Gun rights activists fill state Capitol for rally
Gun rights advocates gather for an annual rally on the steps of the state Capitol in Harrisburg on Monday. AP PHOTO/MATT ROURKE
Gun rights advocates gather for an annual rally at the state Capitol in Harrisburg on Monday. AP PHOTO/MATT ROURKE
HARRISBURG (AP) — Gun rights advocates packed the rotunda of the Pennsylvania Capitol on Monday for an annual Second Amendment rally, pushing their legislative priorities and cheering a call for the Pittsburgh mayor’s impeachment.
Gun owners roared when the event’s organizer, Republican Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, announced that he will ask fellow lawmakers to support his proposal to impeach Pittsburgh’s “rogue mayor” over recently enacted gun regulations.
Democratic Mayor Bill Peduto signed legislation last month restricting assault weapons, banning armor-piercing bullets and allowing temporary seizure of guns from people determined to be a danger to themselves or others.
A House Republican spokesman said, however, that caucus leaders are not interested in impeaching Peduto “or any other freely elected office holders.”
“Pittsburgh’s voters decide who their mayor is, not the Legislature at this time,” House GOP spokesman Mike Straub said.
Peduto’s spokesman, Tim McNulty, said the mayor is focused on addressing mass shootings and not on what he called political games.
“Mayor Peduto is focused on solving the mass shooting epidemic endangering our neighborhoods, schools and places of worship, and not political games like this,” McNulty said.
This is the 14th year the rally has been held. Dozens of House Republican legislators, joined by a smaller number of Democrats and state senators, heard speakers warn of efforts to restrict gun ownership.
“A gun can be an equalizer,” said Kelly Ann Pidgeon, head of the group Armed and Feminine. “I have friends who have been raped at gunpoint in gun-free zones.”
Joshua Prince, a lawyer active in Second Amendment litigation, reviewed recent court decisions on mental health treatment disqualification for gun ownership and the use of postcards without envelopes to communicate with those licensed to carry concealed weapons, despite privacy rules.
Prince assured those at the rally that there were legal efforts to block the new Pittsburgh laws. He warned that there are even some Republican lawmakers sponsoring bills to allow guns to be taken under so-called “high-risk protective orders.”
Frank Cannon, a 40-year-old electrician from Yardley, was among a group of attendees in matching red shirts from the Langhorne Rod and Gun Club.
Cannon said he was there “mainly just to keep my children’s rights intact. Not just the Second Amendment, but all of the rights.”