Pittsburgh Backs Philly's Lawsuit Seeking To Overturn Preemption

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Someone once told me the city of Pittsburgh was probably the one place up north that I, as a southerner, would feel most at home. The reason? Well, the person told me they have plenty of rednecks. He said it approvingly, too, so I took him at his word.

That was before the Tree of Life shooting and Mayor Bill Peduto’s jihad against the Second Amendment rights of his citizens, of course.

Peduto rammed through an assault weapon ban in the city despite the state having a preemption law. He didn’t figure the law applied to him and his city.

Now, though, he’s seeking to overturn the law by joining with Philadelphia in their lawsuit.

Pittsburgh city officials this week threw support behind a lawsuit filed last year in Philadelphia challenging Pennsylvania’s Firearm Preemption Laws, alleging they keep the city from combating gun violence and “have forged a state-created danger.”

The brief, filed Monday in support of the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state laws, accuses the Pennsylvania General Assembly of perpetuating gun violence in the state through its restrictions on local-level gun laws.

“Were it not for the General Assembly’s actions (and inaction),” attorneys for the city wrote in the brief, “Pittsburgh’s residents … would be safer today.”

The lawsuit, filed in Commonwealth Court in October by Philadelphia and residents impacted by gun violence, names the General Assembly as a whole, as well as former Sen. Joe Scarnati, then the President Pro Tempore of the state Senate and Rep. Bryan Cutler, speaker of the state House of Representatives.

Pittsburgh’s brief in support of the lawsuit points to the case of Zykier Young, a 1-year-old killed by a stray bullet as he slept in his crib in his family’s North Side apartment. Young’s killing happened the same week as 10 other shootings across the city that left four dead.

“These individual tragedies are part of a larger tale,” attorneys wrote, pointing to the 499 firearm homicides in Pittsburgh in the decade from Jan. 1, 2010, through December 2020.

“Preemption laws,” according to the brief, “take away the city’s ability to combat gun violence.”

Of course, what they also do is tacitly admit that their assault weapon ban is illegal as hell, thus admitting that the mayor and city council broke the law.

After all, they can either pretend preemption doesn’t exist or they can claim it hamstrings them in attempting to pass gun control. What they can’t really do is both. Not without looking absolutely ridiculous, at least.

In this case, they’re acknowledging preemption exists while trying to fight it despite already having passed a local gun control bill in their city.

As for the matter of preemption, Pittsburgh’s listing of violence fails to address the strong possibility that damn near every one of those shootings was carried out by a firearm obtained illegally under current law. How are you going to prevent that amount of violence with new laws when the old laws are so blatantly ignored?

Then again, it’s not really about the violence. It’s about Peduto and people like him thinking they have the authority to tell us how we can exercise our God-given rights.

 

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