As we covered earlier, Pittsburgh recently passed some legislation that bans the carry - but not ownership - of so-called, “assault weapons” as well as the majority of mid-sized concealed carry pistols due to their magazine capacity. Despite running contrary to the Pennsylvania’s previous rulings that townships had no authority to do so whatsoever, this recent piece of legislation was passed due in large part to the efforts of Mayor Peduto of Pittsburgh.
Coincidentally, the next USCCA Concealed Carry Expo is taking place in Pittsburgh next month, May 17 through the 19th. Consequently, many attendees are concerned how this would affect the expo. So Firearms News sat down with USDCCA founder, and president, Tim Schmidt to get the full story.
Firearms News: Mr. Schmidt, for those readers out there not familiar with the USCCA, could you give them a rundown of what your organization does, and what role it plays in the Second Amendment community?
Tim Schmidt: Sure. The whole concept behind the USCCA, is to provide education training and legal protection to responsible armed citizens. We currently have more than a quarter-million members, and over two-million readers of our newsletter - but ultimately, our goal is to save lives by empowering responsibly armed citizens to protect themselves and loved ones.
Firearms News: With the upcoming 2019 USCCA Concealed Carry Expo in Pittsburgh, and Mayor Peduto’s recent anti-gun legislation running contrary to not the USCCA’s mission, but the Second Amendment as a whole, what is your response to Peduto’s actions, and how will this law affect the convention?
Tim Schmidt: To be honest, my response is that this is classic, knee-jerk, feel-good legislation that will have zero impact on any crime. If anything, it will make people more vulnerable, because it would embolden criminals; the only people who follow these sorts of laws are good guys, and now the bad guys realize there will be fewer responsibly armed citizens... the consequence are obvious. Unintended, but obvious.
Firearms News: PA’s courts ruled that laws restricting gun ownership are not only unconstitutional, but beyond the scope of what a township has the authority to pass. That said, Peduto circumvented this, by restricting not ownership, but use and carry of these firearms. It appears this is a clear indication that the mayor understands that he is violating the intent of the court’s previous ruling because it suits him politically - what are your thoughts?
Tim Schmidt: I agree. There’s no question Mayor Peduto is intentionally running against the intent of the court’s rulings, and the Second Amendment. And again, he can’t possibly believe this will have any impact on crime. This is purely about getting headlines, politics and pandering to his base of constituents who are either just as obtuse or illogical with their beliefs on firearm laws and ownership.
Any firearm legislation, and this isn’t just my opinion, whenever any city or state enacts laws that make it easier to law abiding citizens to own guns, there’s only one thing that happens. Criminals and bad guys now have a greater fear of force; they no longer know whether or not their intended target is armed. So there’s a natural tendency for them to commit fewer crimes, certainly fewer violent crimes.
Firearms News: Getting back to my previous question, so what will the impact of these laws be on the USCCA Concealed Carry Convention this May? Some rumors online are stating that the USCCA may simply, “thumb their nose” at these new laws.
Tim Schmidt: The last thing I want to do is thumb my nose at anyone - especially those I disagree with. Quite frankly, we’ve done just the opposite.
We’ve invited the entire city council to participate, and many of these classes don’t involve firearms at all. They have to do with preparation and conflict avoidance. To be more specific, this legislation has actually done great things for our expo in terms of publicity.
We’ve actually received letters from the council asking us not to come. So we published not only our official response to the city council, but some op-eds as well. Basically, as much as we like to be good people, we’re far more concerned with the good law abiding citizens of Pittsburgh and we will be there.
As far as the impact of this law on the event - the answer is none. The legislation won’t come into effect until after the convention. So again, we will definitely be there.
Firearms News: That’s great news for USCCA members, the future attendees of the Concealed Carry Expo and 2A supporters in general. Well, we appreciate you taking the time to clarify your position on this latest legislation and its effect on the expo.
For more information on the upcoming expo, and everything USCCA related. Head over to USCCAexpo.com.