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Private criminal complaints filed against Mayor Peduto over proposed gun reform legislation

PITTSBURGH — Gun rights activists have filed private criminal complaints against Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto over his proposed gun reform legislation.

The complaints filed with the district attorney are also against seven City Council members and City Solicitor Yvonne Hilton. The seven council members are Kraus, Coghill, O’Connor, Lavelle, Gross, Strassburger and Burgess.

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“The actions of the Mayor and City Council demonstrate criminal intent to abridge Constitutional rights,” Dr. Val Finnell, of Kennedy Township, said in a news release. “They have absolutely no authority to enact gun control legislation. Citizens are sick and tired of politicians who think they can violate the law with impunity. They need to be held accountable.”

STORY: Pittsburgh council introduces 3 bills strengthening city gun laws

The proposed assault weapons ban would make it "unlawful to manufacture, sell, purchase, transport, carry, store or otherwise hold in one’s possession an assault weapon within the City, such as the Colt semi-automatic rifle used in the Tree of Life shooting," a December letter said.

Meanwhile, an accessories, ammunition and modification ban would bar items such as bump stocks, armor-penetrating bullets, sawed-off rifles and large capacity magazines.

Peduto told Channel 11 News Wednesday that he has received threats over the proposed gun reform legislation, which Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said he believes would be found unconstitutional.

STORY: DA: Proposed Pittsburgh gun legislation would be found unconstitutional

Some gun rights advocates are now trying to push Peduto out of office.

Republican ward Chair Brooke Nadonley, of Mt. Washington, and Val Finnell, of Firearms Owners Against Crime, made rounds Monday at the Allegheny County Courthouse, trying to file a petition to impeach Peduto.

Mike Manko, a spokesperson for the Allegheny County District Attorney's office, issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:

"We have received a request this date to file a criminal complaint against Pittsburgh City Council members and others.  Procedurally, a private criminal complaint must be personally submitted through the local magistrate's office. Electronic service is not sufficient.

Further, at this time there is insufficient evidence to charge anyone with an offense. A Criminal Attempt or Criminal Conspiracy charge requires more than a political discussion. It requires an overt act. 18 Pa.C.S.A. 6120 prohibits the regulation of firearms not the mere political debate regarding a public concern. Neither the United States Constitution nor the Pennsylvania Constitution criminalize the exercise of a public discussion or public debate of an issue.  Clearly the framers of either Constitution would not condone the criminal prosecution of anyone discussing changing laws. It only becomes a crime, when a person's actions are contrary to established law."


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