Pennsylvania judge strikes down gun ordinances inspired by Pittsburg synagogue shooting

A Pennsylvania judge struck down three Pittsburgh gun reform ordinances inspired by the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue last year.

Judge Joseph M. James of Allegheny County decided Tuesday that the three city ordinances were not legal because state laws on gun regulation take precedence over the local laws. The ordinances would have banned assault weapons, banned large-capacity magazines and allowed courts to stop people from owning guns if they were a threat to themselves or others, The New York Times reported.

James wrote that state law “pre-empts any local regulation pertaining to the regulation of firearms.” 

ADVERTISEMENT
The judge’s ruling came exactly one year and two days after a gunman stormed into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood and killed 11 people. The gunman had apparently engaged in anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant speech online.

The laws were introduced in December, and Mayor Bill Peduto (D) signed them into law in April, according to the Times. Three gun rights groups, the Firearms Policy Coalition, Firearm Owners Against Crime and Firearms Policy Foundation, in addition to three individuals, responded by suing the city, prompting the ordinances to be stayed in May throughout the court process. 

Peduto said on Twitter the city would appeal.

Joshua Prince, the gun rights groups’ lawyer, said in a statement that the judge’s order proved that Peduto and the City Council, who both supported the laws, are “neither above the law nor a special class of citizens that may violate the law with impunity.”