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Pittsburgh approves assault-style weapons restriction months after synagogue shooting

The Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday approved a series of new gun control bills, including a ban on using certain assault-style weapons. The vote comes about five months after a gunman who police say was armed with an AR-15 rifle and pistols shot and killed 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue.

The council's final vote was greeted with a mix of applause and boos. Pro-gun advocates have already vowed to take legal action to block the new restrictions. 

In a 6-3 vote, the entirely Democratic council approved a ban on the "use" of assault-style weapons in public, which includes loading or firing them. It is still legal to own those guns in the city. The council also approved a ban on high-capacity magazines and armor-piercing ammunition, and authorized guns to be temporarily seized from people who are determined to be dangers to themselves or others. 

The bills await a signature from Mayor Bill Peduto, a Democrat, who is expected to approve them.

Pennsylvania state law prevents municipalities from regulating gun ownership, and Second Amendment advocates called the new laws unconstitutional. "All of it's illegal," Kim Stolfer, president of the Pennsylvania Firearms Owners Against Crime, told CBS Pittsburgh station KDKA. "Pennsylvania preemption law says that no municipality, period, may in any manner regulate. And that's at the heart of what they're doing."

Robert Bowers, who lived near Pittsburgh, is accused of killing 11 worshippers and wounding 7 others during services at the Tree of Life synagogue on October 27, 2018. He was arrested after exchanging gunfire with police. Bowers had posted anti-Semitic rants and conspiracy theories online before the shooting. He has been charged with more than 60 federal crimes, and pleaded not guilty.