Pittsburgh Introduces Gun-control Legislation in Wake of Synagogue Attack

The bills regulate possession and use of certain semiautomatic weapons and allow gun removals from people deemed a public threat after Tree of Life shooting attack in October

A menorah is tested outside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on December 2, 2018.
Gene J. Puskar,AP

The Pittsburgh City Council gave final approval to gun-control legislation proposed in the wake of the deadly attack on the Tree of Life synagogue building.

The council voted 6-3 to send a package of gun-control and anti-violence bills to the desk of Mayor Bill Peduto, who said he would sign them, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.

The bills ban possession and use of certain semiautomatic weapons, including assault rifles, ban ammunition and accessories, such as large capacity magazines, and allow courts to temporarily remove guns from a person deemed to be a public threat. A companion bill passed by the council directs additional funding to city anti-violence programs.

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City residents who currently own guns and accessories outlined in the bills would be grandfathered. Violators of the laws could be fined $1,000, or face up to 90 days in prison, for each offense.

The Tree of Life gunman used an AR-15 assault-style rifle in the October attack on the synagogue that killed 11 worshippers on a Shabbat morning.

Critics of the legislation and gun-rights advocates have threatened lawsuits. Some argue that state law prohibits municipalities from regulating guns.

Council members Erika Strassburger and Corey O’Connor, whose districts encompass portions of Squirrel Hill, where the Tree of Life building is located, and Mayor Bill Peduto’s office introduced the three bills in December, just seven weeks after the synagogue shooting, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.