The Pittsburgh Mayor and City Council have been sued over a series of gun bans signed earlier this week in violation of a Pennsylvania state law reserving the right to pass firearms-related laws to only the state legislature.
Four city residents with assistance from the NRA filed the lawsuit in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, less then three hours after the mayor signed the gun ordinances into law. Other local gun owners vowed to file criminal charges on Friday against the mayor and council.
On top of reserving the right to pass firearms-related laws to itself, the Pennsylvania legislature also put some teeth in the law by making it a crime for a municipality to do what Pittsburgh just did. This has caused Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto to fully embrace the "chutzpah."
"The very concept that the state could create a law that would say that elected officials who challenge the validity of that law would somehow be held to criminal charges goes against everything and every proactive step forward that this country has taken," Peduto said. "What we're going to do is we're going to overturn this law."
It's sad you have to explain this to a bunch of lawmakers and an executive, but the way to challenge the law is to … wait for it … file a lawsuit. You're a municipality affected by the law, you've got standing. The solution isn't to violate it and then "woe is me" to the press and the public.
Speaking of legal penalties from unjust laws, what do Pittsburgh residents who violate the laws Peduto has just OK'd face?
The legislation consists of three bills. One would ban the possession and use of certain semiautomatic weapons, including assault rifles. A second would ban ammunition and accessories, such as large capacity magazines. A third bill, dubbed "extreme risk protection," would permit courts to temporarily remove guns from a person deemed to be a public threat and impose penalties on an adult who allows a child to access a gun illegally.
City residents who currently own guns and accessories outlined in the bills would be grandfathered. Violators would face a civil penalty that carries a $1,000 fine, or up to 90 days in prison, for each offense.
You can bet that Peduto and the rest of his scofflaw councilors weren't so concerned about the affects of their laws were having on the 2nd Amendment rights of their residents.
It will be interesting to see how the business of the city of Pittsburgh is done once its mayor and a majority of its city council are cooling their heels in the state pen.