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Judge Strikes Down 3 Laws Limiting Assault Weapons, Ammunition In Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - An Allegheny County judge struck down three gun control laws that limit assault weapons and ammunition in Pittsburgh.

The ordinances would have restricted military-style assault weapons, like the AR-15 rifle used in the synagogue shooting. It also banned most uses of armor-piercing ammunition and high-capacity magazines and allowed the temporary seizure of guns from people who were determined to be a danger to themselves or others.

The laws were passed after the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in 2018.

The court struck down the ordinances, saying the city didn't have the authority to implement them. The judge said the laws are "void and unenforceable."

Pennsylvania state law forbids municipalities from regulating guns.

"They knew that these ordinances were unlawful and they passed them anyway," said attorney Joshua Prince, who is representing the Firearms Industry Consulting Group. "Therefore, city council members are not some special class of citizens."

Several groups — including Firearms Owners Against Crime — sued the city to overturn the legislation.

"Only the General Assembly can regulate firearms and ammunition," Prince said.

The reaction to the judge striking down Pittsburgh's new gun laws was mixed.

"I think it's sad when we use an event that's as terrible as this as an example to change what is constitutionally best for our country," said Brad Carmichael of Pittsburgh.

"If the majority of people want that and they elect people to change those laws based on what the majority wants, then people have a right to do that," said Rod Salka of Pittsburgh

Director of Communications for the Office of Mayor Peduto says in a statement:

"The City and its outside legal counsel have always expected this would be a long legal fight and will continue to fight for the right to take common-sense steps to prevent future gun violence. We will appeal."

Three gun rights advocacy groups and three individuals challenged the ordinances.

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