Pittsburgh’s mayor doesn’t care about the state’s preemption law. He wants to pass gun control measures in his city, and he doesn’t care if they’re legal or not.
The fact that he’s willing to break the law to pass gun control laws that people will, in turn, break should be telling. Unfortunately, I don’t think Mayor Bill Peduto is self-aware enough to get that.
However, there were a lot of activists more than willing to tell him.
Hundreds of gun advocates, some armed, gathered outside the City-County Building to protest proposed gun-control measures Monday afternoon, welcoming speakers like Open Carry Pennsylvania founder Justin Dillon and “Kent State gun girl” Kaitlin Bennett.
The protest follows the recent announcement by Mayor Bill Peduto and Pittsburgh CIty COuncil Members that it was planning to present a suite of restrictive gun-control laws that include banning the sale of semi-automatic rifles in the city. The announcement was a response to the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill last October.
With these measures, council hopes to ban bump stocks and assault rifles within the city, among other gun restrictions. This has caught the ire of gun advocates who say the measures are not only wrong to pursue but also in violation of Pennsylvania state law.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” Dillon told the Pittsburgh Current as the protestors were gathering before the event. “Of course, you can see that the turnout is pretty good. We’re here assembling. This isn’t about one group. This isn’t about Open Carry. This is about gun owners uniting, all together. This isn’t about anyone else other than that, and that’s the only reason why we’re here.”
After first gathering at the 1st avenue parking garage, the protestors walked to the City-County Building before the noon event. “Make America Great Again!” hats and other paraphernalia celebrating President Donald Trump was worn by many of the men and women in the crowd. As they walked, some thanked police officers on duty in the area. “Watch out for the knuckleheads,” one told the police.
Many held signs with varied messages supporting gun rights and condemning city council. Others were crass and mocked other protest mantras. One sign read “Black Guns Matter” with a picture of a black assault rifle on it.. Another referred to Mayor Bill Peduto as “Pedildo.”
It’s important to make sure politicians and their allies in the media know and understand that people oppose these measures and just why they oppose these measures.
Peduto is trying to play up to the crowd. He knows the city was shocked by what happened at the Tree of Life Synagogue. It was a domestic terrorist attack, and he’s trying to capitalize on it for something he wanted to do anyway but didn’t figure he had a hope in hell of pulling off. Now, he’s got a little chance at ginning up some actual support, so he’s taking it.
Laws be damned.
But Peduto needs to remember that he doesn’t live in an armored bubble. Reality, including the fact that there are a lot of Second Amendment advocates in Pennsylvania, will remind him of that.