PITTSBURGH - Hundreds of people gathered Monday in downtown Pittsburgh for an open carry rally in response to proposed gun control measures introduced by the City Council last month.
Part of Grant Street was blocked off, and precautions are in place as gun rights activists from around the region take part in the rally.
Open Carry Pennsylvania encouraged gun owners and supporters to demonstrate at noon outside the City-County Building on Grant Street.
"We're all law-abiding citizens, we're not criminals. We're just out here trying to protect a right that was given to us," said Hunter Stokes, of Lawrenceville.
The rally started with a minutelong moment of silence for the 11 people killed in the Tree of Life synagogue shooting.
Organizers start the rally with a one minute moment of silence for the 11 victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting pic.twitter.com/HQLBnpi21H— Aaron Martin (@WPXIAaronMartin) January 7, 2019
The proposed legislation being protested would ban semiautomatic weapons within the city. If it's approved, advocates have said they will sue the city.
Signs warned visitors that guns and knives are not allowed in the building, and that's something over which a pro-gun group is threatening to take the city to court.
Organizers say under state law, guns are allowed inside the building; they just have to be stored safely inside a locker.
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City leaders say the group has a right to assemble, but the goal will be to keep everyone safe.
A spokesman for Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto declined to comment on the rally.
Gun owners are hoping their message will carry the day and get city leaders to take another look at restricting gun rights.
"It can't be ignored, I can say that. They're going to know that we were here and the numbers that were here. I don't know if it's going to change any of their actions, but we'll know in the coming days what they decide to do," said Justin Dillon, a rally organizer.
A couple of hours after the protest ended, some of the gun rights advocates went inside to speak with the mayor.
A police officer stepped in after protestors said they were stonewalled at the front desk and couldn't get any information.
"It was astonishing that I couldn't get basic information, like, 'Who's your supervisor?' Another piece of information I was looking for is, 'How does this work? What's the process at your front desk? How am I able to gain access?', And she wouldn't tell me that, either," protester Boyd Martin said.
The protesters then returned to the first floor to retrieve their guns.
They said they were told the mayor wasn't in and that they could email him with their concerns. The protesters said they will show up for the public hearing.
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