Follow KDKA-TV: Facebook | Twitter
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto took part in a panel discussion on gun legislation, hate crimes and gun violence in Washington DC Friday.
Peduto is visiting the nation’s capital this week for the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
On Friday morning, he took part in a panel discussing hate crimes, shootings and gun reform. For the panel, he drew on his experience following last October’s mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill.
Peduto was sitting right next to Parkland, Florida, shooting survivor and activist David Hogg.
Hogg said, “We need more mayors like Bill Peduto.”
On Thursday night, more than 100 people showed up to speak at an open session before City Council at the City-County Building to air their opinions about the gun legislation introduced after the synagogue shooting.
“Last night, there was a five-hour public hearing back home in Pittsburgh on three separate provisions,” Peduto said. “We are one of those states where we have a Republican legislature and our cities are dominantly Democratic, and so we’ve been preempted from having any bills brought up at the local level in order to be able to discuss any issues around guns or ammunition. Secondly, we have also been placed under an order from state law that would allow any citizen to file charges against any elected official who would vote in order to change any laws around guns or ammunition, and we just decided it has to end. If it’s not going to happen in Washington, it’s not going to happen in Harrisburg, it has to happen in our cities.”
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.
“We have put three common sense reforms in. Reforms that allow anyone to practice there right to have a gun, the right to be able to follow the Second Amendment, but lessen the impacts that happen every month in this country now through mass homicide.” Peduto said.
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala issued a letter on the proposals introduced in the city. It said City Council “does not have the authority to pass such legislation.”
But City Councilman Corey O’Connor said: “At this point, we are going to pass our bills, move forward. Whatever happens after that we will find out.”
Peduto said he intends to keep fighting for the gun legislation.
“We intend to, not only go ahead and to pass this and to pass it by Feb. 14, on the anniversary of Parkland and remember those who lost their lives there by making sure it passes on that date, but also go to court to fight this in court and to fight it over and over again,” he said.
Pro-gun groups are threatening legal action after the City of Pittsburgh recently posted signs outside the City-County Building, saying guns were banned inside the building, prior to an Open Carry Rally earlier this month. But the mayor says, the signs re-enforced policies that are already in place.
Peduto spoke earlier this week about the topics he’d be addressing while at the conference.
“This week is the U.S. Conference of Mayors. I just confirmed that I’ll be meeting with the mayors of Parkland, Las Vegas, and Orlando. I’ll be speaking before two different committees on a national basis about the importance of what Pittsburgh is doing and why other cities need to join in as well,” said Peduto of the gun legislation City Council is taking up. “I do believe Pittsburgh has a responsibility after what happened on Oct. 27, and what happens every month in this city, to be able to lessen gun violence, and part of that deals directly with guns.”