Perry County Finds Itself in Hot Water Due to Audit

There’s an interesting situation going on Perry County, Pennsylvania. Auditor Kimberly McMullen may have put the county in some hot water due in a recent interview.

First, she’s demanding permission from the County to spend $6,700 in legal fees to have lawyers research whether she’s allowed access to the confidential files of license to carry holders. (The sheriff won’t hand all of the records over because he notes that that it’s against the law to release the personal information.) The County gave her $2,000 to pursue it instead. Second, she told the media that the law supposedly changed last year and that she would have had access before that “change.”

Well, attorney Josh Prince is doing the taxpayers of Perry County a favor and helping them save $2,000 on legal research. He sent a letter to the auditor making clear that the license to carry applicant information is not to be released to her.

However, McMullen’s claims that the records were available in previous years caught Prince’s attention since he noted that the section of law he cited hasn’t changed since 1997. Oops. McMullen may be regretting that claim since Prince included this little gem in the letter:

Thus, the confidentiality of firearms license information is nothing new and the County and its respective Departments, employees and agents are liable for any disclosures that have occurred. Based on your statement to reporter Sean Sauro that prior to a year ago, all this information was available via right-to-know law requests, I am requesting all information on previous LTCF applicant disclosures by the County and its respective Departments, employees and agents.

So, sorry Perry County taxpayers. Because your auditor doesn’t know the law, now you have to spend resources going through all paperwork to see if the confidential information has ever been released before. Oops.

A Useful Alternative to Firearm Freedom Acts?

With a lot of states passing what are essentially meaningless laws “nullifying” federal gun laws, or new federal gun laws, that are essentially symbolic acts with little meaning, why not look at passing something that actually might have meaning? I had an idea that perhaps we should encourage states to pass laws refusing extradition or warrant service on gun charges that would not also constitute a violation of federal law? In other words, if someone has a SAFE act warrant out on them, or they get pinched in New Jersey for, say, having a paperwork problem with an FOID card, no authority in the other state can act on the warrant, and no extradition is to be permitted?

Can anyone think of any reason why this wouldn’t work? You essentially cover the felon-in-possession issue with the federal law clause, so if someone has a gun charge in another state because he’s a prohibited person, the extradition could proceed in that case, but not in the case where the person was otherwise law abiding. I can think of several conditions that would satisfy people worrying about criminals getting away.

No extradition is to be granted, and no arrest or search warrant is to be executed for any person under jurisdiction of this state, by any authority of this state, for any criminal charge or civil proceeding relating to possession, carrying, transporting, transfer,  sale, or manufacture of firearms, ammunition, firearms accessories or ammunition components, provided that such possession, carrying, transporting, transfer,  sale, or manufacture of firearms, ammunition, firearms accessories or ammunition components:

  1. Does not violate of federal law.
  2. Would be lawful under the laws of this state.
  3. Were not used in the commission of a separate felony or misdemeanor, unrelated to possession, carrying, transporting, transfer,  sale, or manufacture of firearms, ammunition, firearms accessories or ammunition components, under the laws of this state or the foreign state.

Any state agent found to have facilitated an extradition, arrest or search in violation of this law shall be fined not more than $10,000

Am I missing anything?

Epic Screw-Up by Bloomberg?

I’ll be the first to say that “Everytown for Gun Safety” is about the dumbest name I’ve heard for a new gun control group. What do you shorten it to? ETGS? EGS? Who doesn’t like EGS with their bacon in the morning? Though, to be fair to Bloomberg’s organizations, they’ve pretty much run the gauntlet with names. Americans for Gun Safety has been tried and failed. You wouldn’t want that dead fish stinking up the place, even if you could convince Third Way to part with it (not like they are currently doing anything with it). But there’s a lot of thought that goes into a name, which is why I’m surprised that it would seem that Bloomberg failed to secure all his social media space before announcing Everytown for Gun Safety to the world. Clearly that’s not a Bloomberg generated page.

UPDATE: Now there’s one for Pennsylvania too. Is there one for your state? It’s true that they’ll be able to boot these pages once their trademarks are in order, but I don’t see any reason not to make them work for it. Let’s make Bloomy burn through that 50 mil!

UPDATE: It’s made Buzzfeed.

UPDATE: More from John Richardson.

Registration of “Rurales” in Mexico

West Side Late Shift takes a look at a new demand from the Mexican central government to register “rurales,” which I think is Spanish for “cousin humping redneck.” According to West Wide Late Shift, these groups “have banded together to resist the abuses of a cartel in their state.” Given the level of corruption in the Mexican government, there’s no way in hell I’d comply with something like this, considering the likelihood the right bribe to the right official could probably get the list, and all the people on it. If their government could help them, they’d have helped them. The whole need to form into citizen militias in the first place is because the government has failed them. They are failing them again if they insist on disarming them. I get the concern in weeding out criminals from the militias, but the solution is not to make everyone equally helpless.

SAFE Act Upheld In Sloppy Lawsuit

Last week a judge of the New York Supreme Court held that the SAFE act was constitutional. This danger hit the news last year when both Schultz and NYSRPA were filing their suits against SAFE. It was run by a pro-se plaintiff who enjoys filing lawsuits for what he views as constitutional violations. These people are the greatest threats to our Second Amendment rights out there; even more than the anti-gunners. Robert Schultz quite possibly just lost for New Yorker’s any substantive right which they can claim against SAFE. The New York Rifle and Pistol Association suit is still in play, but existing bad precedent greatly complicates matters. You can read the opinion here:

The complaint and memoranda submitted by plaintiffs are unclear as to other bases for challenging the SAFE Act. For instance, in the complaint plaintiffs allege that the Safe Act arguably infringes on rights protected by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and Civil Rights Law §4. Plaintiffs also assert that the statute arguably infringes on rights guaranteed by New York Constitution ArticleXII. However, Legislative enactments enjoy a strong presumption of constitutionality and while the presumption is rebuttable any invalidity must be demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt (Matter of McGee v Korman, 70 NY2d 225,231 [1987]). Here, plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate in what manner the SAFE Act infringes upon their asserted rights.

In other words, he failed to make his case. These things are really left up to professionals and experts, and not rank amateurs out to make a name for themselves or to stroke their own egos. I’m normally very amiable towards amateurs, but this the practice of law is not one of those cases.

Wednesday News Links

I have quite a lot of stuff today, so let’s get to it:

From Ann Althouse, who notes Dick Morris saying that Janet Reno threatened to spill the beans on Waco if Clinton fired her.

The medical profession would seem to persist in the notion that guns are a public health issue about which their profession should do something about. Maybe we need to start making lists of gun friendly doctors so we can avoid the insufferable busybodies. More here from the Daily Caller.

Holder wants your tax dollars to fund smart gun research.

Hey, did you know we legalized short barreled rifles in a deep blue state? You still have to comply with the National Firearms Act, but this shows it’s not just red states we’re on the move in.

Like a layer cake of fail. To be fair, a lot of CC people are prone to poor carry choices as well, but they aren’t advertising them to the world to be mocked. The original telegraph article is here.

Why you should be sympathetic to Cliven Bundy. Meanwhile, Slate plays right for ginning up a racial argument for something that has nothing to do with race.

Glenn Reynolds has a new law review article out, “The Second Amendment as Ordinary Constitutional Law.”

The assault weapons rebellion. What if there were an assault weapons law, and no one complied? Gun owners in these states really shouldn’t avoid jury duty in these states. Get on there and acquit your fellow gun owners. If authorities won’t prosecute cases because they can’t get convictions from juries, it doesn’t really matter what the law says.

Clayton Cramer has to be risking carpel tunnels this past few weeks with a review of “This Nonviolence Stuff’l Get You Killed,”  a review of Stephen Halberook’s “Gun Control in the Third Reich,” and a dismantling of Justice Stevens flexible history when it comes to his views on the Second Amendment.

Also, another mass stabbing. Five dead. Maybe mass killers have figured the mass shooting has jumped the shark, and can’t garner the media frenzy it used to.

NRA has endorsed Mitch McConnell in the GOP primary. This will no doubt upset a lot of tea party folks, but NRA has a long standing policy of endorsing friendly incumbents over friendly challengers, and for good reason.

The New Jersey GOP is way behind when it comes to the gun issue. Several years ago I was speaking with a higher-up person in the New Jersey GOP who agreed that they had not done enough to cultivate this voting constituency, but nothing seems to change.

How to estimate Pi using a shot pattern. It’s actually Monte-Carlo sampling.

Looks like the politicians in Chicago are learning from big city pols in other preempted states, that you can shift blame for your failures by blaming the weak gun laws, which you obviously can’t do anything about. Previously, they blamed laws in the ‘burbs, or in other states.

Looks like cultural condescendence towards gun owners extends to the hispanic-left as well.

SayUncle notes that the media is always quick to blame right-wingers for mass shootings, and go all quiet like when it turns out to be a Democrat with ties to the KKK.

Growing pains among New York’s pro-gun community. I wouldn’t classify it as growing pains. It’s a sign of life. In any state with a healthy gun rights movement there are many competing egos. It’s often not helpful at all, but it’s like the rain. Not much you can do about it.

A new SAFE compliant semi-auto rifle. I like this a lot more than the Fugly AR abomination. Looks like they probably put the recoil spring along the gas system, similar to the LR-300. This eliminates the need for a buffer tube.

Off topic:

Uncle Sam reviving the feudal practice of collecting debs from next of kin. The feds continue to piss away their legitimacy.

Instapundit on establishment criticism of Rand Paul: “If you criticize GOP candidates more harshly than you’re criticizing Democrats, you’re doing it wrong.” “Doing it Wrong” could be the GOP byline for this past decade.

Five police officers found lying, and why it is so rare.

You Have to Take the “Special” out of SWAT

Bob Owens covers the NBC News story showing that Boston cops were over gunned and undertrained in the aftermath of the Boston Bombing. I think it’s very psychologically bad to make police feel separate from the civilian population they are actually a part of. The S in SWAT stands for “Special,” and I tend to think when you hand young men “special” weapons, without the rigor of military discipline to control those young men, you’re bound to get a lot of little napoleons and wannabes. When that same young man hears, “yeah, I have five of those” from his “civvie” shooting buddies upon presenting his shiny department issued AR, that perpetuates a culture where you’re nothing special, and where you might actually have a culture from which you can learn, and be more willing to learn. Massachusetts is a state that has endeavored to destroy that culture, and elevate its police to something very different from its civilian population.

Another Bloomberg Funded Umbrella Group

Say what he will about his new group, “Everytown for Gun Safety“, I think this is a sign that he knows what he’s been doing isn’t working. Also notice that we’re back to the tired and shopworn term “Gun Saftey” instead of “Gun Control,” or “Illegal Guns.” I guess Bloomie feels like that ship is salvageable after all. But given the article featuring quotes from Bloomberg is so thick with ego and narcissism that you could mortar a brick wall with it …

“I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.” – Mike Bloomberg

… I’m not surprised he thinks he can salvage the S.S. Gun Safety from the bottom of McKelvey Trench. As much as I am worried that $50 million dollars is a hell of a lot of money for our side, and seat cushion money for Bloomberg, I also think Bloomberg is an excellent enough villain to our people (and to a lot of people honestly) that I don’t worry too much about this latest restructuring of his movement. If we stay engaged, and stay focused, we can beat him. I’d much rather have Mike Bloomberg as an opponent over Jim and Sarah Brady.

It’s also worth noting that this new umbrella group plans to drop gun and magazine bans and focus exclusively on ending private transfers. Perhaps they now are starting to understand that gun bans are out of reach for them, especially if they can’t even score minor victories. In truth, even ending private transfers is likely out of their reach given what they’ve managed to motivate with their latest campaign. In classic anti-gun fashion they have overreached and awoken the sleeping giant. It will be harder for them from here than it would have been if they had played their cards right to begin with.

But $50 million is nothing to sneeze at. Especially to Pennsylvanians, who probably don’t realize we are easily the next Colorado if we lose Corbett and the Republicans get scared enough, or lose control of the House or Senate. We are likely to face the brunt of that $50 million, which is nothing to get cocky about.

What Media Bias?

When we saw a Facebook acquaintance post a story about the sheriff of Beaver County, Pennsylvania being place on house arrest with electronic monitoring while his ~700 guns are removed from the home as he awaits trial for threatening the lives of a campaign worker and a local reporter, we noticed something odd.

What was odd? There was no mention of party, nor did they make a big deal about an “arsenal” kept in the home. Sebastian told me, as I hit up Google to find any other stories about the case that might mention party affiliation since Pennsylvania’s sheriffs are elected in partisan elections, that he would put money on the fact that the guy is a Democrat. Well, one, two, three stories with no mention of party affiliation, and I started to believe him.

Then, with a few keystrokes, I found the election results page that confirmed the suspicions. George David ran as a Democrat against a GOP opponent in 2011 and now stands accused of threatening one of the campaign workers who helped him win that election. But isn’t it amazing how the party affiliation just magically dropped out of every single story written by locals and the wire?

UPDATE: A local website reports that the action that caused the order for removal of guns and house arrest is that the sheriff (allegedly) went into an area of his office he was ordered not to go, grabbed a long gun and began “racking” a long gun of some kind. According to the report, two of the alleged victims were in that part of the office the court ordered him to stay out of.

PA Superior Court: No Right to Carry

The case is Commonweath v. Scarborough. This case largely revolves around the legality of the stop, but there are issues at play that should concern any Pennsylvania gun owner.

First is whether or not there’s an equal protection issue with state law singling out Philadelphia. Pennsylvania is an open-carry state, in that you can carry a firearm openly in this commonwealth without a license, the sole exception being “cities of the first class” (i.e. Philadelphia). In Philadelphia, you may only carry a firearm (openly or concealed) if you have a License to Carry Firearms. The court rejected the equal protection issue, which would be the expected result. But they went farther, which is very concerning:

The class created by Section 6108, “persons located in Philadelphia,” is not based on race, national origin, sex, or illegitimacy. The right at issue under Section 6106, “the right to carry a concealed weapon,” and the right at issue under Section 6108, “the right to carry a firearm on the streets of Philadelphia without a license,” are not fundamental rights. They manifestly do not rise to the protection afforded by the Second Amendment’s general guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms.

They could have, actually, cited existing Third Circuit precent that there is no right to bear arms outside the home. That was decided in the case of Drake v. Filko, which challenged New Jersey’s restrictive permitting scheme. That is now on appeal to the US Supreme Court. So federally, there is no right to carry a firearm in Pennsylvania outside the home, because of a grave error made by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. As Alan Gura mentioned in his law review article:

The Third Circuit supplied a great example of how far off the rails a “step one” analysis may veer when history is given short shrift.  Upholding New Jersey’s requirement that handgun carry applicants demonstrate “justifiable need” to exercise their Second Amendment rights, a panel majority held that carrying a handgun for self-defense “fall[s] outside the scope of the Second Amendment’s guarantee.” Even though Heller had expressly held that to “bear arms,” as used in the Second Amendment, is to “carry” arms for the purpose of self-defense in case of confrontation, the Third Circuit rejected an appeal to “text, history, tradition, and precedent,” stating that “we are not inclined to address this contention [that the Second Amendment guarantees a right to publicly carry arms for defense] by engaging in a round of full-blown historical analysis.”

And now we have PA Superior Court giving the right to bear arms the same short shrift. Our Supreme Court has generally been more amenable to the right to keep and bear arms, but only barely so. It may be the case that the state may require a license; our side has generally conceded that when confronting restrictive licensing regimes in court, but that’s quite different than suggesting there’s no right at all, or that such a right is not “fundamental,” when that was the holding of our federal Supreme Court.

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