Lawsuits against Pittsburgh mounting following passage of gun legislation
Second Amendment advocates filed two more lawsuits contending Pittsburgh’s gun ban violates the Pennsylvania Constitution and are seeking to have Mayor Bill Peduto and six city council members held in contempt.
The suits were filed Tuesday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court by attorney Joshua Prince on behalf of multiple groups, including Firearm Owners Against Crime and the Allegheny County Sportsmen’s League, and area residents Fred Rak and Saadyah Averick, both of Pittsburgh, and Matthew Boarderly of Avella, who serves as an area director for Landmark Security at Heinz Field, Stage AE and the A.J. Palumbo Center.
One is a petition seeking to have Peduto and council members Bruce Kraus, Ricky Burgess, R. Daniel Lavelle, Deb Gross, Corey O’Connor and Erika Strassburger held in contempt of court for approving the legislation despite the state preemption law and a 1995 court order.
The second is a complaint alleging Pittsburgh’s gun bills approved by council last week and signed by Peduto on Wednesday are unconstitutional and violate the state law. The bans take effect in 60 days.
Both ask the court to declare the gun bills illegal and order Peduto and the council members to pay all legal fees incurred by the city and plaintiffs and any fines levied against the city. Four city residents with help from the National Rifle Association also sued the city Tuesday seeking a similar outcome.
Peduto was unavailable for comment. He was in Toledo on Wednesday attending a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting on strategies to reduce gun violence. Peduto spokesman Tim McNulty declined comment.
“We knew there was going to be a challenge,” said Councilman Corey O’Connor, one of the prime sponsors of the gun legislation.”They have every right to do it. Those individuals who don’t think there’s a problem with gun violence in this city and country need to look in the mirror and think about how they can solve this problem instead of blaming people who want to make a change.”
In addition to lawsuits, Peduto is facing a challenge from a Butler County legislator who wants to have him impeached.
State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, tweeted that he is consulting an attorney about impeachment.
I just asked our attorney to have a resolution drafted to IMPEACH the Mayor of Pittsburgh for his illegal gun control ordinances!
— Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (@RepMetcalfe) April 9, 2019
Peduto fired back on Twitter.
Lost/Stolen Handgun Preemtion – Unconstitutional
Same Sex Marriage Ban – Unconstitutional
Voter Suppression Act – Unconstitutional
Fracking Zoning Preemption – Unconstitutional
Representative, do you really want to go 0-5?
PS: I met Parkland survivors. They’re not actors! https://t.co/UlWf1UscQ4
— bill peduto (@billpeduto) April 9, 2019
This is the second time Peduto has been threatened with impeachment over the gun bills. Brooke Nadonley of Pittsburgh’s Mt. Washington neighborhood in January attempted to file court petitions calling for the mayor’s impeachment.
Courts have ruled that only the Pennsylvania General Assembly can impeach an elected official “for any misbehavior in office,” but it’s happened only twice in state history.
A majority in the state House would first have to vote on articles of impeachment against Peduto. If successful, the Senate would have to convene a trial and convict Peduto through a vote of at least two-thirds of the members, according to the state Constitution.
Threats of impeachment in January didn’t stop Peduto from supporting the gun legislation.
“Arrest me. Sue me. Impeach me,” the mayor tweeted at the time. “I was elected to protect my constituents and that is exactly what I will do.”
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-564-3080, [email protected] or via Twitter .