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Oct 8, 2014
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.
Oct 6, 2014
John Richardson has a great post outlining his research on a North Carolina judicial candidate whose name sounded a little familiar. It turns out that it’s because of his anti-gun statements in legal proceedings during his previous jobs.
Being an informed voter is vital to protecting your rights. For a quick guide, NRA has already released at least some of their grades for this year.
In Pennsylvania, we’re still waiting on some votes to take place on preemption (though it did just pass the House for the last time today, now it goes to the Senate), so we only have Congressional grades at this point.
Oct 3, 2014
In this profile of planned gun control group election spending, there’s a key nugget of information quite relevant for the gun control crowd:
The subject barely registers in polling that shows voters far more focused on the economy and terrorism. This week’s Associated Press-GfK poll showed less than 1 percent of likely voters named guns as the nation’s top issue — a view that many House and Senate contests reflect.
It’s not completely surprising given headlines that make it appear like the new normal includes workplace beheadings and organ-liquifying diseases around the country.
That said, that also means our people also aren’t that engaged on the political front, or they are more motivated by other issues than guns. If something else is pissing them off to get engaged for our candidates, that’s still great. Though, if that description fits you, make sure campaigns and politicians know that you’re also motivated by gun rights. Telling a campaign coordinator that you’re motivated by Second Amendment issues goes much father than telling a pollster.
Sep 30, 2014
Speaking of reaching out to more women, this is one of the first ads I’ve seen from NRA that really tries to hit at female voters.
It’s message is much closer to that of other female-centered general political advertising. It’s personal and has a specific story, which is a refreshing change from many of the ads running from the NRA commentators which are general “the world sucks and the sky is falling” kind of themes.
The fact is that advertising like this is much easier to identify with, even if someone has never been in that situation. A similar humanizing ad from Sen. Mitch McConnell is getting attention specifically because of how much it makes him seem like a real human instead of just some robot in Washington.
Just like a candidate isn’t likely to jump all over a sexual assault victim, they aren’t likely going to try and attack this woman who obviously believes that McConnell was key to her daughter’s return. These are ads that make lower information voters feel good and make them think, “Yeah, I can identify with that person if I was ever in that situation. If I can identify with them, then maybe I should consider the candidate they are backing.”
The only concern I have about NRA’s ad is that it may be assuming too much in that lower information voters have any idea who Bloomberg is backing. He’s a great guy to demonize because few people like wealthy billionaires who haven’t lived their lives telling them what to do, but that doesn’t mean they know which candidates he’s backing or exactly how he’s involved in their local races. It would be most effective if the ad was shared by local folks along with a message of which area candidates are anti-Bloomberg. Maybe that’s what we’ll see happen. With about an hour on Facebook, it’s already nearing 700 shares.
Sep 25, 2014
Eric Holder has announced he’s stepping down as Attorney General. The best prediction of the next happenings at the Department of Justice was found on Twitter:
Sep 24, 2014
According to attorney Evan Nappen, the Atlantic County Prosecutor has suddenly decided that Shaneen Allen is now eligible for the pre-trial diversion program. It would seem he has decided that she is no longer a bigger danger to society than Ray Rice.
UPDATE: Here’s the story in the press.
Sep 24, 2014
The Express-Times in Lehigh Valley area decided to attack those concerned about potential constitutional violations in an op-ed, saying that those who have had their rights violated and want to stand up for them are merely “opportunistic” and too concerned with themselves to put up with a “temporary intrusion” that has lasted at least a week.
They even highlight a quote from the Pennsylvania State Police’s PR guy that assures us that not all people are completely cut off from their homes. Citizens can trust that if the police think you actually have a good reason to go to your home, then they will be the ones to decide if/when you get access, and only under escort if they like your reasons for wanting to go home.
So, I’d like to know how the Express-Times staff would react to the news that the state police argue that their coverage of the events is helping the suspect evade law enforcement. Sure, they have no actual evidence that the suspect has access to their papers, but it’s a possibility that he might be in the area and using the resources to evade them – like he might possibly be hiding out in every single car in the area or every home in the area.
Therefore, the police ask that the Express-Times stop publishing their paper during this “temporary intrusion” and that any efforts to argue that they have a First Amendment right that must be respected is a case of them being “opportunistic” and overly greedy with their Constitution rights claims.
Some public relations officer will remind their editors that they aren’t really blocking all access to their publishing equipment – because if the police determine there’s any message worth hearing, then they will provide an armed escort to any reporter or editor they hand select to supervise their limited visit to the printer.
I find it hard to believe that the Express-Times staff wouldn’t be on the phone to lawyers trying to argue for their Constitutional rights. Why are they condemning anyone else who is concerned that in specific instances, perhaps law enforcement have gone too far and actually crossed the line into violating someone’s rights?
According to another report on the situation, attorney Josh Prince has already talked to someone who was forced out of their home, despite having three dogs there, and has been refused access to care for them since Sunday. It was Tuesday when that story was posted. The New York Times found a man who was thrown to the ground and detained in handcuffs just for going to his own home.
Regardless of what the public relations officer is telling the media, it’s clear that there are reports from those forced to leave that the police are keeping people away from their homes. If they aren’t keeping them away from their homes, it’s clear that at least some officers have gotten a little too quick to act against local citizens. Any lawyer who is helping someone understand their rights – and whether or not they have been violated – should be applauded.
Sep 24, 2014
There were dueling amendments proposed in the Pennsylvania House this week, and yesterday afternoon, the votes came down.
Gun owners should definitely say a word of thanks to the state representatives who voted to support pre-emption reforms and thanks to those who voted against the Bloomberg-backed effort to add more restrictions (and expenses) to long gun sales. In fact, an election year is a great time to remind our lawmakers that we’re watching their votes. Even better, if they voted with us on the bills, track down their campaign and get a yard sign or volunteer to lend a hand. That’s a huge thank you that will be remembered.
NRA is asking folks to pester their senators about getting this bill moving in the Pennsylvania Senate.
Sep 23, 2014
It seems that as long as you have the right political views, you can break gun laws and get a slap on the wrist. If you don’t, you’ll end up facing serious charges and years in prison.
Compare these two situations:
1) In New York, an activist who promoted the SAFE Act that made carrying a gun on school property a felony even if the person has a license to carry, decided to carry his gun to a school after the gun control law took effect.
When the school was raided by SWAT officers and went on lockdown for a call about a man with a gun in the building, Dwayne Ferguson did not disclose that he had his gun. It was only when officers started patting down every person in the school did they find his gun. The school noted in their statement that he had an opportunity to disclose his possession to officers, and he chose not to do so, forcing everyone else to face a search.
For his refusal to disclose his accidentally carried, and otherwise licensed, firearm into a prohibited place, Ferguson’s charges were dropped from felonies and he received community service with a conditional discharge.
2) In New Jersey, a single mother from Philadelphia crossed a bridge with her license to carry a gun issued by Pennsylvania thinking that it applied across the border. It did not. When she was pulled over for a vaguely state violation, she willfully disclosed to the officer that she was a licensed gun owner.
For her cooperative attitude during her accidental carry situation, he had her arrested and the prosecutor considers her, as an otherwise lawful gun owner, such a danger to the community that he refuses to even consider the idea of a diversion program because it would mean she would not be put behind bars for years.
It would appear that having the right political views can go a long way in convincing a prosecutor not to press charges in these gun control cases.
Sep 22, 2014
I can’t tell you how much I loved seeing a post from Pennsylvania attorney Josh Prince asking anyone in Pike and Monroe Counties to contact him if their rights have been violated based on an article linked here earlier today. I would love to see more people considering legal challenges to behavior like this from law enforcement when they cross the line and violate someone’s rights.
UPDATE: And, he actually provides tips on how to document everything regarding the violation of rights that one would need to create a good case.
Also, check the comments of both posts and note the people who are horrified at the idea that some lawyer is trying to let people know what to do to prepare a legal case if their rights are violated. They don’t understand why anyone has an issue with rights being violated as long as they are told someone is keeping them “safe.”