Central Pa. leaders, residents speak out about Pittsburgh gun ban
LEWISBURG — The gun control legislation passed by Pittsburgh’s City Council and signed by Mayor Bill Peduto on Tuesday spurred Susquehanna Valley leaders and a hunter to speak out in favor of — and against — the law, which prohibits the use of military assault-type weapons.
Lewisburg Mayor Judy Wagner, of Moms Demand Action, said weapons such as the AR-15 assault weapon that was used in the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre should not be readily available to average citizens.
“These weapons are not for sportsmen,” Wagner said, “and I fail to see the need of an average citizen to have them. I worry about children who are sitting ducks in a classroom and other victims. There’s just too much of this.”
Standing outside of Young’s Sporting Goods in Northumberland Borough on Wednesday afternoon, Harold McConnell, of Lewisburg, a hunter and a gun owner, said he opposed the Pittsburgh law — in principal.
“I’m a Second Amendment guy, although I have to say, I can’t see why I would ever want to own or use an AR-15 assault rifle,” he said. “Other than it being a cool looking weapon, I don’t know any of my hunter friends who would buy one.”
Legislation limiting the ownership of any kind of weapon would be, he believes, “a first step toward a more strict gun control in this country, and I am not for that. It’s why I oppose the law. But I do understand the issue around the use of assault weapons and the shooting in Pittsburgh was just horrible.”
Cynthia Peltier, co-founder and director of the Community Zone, disagrees with McConnell’s stance, but said she is for “responsible gun ownership.”
“I am not for taking away people’s guns,” she said. “I am all for people who own guns for their own protection. Some people have a knee-jerk reaction when they hear about gun control, they see it as a slippery slope. I have to ask: Who needs to have military-style assault weapons? I’m glad to hear that the government in Pittsburgh is trying to do something about it. I applaud them for this action.”
The Pittsburgh law would also ban most uses of armor-piercing ammunition and high-capacity magazines, and allows the temporary seizure of guns from people who are determined to be a danger to themselves or others. The city and its leaders are facing mounting lawsuits over the bill.
Shari Jacobson, speaking Wednesday afternoon on behalf of Moms Demand Action, Lewisburg chapter, said “that this is a complex issue, and we’re looking into it.”