View Full Version : Not California news: Clueless politicians trying to revive Pittsburgh AWB

09-01-2009, 2:18 PM

I have a friend in the Pitt that passed this along. The irony of this is he moved there to get away from CA gun laws.

Honestly, I think the title of the article should be "When clueless politicians attack"... :rolleyes:

Assault weapon ban for G-20 summit?
Gun debate springs from city proposal to control protesters
Friday, August 28, 2009
By Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh's short-lived ban on assault weapons, quashed by the General Assembly in 1994, is still on the city's books, and it may get new life under legislation driven by next month's G-20 summit.

A little-noted clause in a proposed ordinance written by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's administration to keep protesters from thwarting police crowd control efforts invokes the defunct assault weapons ban. The clause says "no person shall possess" an array of items including 37 "contraband" weapons listed in the ban, "for the purpose of defeating lawful removal" by police.

Its effect is a matter of debate.

To Councilman Bruce Kraus, a gun control advocate, it's "clearly saying that this ban on assault weapons would be an effective tool for policing the G-20."

"If indeed, by sending this over, [administration officials] feel that the assault weapons ban is needed for effective policing during the G-20, would they not also feel that the ban is needed for daily policing?"

City Solicitor George Specter said the clause is "not an attempt to ban such things," but rather "a restriction on how they are used, in clearly defined, limited circumstances."

But to Meghan Jones-Rolla, a firearms lawyer who has represented the National Rifle Association locally, it looks like "a back-door attempt at an assault weapons ban."

"After the G-20, if I'm standing on the corner, and I have an assault weapon, and [a police officer] says, 'Move,' am I in violation?"

Council is set to debate and vote on G-20 legislation today but may postpone two protest-related bills until it can hold a public hearing.

Pittsburgh officials have said they need new rules to deal with techniques that a few protesters use, and the legislation bars possession of "animal or human waste, animal or human blood, rotten eggs, acid, gasoline, manufactured gases or sprays, and alcohol" if its meant for thwarting crowd dispersal. The legislation isn't limited to the Sept. 24 and 25 summit, having no sunset provision.

By invoking a 1993 list of weapons -- from the ArmaLite AR-180 to the Weaver Arms Nighthawk 9 mm -- the legislation could touch a raw nerve with gun rights advocates.

The city last month won the first round of a court fight with the NRA, when Common Pleas Judge R. Stanton Wettick Jr. threw out the group's challenge to an ordinance demanding that firearm owners report a missing gun within 24 hours of noticing that it's gone. The NRA has appealed.

After being told of the legislation by the Post-Gazette, Ms. Jones-Rolla said she informed the NRA, but she did not yet know if the group would challenge the ordinance, if it is passed.

She noted that even though the NRA lost the first legal round on lost-and-stolen guns in Pittsburgh, it has so far defeated a Philadelphia attempt to ban assault weapons there.

The NRA bases its arguments on the state law barring localities from regulating the "ownership, possession or transportation of firearms." Passed in 1994, it was, in part, a reaction to then-Councilman Jack Wagner's successful push for the assault weapons ban in Pittsburgh. Mr. Wagner is now state auditor general.

Fraternal Order of Police President Dan O'Hara said that he generally didn't oppose peoples' right to own powerful guns.

"It's not the fact that people own assault weapons that's a problem," he said. "The problem is how they're being used, and who owns them."

He said police have gotten reports that representatives from the group Open Carry -- which backs the right of most citizens to openly bear arms -- would be near the G-20 perimeter.

"We don't know if they'll be walking around with guns on their hips," he said.

Mr. Kraus said he didn't know how the G-20 legislation jibes with the state law, but he'd like to expand on it by updating the code's list of 37 guns.

"Is it not prudent to look at all additional automatic and semi-automatic weapons available today?" he asked.

The G-20 summit of leaders of economic powerhouse nations is expected to draw protests, and is a National Special Security Event, making the Secret Service the lead security agency.

Mr. Kraus said that Washington could be the city's ally against big guns. "We need the feds to petition Harrisburg to ban this kind of weaponry for the G-20" and maybe beyond, he said.

Rich Lord can be reached at rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542.
First published on August 28, 2009 at 12:00 am

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09240/993804-482.stm#ixzz0PtaZ6XSf