By: Teresa Mull
In a proposal that defies state law, Pittsburgh’s mayor announced he wants to enact several laws to confiscate firearms and ban many types of guns and shooting accessories.
Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto held a press conference to propose a trio of anti-gun city ordinances that, if enacted, would constitute a direct violation of Pennsylvania’s state firearms preemption law and Pennsylvania Supreme Court precedent. At the event, Peduto was joined by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, who benefitted from $500,000 in spending from Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety during his 2018 re-election bid, and City Council members Corey O’Connor and Erika Strassburger.
The three legislative proposals are a total ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms, a total ban on several types of common firearms accessories and standard capacity magazines, and the development of a procedure to confiscate an individual’s firearms without due process of law
Under the proposed legislation, it would be unlawful to “manufacture, sell, purchase, transport, carry, store, or otherwise hold in one’s possession within the City of Pittsburgh …an assault weapon.”
Thirty-six semiautomatic firearms are listed as unlawful in the ordinance, which also bans magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
Another proposed law would enable law enforcement officers to raid people’s homes and seize their guns under so-called “Extreme Risk Protection Orders,” otherwise known as “red flag gun confiscation” laws.
As Gunpowder Magazine reported earlier this year, red flag laws are pitched as a way to get guns out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves or others. Ted Patterson reported for GPM:
These bills open the floodgates for vindictive family members, friends, or John Q. Public to accuse you of almost anything as justification to take your firearms. These laws are a gross violation of the rights guaranteed to us as American citizens by the Fourth Amendments.
Red flag bills have been written so broadly on two fronts that in some instances, people are given near-endless possibilities by which to use the legal system to persecute gun owners.
ERPOs can last for weeks, months, or up to a year in cases where a gun owner would have to appear for repeated court hearings to try to win back his or her Constitutional rights.
Contradicting State Law
Mayor Peduto and his cronies have an uphill battle getting their sweeping gun control passed in PA.
Pennsylvania law expressly states that municipalities are not permitted to “in any manner regulate the lawful ownership, possession, transfer, or transportation of firearms, ammunition, or ammunition components.”
A Democratic representative was quoted as saying the addition during the midterm elections of more Democrats to the state legislature – which is still controlled by Republicans in both chambers – means state gun law will likely change.
Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O’Connor said he expects opposition, but his pro-gun control lobby wants to “fight for the rights of our citizens,” and will “take it whatever level we have to.”
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.