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Allegheny

What's next for Pittsburgh's controversial gun-regulation proposals

Bob Bauder
| Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, 11:57 a.m.
Attendees participate in the open carry demonstration while listening to speakers at a rally held at the City-County Building, Downtown on Jan. 7, 2019.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Attendees participate in the open carry demonstration while listening to speakers at a rally held at the City-County Building, Downtown on Jan. 7, 2019.
Attendees participate in the open carry demonstration while listening to speakers at a rally held at the City-County Building, Downtown on Jan. 7, 2019.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Attendees participate in the open carry demonstration while listening to speakers at a rally held at the City-County Building, Downtown on Jan. 7, 2019.
Gun rights advocates assemble outside of City-County Building Downtown on Jan. 7, 2019.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Gun rights advocates assemble outside of City-County Building Downtown on Jan. 7, 2019.
Attendees participate in the open carry demonstration while listening to speakers at a rally held at the City-County Building, Downtown on Jan. 7, 2019.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Attendees participate in the open carry demonstration while listening to speakers at a rally held at the City-County Building, Downtown on Jan. 7, 2019.

The armed protest Monday outside the City-County Building in Pittsburgh’s Downtown remained peaceful but pointed to an emotional and protracted battle ahead as the city clashes with gun rights activists.

City Council has introduced a series of bills banning semi-automatic rifles and some firearms, ammo and accessories within city limits. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto supports the bills.

Those rallying Monday claimed the proposed regulations violate state law and the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

With City Council members and the mayor’s office signaling they will continue to push forward with the proposals despite assurances of a lawsuit, we look at what’s next for the debate over guns and Pittsburgh.

  • Pittsburgh City Council has scheduled a public hearing for 6 p.m. on Jan. 24 in City Council Chambers on the Fifth Floor of the City-County Building. The hearing is expected to draw a big crowd, pro- and anti-gun activists. Protesters vowed Monday to “jam pack” the hearing.
  • City Council is expected to vote on the three gun bills in February. Seven members have signed on as sponsors, which pretty much guarantees approval barring an unexpected turn of events.
  • Lawsuits filed by gun rights groups are sure to follow the vote. An attorney representing the Allegheny County Sportsmen’s League and Firearm Owners Against Crime has promised a lawsuit invoking a Pennsylvania law that prohibits municipalities from regulating firearms, and organizers of Monday’s protest also vowed to join. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the preemption law.
  • Mayor Peduto, when serving as a councilman in 2008, sponsored an ordinance that would require the reporting of lost and stolen handguns. The ordinance passed, but city police have never enforced it because of the preemption law.
  • Protesters were highly critical of Peduto on Monday, calling him a traitor, coward and other nasty things. Peduto avoided City Hall during the rally but said he supports protestors’ First Amendment rights even though he doesn’t agree with their aims.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, bbauder@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobbauder.

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