News from Pittsburgh:
Pittsburgh City Council took a final vote Monday morning, passing a package of controversial gun laws introduced after last year’s mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue.
Council members voted 6-3 to pass the bills. They now head to Democratic Mayor Bill Peduto for his expected signature.
The legislation will place restrictions on military-style assault weapons like the AR-15 rifle that authorities say was used in the Oct. 27 rampage at Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, which killed 11 people and wounded seven.
It also bans most uses of armor-piercing ammunition and high-capacity magazines, and allows the temporary seizure of guns from people who are determined to be a danger to themselves or others.
Some parts that are of note:
Armor or Metal Penetrating Ammunition. Any ammunition, except a shotgun shell, that is designed primarily to penetrate a body vest or a body shield, and has either of the following characteristics:
1. Has projectile or projectile core constructed entirely, excluding the presence of traces of other substances, from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium, or any equivalent material of similar density or hardness; or
2. Is primarily manufactured or designed, by virtue of its shape, cross-sectional density, or any coating applied thereto, including, but not limited to, teflon coating and / or ammunition commonly known as “KTW ammunition,” to breach or penetrate a body vest or body shield when fired from a firearm
I am concerned that the “designed primarily to penetrate a body vest or a body shield” will be used to ban Surplus M855 ammo. Yes it is true it fails to meet the armor piercing standards of the ATF, but I have a hankering that this is the Council’s goal.
In addition, the proposals ban magazine capacities over 10 rounds as well the usual list of assault weapons and features set forth in the Clinton AWB.
They have gotten a little smarter in that they prohibit guns that have more than one “bad” feature, which now include thumb hole stocks. Making it harder to get around the AWB with minor feature changes like it was in the 1990’s.
The bill contains this bullshit and an appeal to the Tree of Life shooting.
Empirical study and recent history demonstrate that assault weapons and large capacity magazines should be prohibited, because they present an unacceptable and needless public safety risk. Prohibitions of assault weapons and large capacity magazines are correlated with reductions in mass shootings, and the use of assault weapons and large capacity magazines results in a higher number of fatalities and injuries during mass shootings and other serious crimes, including murders of police officers. Shooters using assault weapons and large capacity magazines can fire more rounds more quickly than shooters using other guns more suitable for self-defense, and fire rounds with greater destructive capacity. That tragic truth has been proven and re-proven in mass shootings around the country, including on October 27, 2018, at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Especially in a crowded urban jurisdiction like this one, there is no legitimate need for assault weapons and large capacity magazines that can justify the consequences of tolerating the proliferation of military-style weaponry in the community.
There were also these statements:
Shooters using assault weapons and large capacity magazines can fire more rounds more quickly than shooters using other guns more suitable for self-defense, and fire rounds with greater destructive capacity.
Courts in many jurisdictions have thus upheld prohibitions on assault weapons, large capacity magazines, and other weaponry that poses a particular threat to public safety, which leave many other options for self-defense and other legitimate uses of firearms.
Think about that in the context of Duncan V. Becerra. The City Council of Pittsburgh has decided what is good enough for you to defend yourself with, and if you disagree, you can pay a $1,000 fine and go to jail for up to 90 days for each offense.
Besides that, this ordinance isn’t allowed by state law. (back to the news).
However, Second Amendment activists have made it known that they will challenge the legislation in court, pointing out that state law doesn’t allow municipalities to regulate firearms. The legislation was watered down last week in an effort to make it more likely to survive a court challenge.
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr., a Democrat, told City Council members in January that while he understood their desire to curtail gun violence, their proposed remedies were unconstitutional.
Pennsylvania state law forbids municipalities from regulating guns, and pro-gun advocates say they’ll sue to block the laws from taking effect.
That’s right, Pennsylvania has preemption so Pittsburgh can’t legally do this.
Here is where this gets even worse.
“As you look around this country and around this world, legislative bodies are challenging the validity or preemption laws and laws that would put elected officials through a criminal process for taking on the gun manufacturing lobby,” said Mayor Bill Peduto on Tuesday evening.
“We have not been able to get any movement in Harrisburg and Washington, and the answer is just don’t do nothing. We’ve seen what doing nothing has done. It has led to an escalation in severe mass murders. And we’re going to take action on a local level.
“So we’re not surprised about the lawsuit. We anticipated it. And we look forward to the next part of this challenge, which will be through the court system.”
He said the city will work with organizations that will provide pro bono help defending any lawsuit.
So the Pittsburgh City Council wrote an illegal ordinance just to pick a fight with preemption in court and will draw in the resources of anti-gun organizations to fight Pittsburgh residents’ gun rights.
Anti-gun groups want to end preemption.
If they mange to overturn it in Pennsylvania, this can spill over into Florida – which is the Holy Grail of preemption overturns – or Illinois in which preemption just defeated the Deerfield AWB.
So the reality is this ordinance is important on a national level with long distance repercussions.
This wasn’t done as a result of the Tree of Life shooting. This language is AWB boilerplate. It’s copy and paste from so many other AWB’s.
The Tree of Life Shooting was just the most recent justification to push another gun ban that won’t work.
As a gun owner, I hate this.
As a Jew, I am doubly offended that Pittsburgh would use the death’s of unarmed people to justify disarming even more law abiding citizens.