PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The gun control debate in Pittsburgh heated up on Tuesday.
City Council took its first look at what supporters call “common sense” gun measures, which have drawn the ire of some firearms owners and their advocates.
The council introduced three new ordinances during the meeting, which began at 10 a.m.
The first ordinance is an assault weapons ban in the city that aims to make it illegal to manufacture, sell, purchase, transport or store an assault weapon.
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The second ordinance is a ban on accessory ammunition, which includes items such as bump stocks, large capacity magazines and armor-penetrating bullets.
The third ordinance is what they are calling an “extreme protection ban.” It will, “allow people to be stripped of their right to keep or bear arms if they violate due process.”
KDKA is told that they expect to have community meetings about these proposed ordinances, and even a potential public hearing. It likely wouldn’t go to a vote until a few months from now.
Many say these ordinances are going to be tough to pass. Similar ordinances across the state have been challenged and struck down. Even the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled and said the ownership of firearms is, “constitutionally protected” and said the General Assembly should make these decisions.
Councilwoman Darlene Harris was one of two members who expressed reservations about the bills.
“I’m concerned, the same way I was with marijuana,” Harris said. “If this is only up to the state and not up to a council or municipality, then I don’t want to bring lawsuits in on that.”
KDKA’s Meghan Schiller Reports:
Mayor Bill Peduto said the goal is to start small and eventually change the laws in Harrisburg.
“State representatives and state senators who were here Friday are introducing similar bills to go along with this, and our goal is to get other municipalities across the state to do these bills as well,” Councilman Corey O’Connor said.
Allegheny County Sportsmen League and Firearm Owners Against Crime call the proposals illegal, saying no county, municipality or township, “can regulate the lawful ownership of firearms.”
The organizations said they are prepared to take legal action against the city, even suggesting council members could face misdemeanor charges and time in jail. The organizations against these ordinances also said “no ordinance or statute” will stop a criminal and that a patchwork of laws across the state will be confusing and not effective.
“All the way to the Supreme Court, and hopefully… District Attorney Zappala will go after them for criminal violations. In my opinion, they should be taken out in handcuffs,” Kim Stolfer, of Firearm Owners Against Crime, said.