Pittsburgh Council Approves Gun Control Bills
Mayor expected to sign the package. Opponents expected to sue
Pittsburgh City Council approved a package of gun laws Tuesday that will almost certainly set up the city for a legal challenge. The vote was 6-3 in favor, with council members Darlene Harris, Theresa Kail-Smith and Anthony Coghill opposed.
The bills were introduced by Council members Corey O'Connor and Erika Strassburger after the October 27th massacre at Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill. They restrict the use of military-style assault weapons, ban certain ammunition and high-capacity magazines, and allow the courts to temporarily take away guns from people who are determined to be a danger to themselves or others (see our previous stories).
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Before the vote, the public was allowed one last chance to comment. Although there were representatives from Cease Fire PA and a group called Moms Demand Action in the audience, only three people spoke, all of them opposed to the bill:
(Video: Pittsburgh City Council)
When it came time to take the vote, Councilman O'Connor thanked everyone for their work on the bills over the past 5+ months, and read a letter from co-sponsor Strassburger, who wasn't present. The three council members opposed to the legislation spoke, thanking O'Connor for his leadership, but saying they can't support the idea because it's against state law:
Pennsylvania law prohibits municipalities from regulating guns. Pro-gun advocates have already promised to take the city to court, which was a concern for Mary Konieczeny of the South Side, who opposed the ban.
"The gun ordinances that are being proposed are illegal, a distraction and will only cost Pittsburgh time and money." Mary Konieczeny, South Side
The bills now go on to Mayor Bill Peduto for his signature. He has promised to sign them.