Pittsburgh City Councilman Wants To Ban Guns From City Parks After Protest

A city councilman in Pittsburgh got a bit miffed by reality. It seems that last month during a protest in that city’s Mellon Park, some firearms were present. Councilman Dan Gilman has decided that even though nothing actually happened, guns in city parks have got to go.


Pittsburgh Councilman Dan Gilman said he was astonished last month to see people carrying assault rifles in Mellon Park.

Gilman, whose council district includes the East End park, said the group showed up during a series of protests that broke out in Pittsburgh following a violent Aug. 12 clash between white supremacists and counter-demonstrators in Charlottesville, N.C.

The Squirrel Hill Democrat said he was unaware that the city had no ordinance prohibiting firearms in city parks. Gilman hopes to change that Tuesday by introducing legislation that would ban firearms in the parks.

A South Fayette man, who represents a statewide gun-owners group, said state law prohibits municipalities from enacting gun regulations.

Kim Stolfer, president of the group Firearms Owners Against Crime, noted that Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court last year overturned an ordinance enacted in Lower Merion Township near Philadelphia that prohibited people from carrying unlicensed firearms in its parks.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why states have preemption ordinances.


Of course, Gilman argues that his proposal mirrors state law against carrying uncased guns in state parks except in designated areas. In the process, he shows that he doesn’t really understand preemption.

You see, it doesn’t matter if the proposal is so close to state law it should probably get you sued for plagiarism, local governments do not get to write their own laws on guns in states that have preemption laws. Period.

Yes, the state may have a law that says no uncased firearms on state park property, but that isn’t carte blanche for the rest of the state to decide their parks get to be treated the same way. If so, the preemption law isn’t worth the paper it was written on.

Preemption laws exist to prevent municipalities from creating a byzantine framework of local ordinances that are virtually impossible to know unless you’re from that community, if even then. This has the effect of quelling people’s Second Amendment rights unless their residents of that community, even if that’s not the intention of the local ordinances.


Gilman’s effort is all about superseding the local government’s authority and create a separate set of rules for the city of Pittsburgh, rules that few will know if they venture into the city.

Even if it succeeded at taking guns out of parks during protests–Gilman’s ostensible motivation–all it would do is disarm the law-abiding gun owner and turn them into victims for the unruly mob that seeks to harm their opposition every chance they get. The mob would still have their weapons, starting with the stick to their placard and ending with whatever other things they sneak in.

But no, Gilman saw scary guns and he wants to keep the boogieman at bay. It must suck to be so afraid of a tool.

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