It is probably to no one’s surprise that the Democrat-run city of Pittsburgh is reacting to the recent synagogue shooting with a nice, hefty round of unconstitutional gun banning. In reaction to the terrible massacre at Tree of Life in October, the city is now attempting to ban semi-automatic rifles, take certain forms of ammunition off the shelves, and authorize the city’s courts to strip guns from people considered dangerous by police.
In making these moves, the city risks not only falling afoul of the Second Amendment but also afoul of the Pennsylvania State Constitution.
The Pittsburgh city council on Tuesday was due to introduce a package of gun-control laws including a ban on assault-style rifles, nearly two months after a gunman shouting anti-Semitic messages killed 11 people in a synagogue.
The measure would also ban certain types of ammunition and allow courts to ban gun ownership by people deemed to pose a significant threat of violence.
Assault-style weapons, with the capacity to fire multiple rounds in a short period of time, have played a significant role in the series of deadly mass shootings the United States has experienced in recent years.
Gun-rights advocates opposed the measures and threatened legal action if they passed.
In a pre-emptive warning of that very legal action, the NRA published Pennsylvania’s law, which prevents cities like Pittsburgh from passing gun laws that are stricter than those on the state books.
“No county, municipality or township may in any manner regulate the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by the laws of this Commonwealth,” reads the law.
Don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty straightforward. And that would make the city’s attempts to enact all kinds of gun laws on a municipal basis obviously and immediately invalid.
Kim Stolfer, the president of Firearms Owners Against Crime, told a local news station that the city should be prepared to lose in court.
“The ordinances that the city of Pittsburgh [are] contemplating are illegal, and the city should know this because we beat them in 1994, and we’re going to beat them again,” said Stolfer.
Indeed. The court ruled at the time: “Because the ownership of firearms is constitutionally protected, its regulation is a matter of statewide concern. The constitution does not provide that the right to bear arms shall not be questioned in any part of the commonwealth except Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, where it may be abridged at will, but that it shall not be questioned in any part of the commonwealth.”
But the mayor of Pittsburgh is one of those Democrats that believes he is indeed somehow exempted from the Constitution because of his very wise political beliefs. We look forward to the day he finds out otherwise.