Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto and City Council members representing the district where the Tree of Life synagogue massacre was carried out “unveiled” three bills being submitted to the Council, the city announced on Dec. 14. Per their press release, the new infringements will include:
- An assault weapons ban making it unlawful to man manufacture, sell, purchase, transport, carry, store, or otherwise hold in one’s possession an assault weapon within the City, such as the Colt AR-15 automatic rifle used in the Tree of Life shooting
- An accessories, ammunition and modification ban barring items such as bump stocks, armor-penetrating bullets, sawed-off rifles and large capacity magazines often used in mass shootings
- Adoption of Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), which enable courts to temporarily prohibit a person from having guns if law enforcement or immediate family members show that the individual poses a significant danger
It’s curious that the gun-grabbers continue to attack semi-automatic firearms as “weapons of war,” knowing full well that U.S. attorneys actually argued, and the Supreme Court agreed in 1939’s Miller case, that the Second Amendment applies to weapons having a “reasonable relationship” to the effectiveness of a well-regulated militia. As for ERPO/”red flag” laws, “guilty until proven innocent” turns all principles of Constitutional justice on their heads.
But it’s hardly surprising that the gun-grabbers would once more dance in the blood of “gun-free zone” victims to stump for even more citizen disarmament. And as The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Stu Bykofsky observed, “Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue was a gun-free zone until an anti-Semite with guns turned it into a sea of death.”
It’s also no surprise that Gov. Wolf and Mayor Peduto are eager to get their names associated with a highly-publicized media-approved effort to “do something,” even if everyone involves knows their posturing won’t solve a thing and will actually make things worse for Pennsylvania’s “law-abiding” gun owners. That’s the point. They want to discourage an armed citizenry. The end game is a government monopoly of violence.
Again unsurprisingly, they’re the lawbreakers by virtue of being oath of office-breakers – and on multiple counts.
First, the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States mandates “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Second, § 21 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania declares “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.”
Third, they’re deliberately violating PA Crimes Code Title 18 § 6120, which states:
No county, municipality or township may in any manner regulate the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by the laws of this Commonwealth.
That’s important because consider the alternative, what is known as a “patchwork quilt” of anti-gun diktats: If lower levels of government could ban firearm possession and transportation, it would become effectively impossible to travel from Point A to Point B without placing yourself in legal jeopardy for “violating” some obscure local ordinance and bringing a world of hurt down on your head. And that’s the point, too.
That Gov. Wolf got half a million dollars from Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown certainly didn’t hurt his enthusiasm for disregarding the law. And Mayor Peduto was more than happy to “partner” with the New York billionaire before the midterms and “rebuke” President Trump’s call for armed protection at churches and synagogues after the Tree of Life atrocities.
They’re protected by taxpayer-funded armed security details and that means they’ve got theirs so they don’t need to care. As a side note, the story about one of Wolf’s State Police bodyguards “accused of beating his wife and threatening to kill her during an alcohol-fueled attack after she refused to have sex with him” somehow seems appropriate for a politician pushing ERPOs. And the story of Peduto upping his family’s security after deciding to “welcome Syrian refugees” shows whose safety he’s concerned with.
So where does all this go now?
“There will be no justice until those violating the law are arrested, prosecuted and punished,” I commented on The War on Guns blog about those enacting such deliberately unlawful edicts. “Do such teeth for personal accountability exist, and if not, why not?”
I was very pleasantly surprised to find others thinking along those lines.
“In the event Pittsburgh moves forward with the proposals, Allegheny County Sportsmen's League and Firearms Owners Against Crime will take legal action against the City and request that Allegheny County District Attorney Zappala file criminal charges against the Mayor and City Council for violations of 18 Pa.C.S. § 5301 (official oppression) and 18 Pa.C.S. § 6120 (preemption),” the Firearms Industry Consulting Group announced.
“The question for all of us ‘can government ignore the law’ and when will they be held accountable?” FOAC President Kim Stolfer tells Firearms News. “The City of Pittsburgh is ‘arrogantly’ violating Pennsylvania Preemption law (a misdemeanor one crime) and openly defying the authority of the Legislature. In addition, the City of Pittsburgh is in open defiance of a 1995 consent decree when they were stopped trying to ban firearms. This defiance ‘must’ be stopped or it will touch every community in Pennsylvania and is repugnant to a Constitutional Republic. Public officials MUST be held accountable for the criminals that they are.”