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Identity & Community

Pittsburgh Gun Ordinance Remains in Place as NRA Lawsuit Proceeds


The City of Pittsburgh has been granted a stay in the National Rifle Association’s lawsuit against a firearm ordinance. That means, the city’s “lost or stolen” ordinance is allowed to stand as the lawsuit proceeds, though the NRA had requested it be halted during the case.

“We think that the court made an error, made a series of errors in fact,” said Jonathan Goldstein, outside counsel for the NRA. “We don’t think they were entitled to that stay, we think that what Pittsburgh and Allegheny County have done is very much out of step with the courts that have already ruled on this in Lancaster and Dauphin County and we intend to appeal.”

But, Mayor Bill Peduto stands by the legality of the 2009 ordinance over which the city is being sued. It requires an owner to report if a firearm is lost or stolen. But, the NRA contends that the city cannot make such laws because a state law prohibits municipalities from enacting ordinances which regulate possession, ownership, transportation or transfer of firearms.

“Mayor Peduto has been saying all along that the state bill is clearly unconstitutional and we’re happy the judge has agreed with us in this early step in the legal process,” said Tim McNulty, spokesman for Peduto.

Mayor Peduto has said the city’s ordinance does not defy state law because it does not affect anybody’s right to own a gun.

“The mayor of Pittsburgh is incorrect,” said Goldstein. “For many year, the courts have held that these sorts of ordinances are illegal.” 

In a statement, the NRA said that the ruling “seems to have been made more with an eye toward local politics than following the law,” and said it was not a surprise that the Allegheny County Court Judge ruled in favor of Pittsburgh. It also said the judge ignored the group’s request for a court reporter in the hearing, and therefore there is no public record. And Goldstein said the ordinance being challenged does nothing to protect public safety.

“They [NRA] can make all the scurrilous allegations they want, but it’s not going to stop us from protecting our neighborhoods,” said McNulty.

The appeal of the stay, which is expected to be filed within a few days, will go to the Commonwealth Court.