PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — Mayor Bill Peduto has signed into law a set of gun bills that have sparked much controversy among gun rights advocates and those in favor of gun control in the City of Pittsburgh and across Western Pennsylvania.
“There was a lot of opposition,” Mayor Peduto said. “But more people in the community quietly showed their support.”
Opponents immediately filed suit Tuesday to block it.
The opposition is against restricting military-assault weapons, banning most uses of high-capacity magazines and allowing the temporary seizure of guns from people who are determined to be a danger to themselves or others.
“To say large capacity is false,” said NRA spokesperson Amy Hunter. “That’s not the case. Anyone who knows firearms would not call them large capacity. That is very much political leverage. It’s a term applied by anti-gun activists.”
Pittsburgh City Council passed the package of firearms bills by a vote of 6-3 last week.
The legislation was introduced last year after the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill. Eleven people were killed when a gunman opened fire during services, and seven others were wounded.
Some of those survivors were in attendance while the mayor signed the bills.
Mayor Peduto said the community has come together “to say enough is enough.”
“Change doesn’t happen on its own. Change only happens when you challenge the status quo,” said Peduto.
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Pennsylvania law prohibits local regulation of guns and ammunition, and a coalition of gun-rights groups filed a lawsuit minutes after Peduto signed the bills. City Council members watered down the legislation before passing it in an effort to make it more likely to survive a court challenge.
After the vote last week, Mayor Peduto said, “We’re not surprised by the lawsuit, we anticipated it. We look forward to the next part of the challenge, through the court system.”
He offered assurances to city residents that they will be not be burdened with any lawsuit-related costs.
“We will be represented by Everytown, a national organization that will be putting a team of lawyers in place for us,” Mayor Peduto said.
On Friday morning, other city residents, including Dr. Val Finnell, plan on filing private criminal complaints, demanding the district attorney file charges.
“I’m sick and tired of politicians violating the law and getting away with it,” said Dr. Finnell.