Prosecutor refuses to charge Pittsburgh mayor over gun control restrictions

The Allegheny County district attorney declined to approve charges against the mayor of Pittsburgh and six city council members on Friday after the city passed gun control legislation that some gun rights supporters have said violates Pennsylvania law. 

Seven Pittsburgh residents attempted to file criminal complaints against Mayor Bill Peduto (D) and the city councilors, according to The Associated Press. Citizens are allowed to file such charges with approval by the district attorney. 

Democratic District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr.'s office said that prosecutors will not consider criminal charges until after the laws go into effect and someone is accused of violating them. The law will become effective in about two months. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"We will consider a private complaint if somebody is aggrieved by the law," a spokesperson for Zappala told residents. 

"Why do I have to be arrested? Why do I have to fall on a sword? Now, I have a criminal record," responded Tony Golembiewski, one of the people who tried to file charges.

The law change follows a mass shooting at the city's Tree of Life Synagogue in October in which 11 people were killed. It bans AR-15 rifles like the one that officials said was used in the killing. 

“Change only happens when you challenge the status quo,” Peduto said when he signed the legislation, according to the AP.