Pittsburgh Public Safety: Prep For Gun Rights Event No Different Than Other Rallies

Jan 4, 2019

A pro-Second Amendment rights rally is planned for Monday, in front of the City-County Building in downtown Pittsburgh. The city's public safety spokesperson Chris Togneri said planning for this rally is no different than any other.

"Public safety will have police officers present," Togneri said. "That means uniformed police, plain-clothes officers and officers on motorcycles, bicycles and in vehicles to ensure public safety throughout the event."

The rally is organized by Justin Dillon of Erie, Pa. In an email, Dillon said the event is in response to Pittsburgh City Council and Mayor Bill Peduto vowing to enact increased gun control legislation in wake of the Tree of Life shooting. The measures would almost certainly be met with lawsuits, as state law prohibits cities from regulating firearms.

More than 500 people have responded to a Facebook event for the rally saying they will attend. In the description, organizers urge attendents not to riot, fight or taunt others with their firearms. 

"If you do chose to carry," the description reads, "please do it in a safe and responsible manner."

Togneri said he knows this rally will be emotionally charged, particularly because the Squirrel Hill shooting happened just over two months ago.

"Many residents do not want a gun rights rally to be held in our city," Togneri said. "On the other hand, gun rights activists believe it's important at this time to rally on behalf of their Second Amendment rights. So we understand the emotion that we're dealing with, our job is not to take a side but to ensure public safety for all."

Guns are prohibited inside the City-County Building.