Activist On Pittsburgh Gun Laws: ‘Very Little Difference Between Them And The Killer At The Synagogue’

Kim Stolfer of Firearms Owners Against Crime made the statement in response to proposed action from Pittsburgh's city council.

The Tree of Life synagogue
Jeff Swensen / Getty Images

Kim Stolfer of Firearms Owners Against Crime made the statement in response to proposed action from Pittsburgh's city council.

About two months after the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the city of Pittsburgh is considering measures to help prevent future tragedies like it. And an area gun activist has made some eye-opening comments in response, comparing the backers of the proposed legislation to the Pittsburgh shooter himself.

“The ordinances that the city of Pittsburgh is contemplating are illegal, and the city should know this because we beat them in 1994 and we’re going to beat them again,” Kim Stolfer, president of Firearms Owners Against Crime, told TV station WTAE. “The fact is, what the city’s doing is illegal and there’s very little difference between them and the killer at the synagogue except for a matter of degree. They’re both criminals.”

Pennsylvania Democrats responded on Twitter by calling on Republicans to denounce Stolfer for the comments. Per a tweet asking for a follow-up by reporter Julian Routh, Stolfer didn’t back down.

“I’m not only standing by [my statement], but we’re going to make sure if they pass [the bill], they’re going to find out how bad it really is. They’re committing misdemeanor 1 crimes.”

When the legislation was first in the works last month, Stolfer threatened a court challenge to any new gun restrictions in Pittsburgh, per CBS.

The proposed Pittsburgh ordinances, which are backed by both Mayor Bill Peduto and Gov. Tom Wolf, include a ban on assault weapons in the city, a “ban on specified firearm accessories, ammunition, and modifications,” and one allowing for Extreme Risk Protection Orders “to provide for appropriate injunctive actions for the preservation of public safety in extreme circumstances.” Proponents, the TV station said, hope to pass the measures by February 14, which is the first anniversary of the Parkland school massacre in Florida.

“The only answer we’ve gotten from Washington is, ‘Nothing can be done, there’s nothing that can be done.’ That is not an answer. There are solutions that can be done,” the mayor said at a news conference this week. “What has stalled in Washington doesn’t necessarily mean that we can’t make it happen at a local level.”

The Tree of Life shooting took place on October 27 at the synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, resulting in the deaths of 11 worshippers during morning Sabbath services. The accused shooter, 46-year-old Robert Gregory Bowers, survived the shooting and was arrested; in social media postings before the shooting, he claimed he was motivated by his disapproval of the synagogue’s support of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS).