The National Rifle Association (NRA) and residents of Pittsburgh, PA, filed a lawsuit against the city Tuesday for enacting an ordinance that makes it illegal to publicly carry magazines that can hold more than ten rounds of ammunition.
The ordinance completely replaces the original language in Chapter 607 of the city’s “Regulated Actions and Rights” article. It makes it, “unlawful to manufacture, sell, purchase, transport, carry, store, or otherwise hold in one’s possession within the City of Pittsburgh an assault weapon.”
Pittsburgh defines an “assault weapon” as, “a selective-fire firearm capable of fully automatic, semiautomatic or burst fire at the option of the user or a firearm that has the ability to accept a large capacity magazine.”
Large capacity magazines include any magazine, drum, feed strip, belt or any other device that holds more than ten rounds of ammunition. The only exceptions include inoperable or “germanely altered” magazines that cannot hold that many rounds, “a .22 caliber tube ammunition feeding device,” and “a tubular magazine that is contained in a lever-action firearm.”
The NRA stated that the magazine ban impacts the nation's most popular firearms, which are readily available for civilian ownership and self-defense purposes.
“Pittsburgh residents have a right to carry the self-defense tool that best suits their needs and the NRA is proud to support this challenge to the city’s magazine ban,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action. “Restricting law-abiding citizens from exercising their constitutional rights will do nothing to stop violent criminals.”
The case that the NRA filed in the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas is titled Anderson v. City of Pittsburgh. David Thompson, an attorney representing the plaintiffs in the case, said that state law prevents Pittsburgh from enacting ordinances related to gun control.
“Pennsylvania law is very clear that the power to regulate firearms is the exclusive province of the General Assembly, not local governments,” Thompson said. “Pennsylvania courts have repeatedly struck down Pittsburgh ordinances that attempted to regulate firearms in defiance of state law, and we are confident that this latest ordinance will meet the same fate.”
Pittsburgh wasn’t the only city that tried to get away with passing gun control laws. In 2007, Philadelphia tried to enact eight bills that would restrict people’s ability to own firearms. The legislation would have prevented citizens from possessing “assault weapons,” restricted people’s ability to purchase more than one handgun per month, required reports of lost or stolen firearms, and more.
Under Section 6120 in Title 18 of Pennsylvania’s statutes, “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.”