Friday, November 1, 2019

Judge strikes down Pittsburgh gun ordinance

An Allegheny County judge struck down Pittsburgh’s controversial gun control ordinances, ruling the city is prohibited by state law from regulating firearms, reported the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Common Pleas Judge Joseph James issued a five-page opinion granting three Second Amendment rights groups and three individuals a summary judgment that declared the ordinances illegal.
The city vowed to appeal.
Pittsburgh City Council in April approved three bills signed by Mayor Bill Peduto. One would ban possession and use of certain semiautomatic weapons, including assault rifles. A second would ban the use of ammunition and accessories, such as large capacity magazines capable of holding 10 rounds or more of ammunition. A third bill, dubbed “extreme risk protection,” would permit courts to temporarily remove guns from a person deemed to be a public threat.
“The city and its outside legal counsel have always expected this would be a long legal fight and will continue to fight for the right to take common sense steps to prevent future gun violence,” said Peduto spokesman Tim McNulty.
Three organizations — Firearm Owners Against Crime, Firearm Policy Coalition Inc. and Firearm Policy Foundation — along with Matthew Boardley, Saadyah Averick and Fred Rak, sued seeking to overturn the ordinances.
James ruled that state law preempted the bills.
“Despite the city’s efforts to avoid the specific preemption set forth in the (act) they are not able to avoid the obvious intent of the Legislature to preempt this entire field,” he wrote.
Josh Prince, an attorney with Berks County-based Civil Rights Defense Firm, which represented the plaintiffs, said his clients were prepared to pursue the case “as far as necessary.”
“We’re very pleased with the decision rendered by Judge James, and we’ll wait to see if the city will appeal,” he said.
“I believe all the organizations and plaintiffs involved are prepared to take it as far as necessary to ensure that their rights are not violated.”
Pittsburgh, which is being represented at no charge by attorneys from Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization that advocates against gun violence, along with its Law Department, agreed in May to postpone enforcement of the ordinances until the court cases are resolved.
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