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Quarantine Power

This is a bit off topic, but news is slow on the gun front today. I ran out of energy for arguing over what libertarianism is and isn’t in my late 30s, but for the sake of a conversation starter, I thought I ask the question of whether a mandatory quarantine is compatible with libertarian principles, however you want to define them.

I suppose some would argue that a quarantine violates the non-aggression principle. Others would probably argue that spreading a disease to someone is initiation of force, and so the state is justified in preventing it. But really, there’s only a risk if you go out in public that you’ll spread a disease. What level of risk constitutes aggression?

These days I’ve learned to like Prof. Randy Barnett’s argument that having a theory of the state police power is important. Under that idea, quarantine would typically fall under a traditional police power the states have held. However, since the federal government lacks a police power, it’s only quarantine powers would be related to international travel, and interstate movements. Some would argue, I believe convincingly, that if you’re a dedicated originalist, the federal government probably has no quarantine power at all, since the Constitution only gives Congress the power to control naturalization of persons, and not their movement.

Discuss.

The PA Supreme Court Controversy

Ace has a pretty decent write-up on the controversy on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court surrounding Justice Seamus McCaffery, who got in trouble for sending around raunchy e-mails on state computers. Apparently Justice McCaffery and the Chief Justice Castille don’t get along too well with each other. At the end, Ace notes:

Philadelphia Magazine says the war is partly about the power to supervise all of Pennsylvania’s state courts — power Castille doesn’t trust McCaffery with.

I don’t really have much of an opinion on the controversy, and perhaps Chief Justice Castille has legitimate reasons to be worried about Justice McCaffery. But I should note there’s a gun angle to this, in that Justice McCaffery is friendly to the Second Amendment, and Chief Justice Castille, a former Philadelphia District Attorney, has not been.

Supreme Court justices are elected in Pennsylvania, and McCaffery has carried an NRA Endorsement, and has spoken NRA Annual Firearms Law Seminar. I thought his talks were entertaining and funny, as Supreme Court justice presentations go.

Educating Our Opponents

It would appear that Pennsylvania gun owners may need to work a little harder to educate our opponents.

I don’t mean that we need to educate them on how firearms actually work or on the historical lessons of the Second Amendment – they’ll never listen to those messages.

What our opponents need is a return to elementary school spelling classes, perhaps with a mix of middle school civics to supplement their lessons.


This tweet, with the creative spelling of amendment, went out to at least 26 Senators. I get that typos happen (don’t even get me started on how many people I see who add an extra ‘m’ to the word), but in a call to action tweet sent from a professionally staffed organization to over one half of the members of a legislative body, that’s a pretty sad mistake.

I hope that people on our side of the issue will remember to double check your tweets and messages before you start writing to lawmakers.

Washington Ballot Initiative Fight Phone Banks

The Brady Campaign has started a system of organizing phone banks from across the country to get people out to vote in the Washington ballot initiative fight.

BradyPhoneBank

This is the kind of election work that so very few of our people are willing to do. It is unfortunate because, as annoying as those phone calls can be, the personal calls are among the best way to encourage someone to get out to vote and to find out if someone already has voted or plans to vote.*

This is the period before an election where the grassroots becomes vital. If you’re a Washington gun owner and you want to stand any chance of beating the cash Bloomberg, Gates, and Ballmer are throwing obscene amounts of money at this gun control initiative, you have to be working hard to inspire other gun owners to show up and vote your way.

In 1976, Massachusetts gun owners defeated a ballot initiative through tough grassroots work. Gun owners bothered to show up (about 18,000 of them) to county-wide meetings. Of those, about 2,000 became active volunteers. They spent Election Day standing outside of polls with literature and signs. They spoke out in their communities. These last few days are the days to pull votes away with a campaign to inform the people who only pay attention to the ballot in the last couple of weeks.

I know when I posted about this type of grassroots work before, people complained that they weren’t involved because they didn’t see anything personally. Well, go look for it. NRA’s involvement (and I know there’s more on the ground, too) has been highlighted on a Facebook page with local events and they put 2 full-time staffers on the ground who have been listed on their elections-related page for months. This is on top of the volunteer network that has already been in place there. The resources are there, now it’s time for local gun owners to use them if they want to stand any chance at all.

*Here’s a tip: Let a live caller know that you’ve a) already made up your mind for issues or a candidate, or b) already voted (if early voting is allowed), and you’ll end up dropped from most future call lists for that election. Phone calls are pretty much only get out the vote or know who plans to get out and vote activities. Letting either candidate know you’ve made up your mind or already cast a ballot means they don’t want to waste time on you anymore.

Possible Germaneness Issue in Preemption Bill?

Unlike the federal government, but like many other states, Pennsylvania’s constitution has a germaneness requirement for bill amendments. Article III, Section 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution states:

No bill shall be passed containing more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title, except a general appropriation bill or a bill codifying or compiling the law or a part thereof.

My concern about the addition of A10397, the preemption enhancement,  to House Bill 80 is that H.B. 80 is about metal theft. That would seem to violate the germaneness requirement. Now, I suspect, though I’m not certain, that because the Senate attached this amendment to a House Bill, that it will go to conference, and the House can strip out the metal theft language and essentially make H.B. 80 a preemption bill only. If the legislature is intent on having a metal theft bill, they can always pass it later with a different bill number, or in a different session. But I do still believe there is a way to save the preemption enhancement on the germaneness issue.

We are, however, getting really close to the election, and this also could have been a last ditch effort for lawmakers to get on record so NRA’s lobbyist will release their grades. I’m not sure what there’s time to do or not. It’s looking like Corbett is going to be toast, and I think it’s a safe bet Tom Wolf will veto the measure. But Corbett will still be able to sign as a lame duck. To me the important thing is we get this done.

BTW, the pigeon shooting ban passed the Senate 3 to 1. NRA is opposing the pigeon shooting ban, but I personally think they are fighting a losing battle on that topic. Wayne Pacelle, head of the phoney-baloney Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), is no doubt pleased, even if it still has an uphill climb in the House. If you think those people are going to stop with pigeon shooting, you’re a fool. HSUS is an anti-hunting group, and any victory they get is a step closer to their goal of ending hunting. Unlike the anti-gun groups, they are very well funded, and have a highly motivated, rabid, and broad base of grassroots activists. That’s one reason I believe that, long term, hunting in the United States is probably doomed if trends among hunters keeps going the way it’s going. The time to stop arguing about what hunting is, and stand together, was yesterday.

PA Senate Finally Votes on Guns

If you’re a Pennsylvania gun owner, you can blame your state senator for the lack of action on pro-gun bills in this state. (Well, unless you live in Sen. Rich Alloway‘s district since he’s the only one willing to actually show any leadership.) If you live in the Philly suburbs under Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, you can definitely blame him for doing his best to make sure that pro-gun bills don’t see the light of day in the Judiciary Committee.

However, last night, Sen. Alloway finally got a vote on the preemption bill as an amendment straight from the floor. (Oddly, if you look at NRA’s latest alert – and even an email I got from a staffer this morning – they say that no vote happened. It’s time to update the website, folks!) Preemption passed the Senate on a 2-1 vote in our favor! Or, at least it passed the first vote to be added to a bill. Now that bill needs to pass.

Now, just to seal up his credentials as going farther anti-gun, Sen. Greenleaf, who used to vote for gun owners many years ago, turned on us again in the vote. I guess bypassing his authority over Judiciary really pisses him off.

If you listen to the anti-gunners, the sky is falling. The ability to hold cities passing illegal gun control laws responsible in the courts is the worst thing ever. They are appalled that NRA members may be able to sue a city and the city might have to pay for the lawsuit if they lose because they were caught violating state laws. Accountability – the horrors!

This fight is clearly upsetting the anti-gun groups, too. One piece of literature they handed out tried to associate Pennsylvania NRA members with members of the KKK.

There’s still a few more steps for this bill to pass, but at least gun owners now have a vote from their Senators on these big issues.

Pennsylvania gun owners, if you wouldn’t mind, take a minute to drop a thank you message to Sen. Alloway. He’s actually a really nice guy, and he works incredibly hard for our rights while the rest of the Senate GOP is happy to sit back and hope you don’t notice that they aren’t actually doing anything to protect your rights. Here’s his website contact form, his Facebook page, and his Twitter profile.

State Rep Trades Gun Fire with Robber

During an attempted armed robbery on the streets of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania State Rep. Marty Flynn apparently pulled out his own gun and fired at the criminals.

Interestingly, Rep. Flynn refused to return an NRA questionnaire in 2012, so he was rated ?. On the only votes we’ve had recently, he did vote for strengthening preemption in HB 1243. He also voted against the private sale on long guns amendment.

Attacking I-594: WA State’s Phony “Background Check” Initiative

There’s a long way to go, but I-594, the Washington State initiative than would ban private transfers, even handing a gun to someone else on a private range, for instance, to teach them to shoot, is losing public support. These next few weeks will be critical for reaching low information voters. Without reaching those people, we don’t stand of a chance of winning. Both sides will be vying for their votes. Hopefully this ad will help:

I used to hate class warfare until certain classes started to think they were entitled to rule. I think the jab at Seattle billionaires who are backing this measure will resonate.

Boosting Pro-2A Candidates without Mentioning Guns

This weekend, I was tied up helping out a solidly pro-gun candidate here in Pennsylvania. He happens to be an area state representative, and he knows both Sebastian and I are vocal advocates of the Second Amendment. As a Republican with a female challenger and the whole “War on Women” theme that’s used against all GOPers nationally, I lined him up as a speaker at my local women’s group meeting.

He earned several votes there according to what women told me later. He also connected with several women who are active in other groups and want to talk more about the topics he handles. He inspired women who don’t live in his district to want to help him out so he stays in office. He left a mark with a large group of women who vote, who participate in civic life in many areas of the community, and who will help spread the word to other voters about what a great guy he is to have in the office.

Yet, not once did he utter anything about his campaign. Not once did he say anything about guns. Not once did he even get into any form of politics. He earned those votes and positive associations just because he has other areas of expertise in his work with the community that were the highlights of his talk.

So, this is just a handy reminder that sometimes a candidate doesn’t have to walk around screaming “shall not be infringed” at every event. The lawmaker knows who lined up the invitation for him, and he knows the issues I care about that make me want to get his name out there in front of voters. If he had mentioned guns, I would have been mortified because it would have been so out of place in the context and wouldn’t have been the best way for him to take advantage of the type of audience he had in front of him. Not every voter needs to hear the same message that you do, and this was a great chance for me to offer up a resource for a different kind of message to different types of voters.

It’s also a reminder that even if you’re not the kind to go knock on doors and make phone calls, there are other ways you can boost a candidate’s name recognition. Are you a member of any kind of community group that has a need for speakers? Do you go to church and have groups there that do any kind of community service that could use a boost?

Look up the kinds of committees your lawmakers serve on or get a list of the types of community groups a candidate has served with to get an idea of their “expertise” topics that aren’t just guns. If you can’t find a common thread, then think any group you’re part of that might warrant some kind of proclamation that the lawmaker can secure and read/publicize that announcement. See how you can help them out in these more creative ways.

Pennsylvania Preemption & Pigeons

I like alliteration, and it seems that the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee might, too. Word has been spreading that the Committee might actually meet to move a pro-gun bill today. Of course, it comes with a word of warning that they might try to move the pigeon shooting ban out, too.

The Senate GOP has been the blockade to pretty much everything in Pennsylvania the last few years. On the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Stewart Greenleaf, has an ever worsening NRA grade as he constantly blocks pro-gun bills with opening doors to poison pill amendments. If you believe in free market wine, you can thank Chuck McIlhinney for blocking privatization.

I’ll be honest, even with an election year, I didn’t think that preemption had any chance to move at all in the Senate given how much they have gotten in the way of other reforms on our issue and others in the last couple of years. This is great news, and I’ll be calling my non-Judiciary Committee senator to let him know that if he wants my help this year, there better be a vote. I know my senator needs visible support from women based on the ads he’s running. I’m going to let him know that I’m happy to help, but only if there’s a vote and he votes for stronger preemption. Play the cards you’ve got – and helping a campaign is something everyone can do.

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