Currently Browsing: Pennsylvania
Apr 21, 2015
It seems that Mike Bloomberg’s gun control cash can’t buy PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s way out of more legal drama.
Kane is being sued by a former agent from her office because he says she fabricated a story about him, claiming that he says his sting was only targeting black people. He claims that he never said that, and he says it seriously harmed his reputation as an investigator. He even took a polygraph test that he says he passed.
In fact, the story highlights that Kane claims she had a sworn statement by the agent’s boss that the agent suing her did say it. The problem is that there was no sworn statement. There was an unsworn statement (aka no legal accountability if they prove the boss lied) written more than a year after the supposed racial comment. To top that off, it was only written after Kane made her public claim. In other words, Kane made the claim that the agent with 20 years on the job made a statement. Then, four days after she issued the public attack, the agent’s boss magically writes up a statement fitting the narrative Kane told the media.
This woman is not just incompetent, she belongs in jail. It seems a grand jury agrees with me on the issue of criminal charges in another matter. Even the outlets that endorsed her think it’s time for her to get out of the office. Of course, I’m surprised she hasn’t put a fat target on the media since she already hinted she would sue them for reporting on her many ethical problems.
Remember folks, this woman won partly due to the huge financial investment made by Mike Bloomberg specifically because her views on gun control. She has repeatedly screwed with our reciprocity agreements, and she started lobbying against federal pro-gun bills before she even took office. But, hey, all those voters in the traditionally Republican parts of Pennsylvania felt like a vote for her was a vote for Penn State. No, it was a vote for corruption and abuse that not even the Philadelphia media can tolerate.
Apr 17, 2015
Yesterday, a Pennsylvania Court heard the case challenging the constitutionality of Act 192, the enhanced preemption law. Pennsylvania’s constitution has a single subject requirement for bills, and the preemption enhancement was attached to a bill about metal theft.
Even if this law is invalidated, preemption still remains the law of the land, and Act 192 still has done a lot of heavy lifting in getting municipalities to repeal illegal ordinances. Even if the act is ruled unconstitutional, it has been a major setback for Bloomberg to bet set so far back in his campaign to end preemption in Pennsylvania.
Apr 3, 2015
Not even Bloomberg’s riches could cushion Kathleen Kane’s fall from grace. The Philadelphia Inquirer has a scathing call for her to resign.
They highlight that it has recently come out that she personally intervened to revoke subpoenas for men with apparent ties to the mob, and then got a $25k political donation out of it. She did eventually decide that maybe she should return it, but it’s clear they assumed she should be “rewarded” for her effort derailing the corruption investigation.
As a close Clinton ally, I’m sure that we’ll soon hear the claim that this is all part of War on Women and that it’s clearly only because she’s attractive. There’s just no way that anyone could think she’s incompetent based on the fact that she’s looking at potential criminal charges for her actions in office and is now tied to two cases of stepping in to derail corruption investigations into political allies. Clearly, it’s just because she’s a woman. /sarcasm
Mar 19, 2015
If you just claim that it’s “for the children,” our new Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner (an import from Maryland) seems to argue that theft is okay – especially if you’re stealing from those who criticize you in your official role as a public servant.
Marcus Brown is facing opposition for appearing in uniform that creates the perception he graduated from the state police academy, which he did not. When a critic had signs printed pointing out that he shouldn’t wear such things that he did not earn and legally placed them on a public area, Brown apparently decided to steal them in the name of “[his] children” since their bus stop is nearby.
Now, stealing someone else’s signs from a public area is a crime. You’d think that means Brown would be apologetic for getting caught on video committing this crime, but he’s standing by his theft proudly – behind the back of the spokesperson for the Pennsylvania State Police.
I’ll be honest, if I lived out there, I’d be very tempted to have signs made up that say “Marcus Brown Stop Stealing Signs,” “Marcus Brown Stop Trying to Silence Critics,” and “Marcus Brown The First Amendment Applies in Pennsylvania, Too” and plaster them all over public areas to the degree allowed by law. There wouldn’t be a corner he could turn where he wouldn’t be reminded that Pennsylvanians value their freedom of speech and ability to speak their mind on what public officials are doing with their office.
Funny enough, the video that captures him stealing the signs in the name of “safety” for his children shows him leaving up non-critical signs in the same spot. It’s pretty clear he’s abusing the right of those who disagree with him and there is no safety issue involved. The video makes it appear that he singled out their message to be silenced based on the content critical of him and he now admits to taking the sign. Perhaps his stationary order got mixed up and he thought that being in charge of the Pennsylvania State Police was being charged with overseeing the Police State of Pennsylvania.
Mar 9, 2015
I congratulate Christine Vendel of PennLive for finally noticing something we’ve been screaming about for quite some time: that all towns claiming the sky was falling, and they needed a “lost and stolen” law to combat illegal firearms trafficking, were completely full of shit. The article acknowledges there is no enforcement, which we’ve also been blowing the whistle on to no avail.
This was never the problem our opponents claimed it to be, and now they are incredulously claiming, “It’s not measured by the number of fines. It’s measured by compliance.” So everyone who’s trafficking guns to criminals is just magically obeying the new law? This so laughably lacks credibility, it’s hard to believe they would even try to throw that turd at the wall.
This was never about stopping illegal trafficking. The goal was to weaken state preemption by pushing a non-issue that would easily pass in a number of towns. It was preemption they were after. So how did it work out for them?
The end result is Act 192, which strengthened the preemption law.
Feb 25, 2015
It would seem that the Brady Campaign staffers were making funding promises to Pennsylvania officials that they may have had no intention of keeping.
Back when Pennsylvania municipalities were regularly passing gun control ordinances, several cities only went through with the measures that violated state preemption laws because the Brady Campaign/Center promised, via MAIG and CeasefirePA representatives, to pay for the defense of those ordinances if the cities were sued.
Well, now the threat of lawsuits is looming and the Brady Campaign is telling the media that they never made such promises by claiming that the person who made the promises wasn’t really speaking for them.
While the local Fox affiliate dug up city records from Lancaster and Erie that showed they made those promises, we recalled another instance in Radnor. Except, Radnor lawmakers demanded the promise in writing. From Sebastian’s 2010 report on that meeting:
Commissioners seemed skeptical when CeaseFirePA mentioned that the Brady Campaign would pick up the tab for any lawsuits against the ordinance, and indicated they’d want it in writing. It’s my opinion the Bradys will be very reluctant to put anything into writing, so I think that’s a strategy to use going forward. Get your local politicians to demand that. If the Bradys don’t deliver, that’s another point, and it may start the politicians wondering whether the promise is worth anything.
It seems that now we have the proof that the Brady promises on this issue really were worthless.
In Lancaster, the pledge came from Max Nacheman who represented MAIG and Brady at the time and would later represent CeasefirePA. In Radnor, it appears that Commissioner Elaine Schaefer called the Brady Campaign herself and got the pledge that the group would defend the town. So the Brady Campaign is now trying to claim that the exact same promise made in at least 3 different cities via at least 2 different people, was really just some random miscommunication?
Yeah, that’s totally believable.
It would seem that town officials are now learning what we’ve been trying to tell them for years – you can’t believe the false promises the anti-gunners tell you when they are trying to get their agenda passed. They need something to call a “win,” and if your budgets take a beating due to legal expenses because they told you to do something illegal, they don’t care. It’s still a “win” for their agenda even as taxpayers lose.
Feb 19, 2015
[UPDATE: Link fixed] Pro-gun attorney Josh Prince makes a good case for it. The criminal penalty for violating preemption is not part of the new Act 192, but was an original feature of the 1974 preemption law. The problem, however, is that it would require the county district attorney to bring charges, which they’ve never been willing to do. In this case, I doubt they would. Anyone charged would likely have a decent First Amendment claim that their donation was a form of protected speech. So from the beginning there was never any enforcement mechanism for preemption, so many towns and cities through Pennsylvania just ignored it, and passed their own gun control laws anyway. While rarely enforced, if you were one of the unlucky few, it was on you to hire an attorney at your own expense, to defend against the charge and challenge ordinance in court. While this almost always resulted in victory under Pennsylvania’s preemption statute, you were out the money for court costs and attorneys fees. The legislature set out to fix this with Act 192, and at least Lancaster, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg don’t appreciate being held to account for their own illegal behavior.
Sorry fellas, you’ve been flouting the law for 40 years now. Time to pay up.
Feb 6, 2015
Wow. Just wow. One of the former city officials who backed the Bloomberg/CeasefirePA effort to enact local gun control laws said that his city needs to fight on behalf of gun control because he wants to keep the city safe for “white, wealthy individuals.”
Michael Donovan, a former member of city council who supported the lost and stolen gun law, said Allentown should be joining other prominent Pennsylvania cities in their fight against the state law.
“Allentown is the third largest city in the state,” he said. “It is claiming a renaissance for wealthy, white individuals who wish to be safe. I believe the mayor has a responsibility to join the fight against this law.”
No, I’m not kidding. The gun control ally really did say that out loud to a reporter. But, it got buried at the bottom of the story. Do you think if he was a Republican that this would be at the very bottom of the story?
Feb 5, 2015
An article in Slate is just fine with saddling gun owners with hefty legal fees to get a charge based on an unlawful ordinance thrown out, but not with making the towns pay legal fees to defend them. And the article even links to an analysis (and judgement) that the harassment laws are “unenforceable.” But the laws are still on the books, because there’s no real cost to the municipalities. To be fair to the author (though not to the headline writers) the article references a couple of real incidents where law-abiding gun owners were harmed. On the other hand, it takes uncritically and without support statements by the anti-gun side that the laws are effective, unused, and harmless.
These kinds of municipal ordinances designed to harass gun owners are primarily signalling mechanisms, intended to show that the municipality doesn’t want “those kind” of people here, and were expected to be risk-free; because they would only be used against those not able to defend themselves either in the courtroom of law or public opinion. Funny how laws violating civil rights work out that way. But now that the state is making them put up or shut up, most are folding.
It’s a bit of a shame that the enabling language had to be tacked onto a different bill, giving the deep-pocket municipalities a chance to strike down on the “germaneness” grounds. Sebastian probably has a better idea of how that’s going to fly in PA courts than I do.
Incidentally, the article claims the NRA refused requests for an interview. Good for them, there’s not a chance in the world that an interview with a Slate reporter with an axe to grind would have helped. And as usual, the comments section is rather more pro-gun than not, which is another indication of how little grass-root the other side has left.
Jan 23, 2015
The leader of a gun control group here in Pennsylvania told a Lancaster, PA outlet that they don’t consider actual prosecutions of crimes to be a relevant factor in pushing gun control laws.
In the more than five years the law’s been on the books, not one person has been prosecuted.
“It’s just to lord it over law-abiding people and threaten them with it — which is wrong and immoral,” said Jonathan Goldstein, the NRA’s attorney on the case.
Shira Goodman, executive director of CeaseFirePA, agreed that prosecutions aren’t the point of the law.
So, if enforcement isn’t the point of passing gun control laws, then what is the goal? Is it to score a “victory” to use in fundraising for more gun control group salaries? Or is the goal to create a patchwork of such complicated laws that no one wants to bother trying to become a lawful gun owner? These are questions the paper isn’t willing to follow up on, even though it should be a little odd that a gun control group spokesperson is indicating she doesn’t care if there’s any enforcement of the laws she claims are sooooo vital to public safety.