Pittsburgh City Council advances gun-control legislation introduced in wake of synagogue attack


(JTA) — The Pittsburgh City Council advanced gun-control legislation proposed in the wake of the deadly attack on the Tree of Life synagogue building.

The legislation, approved 6-3 in an initial vote, would ban the possession and use of certain semi-automatic weapons including assault rifles, their ammunition and accessories inside the city limits. Another bill would allow the courts to temporarily remove guns from someone thought to be a public threat.

The Tree of Life gunman used an AR-15 assault-style rifle in the October attack on the synagogue that killed 11 worshippers on a Shabbat morning.

Critics of the legislation and gun-rights advocates have threatened lawsuits. Some argue that state law prohibits municipalities from regulating guns.

A final vote is expected early next week.

The council also unanimously approved a companion bill named Stop the Violence Initiative that would direct additional funding to city anti-violence programs.

The Wednesday morning meeting was poorly attended and no one spoke against the bills, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.

Council members Erika Strassburger and Corey O’Connor, whose districts encompass portions of Squirrel Hill, where the Tree of Life building is located, and Mayor Bill Peduto’s office introduced the three bills in December, just seven weeks after the synagogue shooting, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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