Tensions have been high in Pittsburgh over the last few weeks. After the city’s mayor, Bill Peduto, said he wanted to pass an “assault weapons ban” and red flag law within city limits, pro-2A activists rallied in protest. After all, such gun control measures passed by the city would defy Pennsylvania’s state-wide pre-emption law. Nevertheless, gun control legislation proposed in collaboration by the mayor and seven city council members is slated for a vote in February.
The DA, Stephen Zappala, wrote a letter to warn the city council as well as the mayor that passing gun control measures would be beyond the scope of the city government’s authority. An excerpt from the letter reads:
I understand the desire of local governments to be proactive in reducing gun violence and the opportunities to cause the type of pain, suffering, and death, which recently occurred in the City of Pittsburgh. I believe however, that the legislative effort needs to come from the General Assembly of the Commonwealthof Pennsylvania and that the legislation currently before Council, if passed, will be found unconstitutional.
Corey O’Connor, the city councilman at the forefront of this gun control push, responded dismissively to Zappala’s letter, saying “We believe we’re on the right side of history. We believe we’re doing what’s right for our city but we think this is what’s right across the country, and nobody is gonna stop us from doing that.”
Yeah. So, tyrannical acts are fine, as long as you’re “on the right side of history.” Great.
Now, Mayor Peduto has responded to Zappala’s warning that the measures he’s planning to sign into law would put him and the city council in legal jeopardy. Here’s what he said:
Arrest me. You know what; I welcome him trying to put up a lawsuit that would arrest me if I sign this legislation. I would welcome that. […] Anybody who would threaten a legislature of any body, city council, state rep, Congress member that would will be arrested if you don’t vote a certain way, what country do we live in?
We live in a country with a Constitution, Mr. Peduto – a country with checks and balances intended precisely to prevent people like you from infringing on the most fundamental rights of its citizens.
For our part, if this legislation passes, we hope Mr. Zappala takes him up on the offer.