempts by Democrat-controlled cities in Florida to try to invalidate the Sunshine State’s preemption law after Parkland.

The Pittsburgh city council will vote today on three bills, an “assault weapons” ban, a magazine capacity limit and a “red flag” law. If the bills are enacted by the city, look for lawsuits from a variety of gun rights orgs to be filed faster than you can say Second Amendment. And that will cost the city — i.e. taxpayers — hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars to battle it out in the courts.

Here’s the AP’s report on today’s Pittsburgh city council action.

By MICHAEL RUBINKAM Associated Press

Gun-control legislation introduced in wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre is moving through the City Council, but Second Amendment advocates are promising a swift legal challenge if the city’s latest effort to regulate firearms becomes law.

The legislation would place restrictions on military-style assault weapons like the AR-15 rifle that authorities say was used in the Oct. 27 rampage at Tree of Life Synagogue that killed 11 and wounded seven. It would also ban most uses of armor-piercing ammunition and high-capacity magazines, and would allow the temporary seizure of guns from people who are determined to be a danger to themselves or others.

Council is scheduled to hold an initial vote Wednesday. If it passes, a final vote will be held April 2.

“It’s time to fight back against this senseless violence,” Democratic Councilman Corey O’Connor, a co-sponsor, said in an interview ahead of the vote.

The three-bill package — proposed not long after the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history — was watered down last week in an effort to make it more likely to survive a court challenge.

State law has long prohibited municipalities from regulating the ownership or possession of guns or ammunition. While one of the Pittsburgh bills originally included an outright ban on assault weapons, the revised measure bars the “use” of assault weapons in public places. A full ban on possession would only take effect if state lawmakers or the state Supreme Court give municipalities the right to regulate guns — which even the bill’s boosters say is an unlikely prospect in a largely rural state where legislative majorities have been fiercely protective of gun rights.

“It’s an uphill battle, but we’re trying to look at every angle to get a win,” O’Connor said.

Pro-gun advocates cast the amended legislation as an attack on the right to bear arms and said they will immediately file suit if City Council approves the bills.

“All of it’s illegal. Pennsylvania preemption law says that no municipality, period, may in any manner regulate. And that’s at the heart of what they’re doing,” said Kim Stolfer, president and co-founder of Firearms Owners Against Crime.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr., a Democrat, told city council members in January that while he understood their desire to curtail gun violence, their proposed remedies were unconstitutional. A spokesman said Zappala had not seen the revised legislation, and declined comment on its merits.

Pittsburgh and its larger counterpart to the east, Philadelphia, have tried before to enact gun legislation, with mixed results.

Both cities passed assault-weapons bans in 1993. The state Legislature quickly took action to invalidate the measures, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that city officials had overstepped.

Philadelphia tried again in 2008, enacting limits on gun purchases and another ban on assault weapons. The state Supreme Court threw out both ordinances, but ruled the city could enforce three other measures: one that requires people to report lost or stolen firearms; another that empowers police to seize guns from people posing a risk to themselves or others; and a third that bans gun ownership for anyone subject to a protection-from-abuse order. Pittsburgh has had its own lost-and-stolen law for more than a decade, but it’s never been enforced. Tim McNulty, a spokesman for Democratic Mayor Bill Peduto, said the city is reconsidering that stance in the wake of the synagogue massacre and a recent announcement by Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner that he intended to begin enforcing that city’s lost-and-stolen ordinance.

Peduto, who has long advocated for stricter gun laws, has thrown his weight behind the new legislation.

“Pittsburgh owes it to those murdered at Tree of Life and countless others living in fear of gun violence every day in city neighborhoods to take this cause on,” McNulty said.

Second Amendment attorney Joshua Prince, who represents Stolfer’s pro-gun group and has won a string of victories against Pennsylvania municipalities that enacted gun measures, called the latest Pittsburgh effort to restrict firearms “political grandstanding” and predicted it will fail.

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    • there is a real risk council and the mayor could be criminally charged for this…and considering their arrogance and defiance after they were warned by the DA…that may just happen…

  1. Pittsburgh’s mayor does not represent the state or even the city as a whole.

    This has nothing to do with saving lives and everything to do with winning democratic votes and taking anti gun money. Much like the Hogg, the more attention this guy receives from the anti gun folks the bigger his head gets to the point he starts believing hes some sort of grand savior of the masses.

    • Gov. Wolf is term limited this next election and it looks like Mayor Pedildo is eyeing up Harrisburg.

    • “Pittsburgh owes it to those murdered…”

      Not to split fine hairs here…but I will.

      If Pittsburgh, the bureaucratic entity, “owes it to them” for the actions of ONE PERSON, fine. Let the bureaucratic entity restrict itself.

      The CITIZENS of Pittsburgh, and the USA, have natural rights that should (shall) not be infringed.

      And another thing…”military-style” guns. So a Chevy Camero is as NASCAR style car?

      • ““Pittsburgh owes it to those murdered…” Actually, to me that is an admittance of negligence on the part of the City of Pittsburg and the victims and survivors of those killed should immediately file suit against the city.

  2. Like most every other limit on politicians, these preemption laws have no teeth. If you’re prosecuted under these illegal laws you can appeal to the courts and after wasting thousands of dollars in legal fees defending yourself against an illegal law you can be exonerated, but the politicians who are breaking the law by passing these aren’t punished in any way. They need to put in place punishments, including prison, for passing blatant violations of these laws. Put just one city council in prison for a couple years and you’d see a quick end to this nonsense.

    • In PA criminal charges can also be filed, and will be according to those of the gun rights groups who I had the pleasure of speaking to. If charged these politicians may face jail time if found guilty.

      • Whoa.

        Wonder what the odds are that Mr. Peduto is friends with Michelle O’Bama?

        • “Wonder what the odds are that Mr. Peduto is friends with Michelle O’Bama?”

          As we’ve seen in Chicago recently, that can greatly complicate things.

          They may have really stepped in it with that trick by Foxx…

      • they were warned by other members of council who did not vote for it…if that happens so be it…

  3. Hold those idiots in Pittsburg personaly responsible for cosys and loss of their jobs. They might change their minds.
    Thats what we do here in Floriduh and it works.

  4. Off topic, sorry: Does anyone know what happened to the website? It was always my go-to site for general gun info. An encyclopedia of everything gun. (Also known as “guns and shooting on-line”)

    • “Firefox detected an issue and did not continue to The website is either misconfigured or your computer clock is set to the wrong time.

      It’s likely the website’s certificate is expired, which prevents Firefox from connecting securely. If you visit this site, attackers could try to steal information like your passwords, emails, or credit card details.”

      Might be ok to add a security exception, and it might not be…

        • That site’s SSL cert is out of date as of today.

          Either they didn’t pay COMODO (their SSL is issued by COMODO RSA Domain Validation Secure Server CA) or the site has likely been hijacked.

          It’s possible that something is going wrong with antivirus software or an extenstion but since we’re all getting that message across an array of browsers, I’m going to doubt that.

          Wait a day. If their SSL is expired they’ll take care of it. If it’s an attack, they’ll take care of it.

    • “A politician with a law never stops a bad guy with a gun.” True. This one liner, to remember, is up there with “there’s a lawyer behind every bullet that leaves your gun”.

      • Quote: “there’s a lawyer behind every bullet that leaves your gun”

        It would be better if there was a lawyer in front of every bullet that leaves your gun.
        That would reduce the number of shark attacks. 🙂

  5. The city government had better save their money because all those underfunded/unfunded pension obligations are piling up. The collapse is looming.

  6. There may be a concern here with the current makeup of the PA Supreme Court. There was very, very low turnout for the last judicial election and 5 Democrats got control of the court.

    I wouldn’t bet on them upholding the law or the Pennsylvania Constitution. It is the same court that threw out the preemption expansion and imposed their own redistricting plan, overriding the Republican plan. Republicans threatened to impeach them but didn’t follow through.

    • obviously they feel emboldened by that…or they wouldn’t be pushing ahead so forcefully

  7. Not sure how enforcing a lost or stolen law has squat to do with the synagogue shooting but whatever.

    The PA supreme court cannot be trusted. These were the same people who shot down the voter ID law and helped democrats steal another election.

  8. “Pittsburgh Mayor, City Council Happy to Spend Taxpayer Money Fighting State Preemption Law”

    Of course they are, what better way to control the populace, use their own resources against them…

  9. I’m guessing they’d classify my Hi-Point 995 carbine as a “military style” firearm since it’s black and has a pistol grip.

  10. “… have taken a damn-the-torpedos-full-speed-ahead approach…”

    Reminds me of a scene from The Hunt for Red October. This one’s been retouched appropriately too.

  11. If the violence is senseless and his paper laws are the answer, then all law enforcement should turn in their ballistic vests and wear paper vests with his laws printed on them.

    • “…and wear paper vests with his laws printed on them.”
      That’s an absolutely novel and interesting approach!
      When the criminals get curious enough to wonder what’s on the vest, they will have to come close to read it. Close enough for the LE to just reach out and grab! No guns needed at all.

      James, you are a genius!

  12. ” Mayors Against Illegal Guns member Bill Peduto and a variety of city councilmen have taken a damn-the-torpedos-full-speed-ahead approach ”

    Yeah, why the hell not. The money isn’t coming out of their pockets.

  13. If these dumbassed sons of bitches could tell me how their ideas will prevent crime it is conceivable we could assist them but since all their laws do is inconvenience law-abiding gun owners they need to pay more attention to actual laws and stop wasting taxpayer money. I live in PA. About 100 miles from Pittsburgh.

  14. SUE the fck out of them and take it to the SUPREME COURT where they will LOSE. KY has it WRITTEN into our state constitution and if forced we are required to resist by force.

    • there’s something subtle at work here…seems as though they’ve planned this out carefully

  15. The state of Pennsylvania already lets Philadelphia pre-empt state gun laws and infringe on the gun rights of citizens, especially the right to carry (the Pennsylvania CCW permit is invalid in Philadelphia).
    But that’s because (IIRC) Pennsylvania state legislators wrote the state law to specifically invalidate the state CCW permit and other gun rights in any city over a certain population level, and so far, only Philadelphia meets that population level. So if Pittsburgh grows in size, it can infringe on its citizens rights just like Philly does.

    I know a Philadelphia lawyer who is extremely anti gun, a lawyer who claims to be a “Constitutional scholar” but is obviously a bad one because he doesn’t believe the 2nd Amendment applies to individuals, thinks “the right of the people” means “the right of the National Guard” FFS, LOL. Philadelphia is nothing like the rest of Pennsylvania.

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