Public support for gun control typically increases in the wake of a mass shooting. We’ve all seen it. Most especially, though, in the area where the mass shooting happens.
Folks who live there feel connected to the tragedy, even if they didn’t know anyone involved in any way. They know the neighborhood, they know the buildings, they know enough that they feel something a bit more intense than the rest of us do.
It makes them ripe for political grandstanding by politicians, too.
You know, stuff like a mayor promising to push for gun control and screw state law.
Friday, Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto held a press conference to propose a trio of anti-gun city ordinances that, if enacted, would constitute a direct violation of Pennsylvania’s state firearms preemption law and Pennsylvania Supreme Court precedent. At the event, Peduto was joined by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, who benefitted from $500,000 in spending from Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety during his 2018 re-election bid, and City Council members Corey O’Connor and Erika Strassburger.
Not content to spearhead his own city’s violation of state law, Peduto called for municipalities throughout the country to ignore state statutes duly enacted by their residents’ elected representatives. A press release from the mayor’s office chronicling the conference explained, “Mayor Peduto has asked cities around the country to support Pittsburgh’s measures and/or introduce similar legislation to create nationwide momentum behind the critically needed gun changes.”
Councilmember O’Connor, who purportedly authored the anti-gun proposals, took a similar tack, stating that Pittsburgh “must seize the opportunity to make a real difference by partnering with other municipalities in the Commonwealth and cities across America to enact” gun restrictions. Councilmember Strassburger also encouraged the municipal lawlessness, stating, “I hope more cities across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the entire nation will join Pittsburgh in this critical effort.”
The three legislative proposals are a total ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms, a total ban on several types of common firearms accessories and standard capacity magazines, and the development of a procedure to confiscate an individual’s firearms without due process of law.
Under the proposed semi-automatic ban, it would be “unlawful to manufacture, sell, purchase, transport, carry, store, or otherwise hold in one’s possession” a firearm defined as an “assault weapon.”
The legislation defines “assault weapon” by listing several models of commonly owned semi-automatic firearms, including the Colt AR-15 and certain configurations of the Ruger Mini-14. Moreover, the legislation goes on to add to the definition of “assault weapon” semi-automatic rifles, pistols, and shotguns that meet a certain set of criteria.
The governor’s presence, however, shouldn’t be construed as anything other than an anti-gun politician supporting another anti-gun politician. If Wolf thought he had a chance in hell of passing this at the state level, he wouldn’t be supporting Peduto’s desire to go against the law in the first place.
Here’s how this is going to play out. Peduto is going to get this passed, and immediately, he’s going to be sued by some gun rights group. At the very least, a state-wide group will take up the cause but expect the National Rifle Association to play a hand in the lawsuit as well.
They’ll go to court and Peduto will lose. The courts will point to preemption and strike down the law. Peduto will appeal. It’ll go to the state supreme court where it will likely be a simple case of the court looking at Peduto’s laws, looking at Section 1, Article 21 of the state constitution which reads, “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned,” and striking the law down again.
He’ll have accomplished nothing but waste taxpayer money.
But hey, he’s a Democrat. What’s a little bit (or a lot) of taxpayer money to him?