Pittsburgh vs. the NRA

Written by Susan Mannella on .

Tony Norman

So, the National Rifle Association is suing the city of Pittsburgh for having the temerity to compel gun owners to report lost or stolen guns to police within 24 hours. The law has been on the books for four months, but it has yet to be enforced. Predictably, the NRA insists that yet another common sense ordinance "severely restricts and/or infringes" on a gun owner’s rights. The NRA doesn’t even bother to state how informing police that a weapon has been lost or stolen from a gun owner endangers the gun owner’s rights. The NRA doesn’t even argue that a gun owner’s rights should be absolute at all times --- it simply assumes that everyone understands and accepts this as gospel.

Citing Pennsylvania law, the NRA also insists that municipalities in this state have no right to regulate gun ownership, gun possession or transportation of firearms. In other words, the majority of non-gun owners in Pennsylvania have no rights that gun owners are compelled to respect.

Passions about guns, both pro and con run deep here. Personally, I think that most gun owners are law-abiding citizens, but the zeal for asserting the supremacy of gun rights over every other community value is closer to a totalitarian religion than wise democratic practice.

To their credit, City Council President Doug Shields and City Councilman Bruce Kraus, the author of the legislation, have vowed to fight for the ordinance. Mayor Ravenstahl is content to stand on the sidelines saying "I told you so" and reminding anyone who will listen that he considered the law unenforceable from the beginning, but allowed it to go forward and become law without his signature. Well, that’s leadership for you.

Should every area of life be subservient to the interest of gun owners and one powerful lobby? Is this really what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they constructed the Second Amendment?


Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.