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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Hundreds of citizens from the City of Pittsburgh packed into the City-County Building Friday in an open discussion before City Council on gun legislation.

The lobby of the City-County Building was turned into a meeting room, with people standing in line for hours to speak for three minutes before city council.

The event that started at 6 p.m. lasted more than four hours. Community members waited for hours to speak their mind on proposed gun legislation being brought before lawmakers in the wake of the Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting in Oct. 2018. A total of 112 people signed up online beforehand to speak about proposed gun control legislation. More people showed up Thursday evening, however, and those people were given one minute to talk.

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The building was so packed that officials would not let anyone else in the building until someone left.

Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O’Connor and Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Ericka Strassburger co-authored the bills that would ban many of the types of weapons that have been used in mass shootings.

The proposed restrictions include a handful of ordinances that would put an assault weapons ban in the city. It aims to make it illegal to manufacture, sell, purchase, transport or store an assault weapon. There’s also a proposed ban on accessory ammunition – items such as bump stocks, large capacity magazines and armor-penetrating bullets

Security was tight and anyone entering the building with a gun was forced to check it. Firearms were stored in a room full of lockers and given back as the owners left.

KDKA’s Meghan Schiller Reports:


 

When Mayor Bill Peduto was challenged on the bills earlier this month, he simply responded, “Arrest me,” to the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office.

“Every single day they hear of another shooting,” said one resident. “Consistently under threat and locked down. Wherever they go, they look for exits and an escape. They know in their bones they are not safe.”

A congregant of Dor Hadash, one of the congregations targeted in October’s massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue, took the microphone first. She said it’s apparent nothing is getting done at the state and federal level when it comes to gun control, so its up to local governments.

Another community member asked Pittsburgh City Council members which side they were on.

“One study states three out of five criminals report being or knowing of someone that was scared off by a good guy with a gun. No shots even fired. Whose side are you on?” another speaker said.

Some speakers chose to keep their speech simple, saying, “I think passing these (laws) are one of the most constitutional and American things you can do. By putting well-regulated back into the Second Amendment.”

If the legislation is passed, it will only affect residents within the City of Pittsburgh; however, both residents and non-residents of Pittsburgh were given the chance to speak.

Both sides of the spectrum were seen at the discussion Thursday evening, and cheers rang out for comments on both sides. At one point, the council president had to tell people to be quiet and remind them that this was an orderly meeting.

Mayor Peduto was not present at Thursday’s discussion. Peduto was in Washington D.C. for a mayors conference.

David Highfield