Pittsburgh Files Legal Responses in Harrisburg Gun Ordinance Case

PITTSBURGH, PA (July 9, 2020) The City of Pittsburgh has signed onto an amicus brief on a suit before the state Supreme Court that would allow gun industry groups to sue cities with gun safety ordinances, even if the ordinances have not been enforced. Mayor William Peduto and members of Pittsburgh City Council also signed onto a separate amicus brief for the suit joined by other advocacy groups and elected local officials.   

A gun industry group sued the city of Harrisburg in 2015 saying the city’s decade-old gun safety ordinances were preempted by state law. A Common Pleas Court ruled the group had no legal standing to sue since the plaintiffs had not been cited under the city’s laws, but that ruling was overturned by Commonwealth Court last year. The ruling was appealed up to the Supreme Court. 

The City of Pittsburgh signed onto an amicus brief yesterday with the City of Philadelphia. The brief with Philadelphia says in part:  

“Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are the Commonwealth’s biggest municipalities. Together, they provide city services, administer justice, and ensure public safety for over 1.8 million Pennsylvanians. Respondents’ lawsuit imperils all three of these basic municipal functions. The Commonwealth Court’s decision below fashions an unworkably lax bar for standing that, if affirmed, promises a flood of baseless lawsuits against a host of lawful municipal measures.” 

Mayor Peduto and Council members Rev. Ricky Burgess, Bruce Kraus, Corey O'Connor and Erika Strassburger signed onto a separate amicus brief with CeaseFirePa and the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, other anti-gun violations organizations, and other Pennsylvania elected local officials.   

Copies of the briefs are available here and here

The City of Pittsburgh approved a series of gun safety measures in 2019 in the wake of the mass shootings at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill. Gun industry groups filed suit against the City, and that case is currently before the Commonwealth Court. 



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Timothy McNulty
Communications Director
Mayor's Office