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Pittsburgh gun rally brings hundreds of protesters to downtown

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Hundreds of gun rights advocates gathered for a rally in Pittsburgh Monday, Jan. 7, 2019. KDKA

Hundreds of protesters, many openly carrying guns, gathered in downtown Pittsburgh Monday to rally against the city council's proposed restrictions on some firearms and ammunition. According to CBS Pittsburgh, about 600 people met outside the City-County Building downtown for the "Open Carry Rally."

The group is protesting bills introduced by the city council that would ban semi-automatic rifles and certain ammunition and firearms accessories within city limits. They were introduced last month in the wake of the October massacre at Tree of Life synagogue, where 11 worshippers were killed.

Gun rights activists are decrying the proposals, contending the restrictions would violate Pennsylvania law. State law prohibits municipalities from regulating firearms.

"I think it's just important that our politicians follow the state Constitution. The Pennsylvania state Constitution makes it clear that they can't make their own gun rules, that's a state issue, and I think it's important that we abide by that," said gun advocate Kevin Cowley.

A group of counter-protesters gathered across the street from the rally.  

Last week, a sign posted outside the building warned that taking guns inside the building is against the law. It prompted gun rights advocates to threaten legal action.

The protest was organized by Justin Dillon, the founder of the advocacy group Open Carry Pennsylvania. Speakers include Kaitlin Bennett, who drew attention when she posted photos of herself on the Kent State University campus with an AR-10 and a mortar board reading "Come and take it."