State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe’s quixotic new quest to impeach Bill Peduto | Pittsburgh City Paper

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe’s quixotic new quest to impeach Bill Peduto

After passing Pittsburgh City Council by a vote of 6-3, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto today signed into law a suite of bills that would restrict firearm use within city limits.

“If Washington and Harrisburg refuse to recognize this is a public health emergency, and refuse to stand up to gun manufacturers, then we must take action to challenge laws and protect our people,” said Peduto in a press release.

Peduto’s signature led to a swift attack from his critics on Twitter and a lawsuit from the National Rifle Association. But the strongest criticism came from state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Cranberry).

Metcalfe shared on social media that he was drafting legislation to have Peduto impeached as a result of his “illegal gun ordinances.”

Peduto responded on Twitter by listing a series of bills that Metcalfe has supported over the years, that failed to become law, indicating that Metcalfe’s impeachment legislation would also fail.

The bills, which include banning assault-style guns, the use of high-capacity ammunition, and orders that would temporarily take firearms away from those shown to be a danger to themselves or others, could face legal trouble thanks to Pennsylvania state preemption rules.

However, impeaching Peduto looks to be politically and legislatively impossible. According to the state constitution, the state House would have to vote to remove the mayor, or the governor would have to request it. Since Gov. Tom Wolf is himself supportive of stricter gun laws, it’s unlikely he would support removing Peduto. Even if the state House were to pass an impeachment bill, two-thirds of the state Senate would have to agree.

The state Senate is currently comprised of 22 Democrats, 26 Republicans, and two vacancies. Republicans would need to convince at least six Democrats to join them in impeaching Peduto.

According to state news site Keystone Crossroads, Pennsylvania has one of the most strict impeachment rules in the entire country. Also, many cities have guidelines in the home rule charters that lay out some reasons why a mayor should be impeached, and they don't typically include passing bills that opponents will challenge in court.

Even the legendary David Lawrence tried to de-facto impeach a Pittsburgh mayor once, but failed to gain enough support in the state Senate by one vote. Just last year, Metcalfe admitted he blocks legislation in his committee solely because it was written by Democrats. Hard to see him gaining the support of six Democratic state senators in impeaching a Democratic mayor in Peduto.

And as Young Democrats of Allegheny County president Jessica Semler points out on Twitter, even if the implausible happened and Peduto was impeached, the line of succession would fall to Pittsburgh City Council President Bruce Kraus (D-South Side), who is also supportive of the gun-restriction bills. Not to mention that Metcalfe, who is outspokenly anti-LGBTQ, would essentially be facilitating that Pittsburgh has its first openly gay mayor in Kraus.

Dan Smith Jr., who challenged Metcalfe for his state House seat in 2018, wrote a tweet criticizing Metcalfe for not focusing on issues that affect his constituents in Butler County. Smith, who is running for Butler County Prothonotary this year, ran his 2018 campaign promising to bring in state funds to help address infrastructure concerns in the area.