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Prosecutor: Pittsburgh lacks authority to regulate guns

January 15, 2019
Protestors carrying rifles walk up the steps for a rally at the City County building on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Pittsburgh. The protesters, many openly carrying guns, gathered in downtown Pittsburgh to rally against the city council's proposed restrictions and banning of semi-automatic rifles, certain ammunition and firearms accessories within city limits. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A prosecutor is telling Pittsburgh’s city council that it lacks the authority to pass proposed restrictions on some firearms and ammunition.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala says in a letter to a councilman, dated Jan. 9, says he understands the effort to curtail gun violence, but believes the proposed legislation would be unconstitutional.

The bills would ban semi-automatic rifles and certain ammunition and firearms accessories within city limits.

City Council introduced the bills last month in the wake of the October massacre at Tree of Life synagogue, where 11 worshippers were killed.

The gunman shot his victims with an AR-15 — the weapon used in many of the nation’s mass shootings — and three handguns.

Zappala says the restrictions would need to come from the state legislature.

State law prohibits municipalities from regulating firearms.

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