Manatt Files Amicus Brief in Support of City of Pittsburgh Gun Ordinances

On April, 30, 2020, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, filed an amicus brief in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania on behalf of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The amicus is in support of the City of Pittsburgh’s appeal of a Trial Court ruling that invalidated three municipal ordinances promulgated by the City of Pittsburgh in the wake of the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue.

The case, Firearm Owners Against Crime, et al. v. City of Pittsburgh, et al., follows the October 27, 2018 deadly shooting that killed 11 innocent Jewish members of the Pittsburgh-area Tree of Life synagogue. In April 2019, three gun restrictions were imposed to restrict the unlawful use of military-style weapons like the AR-15 rifle in public spaces within the city, which authorities say was used in the Tree of Life massacre. These ordinances also banned unlawful use of armor-piercing ammunition and high-capacity magazines, and also prohibited the use of firearms by people judicially determined to be a danger to themselves or others.

On October 29, 2019, a Trial Court struck down these restrictions, ruling that the Pennsylvania General Assembly has preempted the field of gun regulation thereby precluding the City’s ability to enact reasonable gun regulations.   

“The City of Pittsburgh faces a disproportionate amount of gun violence measured against the rest of Pennsylvania (save for the City of Philadelphia),” Manatt's petition states. “Insisting on a uniform approach to gun regulation within the state ignores these realities. The General Assembly has not expressly preempted the field of gun regulation. To imply such preemption propagates ‘serious detrimental and disparate effects’ on the citizens of Pittsburgh in violation of Article I, section 1, of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which guarantees to all of Pennsylvania’s citizens the ‘indefeasible rights’ of ‘enjoying . . . life,’ ‘possessing . . . property,’ and ‘pursuing . . . happiness.’”

The Manatt team included partners Andrew Morrison, Jacqueline Wolff, Benjamin Shatz and associate Ethan Roman.

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