Gun rights groups sue over gun laws inspired by synagogue shooting

A coalition of gun rights groups on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Pittsburgh’s new gun control laws minutes after Mayor Bill Peduto (D) signed them, according to The Associated Press.

The new laws restrict weapons such as the AR-15 rifle used in the mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue last October, which killed 11 and wounded seven, also banning most armor-piercing ammunition and high-capacity magazines and allowing for the temporary seizure of guns from people deemed a danger to themselves or others.

The three bills were proposed shortly after the shooting but were pared down to help them be better equipped to survive a court challenge, according to the AP.

The National Rifle Association has backed a lawsuit from Pittsburgh residents challenging the large-capacity magazine ban.


“Pittsburgh residents have a right to carry the self-defense tool that best suits their needs and the NRA is proud to support this challenge to the city’s magazine ban,” Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement. “Restricting law-abiding citizens from exercising their constitutional rights will do nothing to stop violent criminals.”

“Pennsylvania law is very clear that the power to regulate firearms is the exclusive province of the General Assembly, not local governments,” David Thompson, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement. “Pennsylvania courts have repeatedly struck down Pittsburgh ordinances that attempted to regulate firearms in defiance of state law, and we are confident that this latest ordinance will meet the same fate.”

The Allegheny County Sportsmen’s League, meanwhile, has asked a judge to hold the city, the six council members who voted for the bills and Peduto in contempt of court, arguing they violated a 1995 legal settlement in which Pittsburgh officials dropped a proposal to ban assault weapons, according to the AP.

Pennsylvania state law bars municipalities from restricting gun ownership or possession, according to the AP, but the Pittsburgh bills refer only to “use.”

A spokesperson told The Hill the mayor's office does not comment on litigation.

--Updated at 3:40 p.m.