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Superior Court Rules No Weapons on School Property

Some unfortunate news from Pennsylvania Superior Court. I believe Superior Courts mean this is now law in the entire state, so currently, it is now illegal to carry weapons on school property. The law states:

§ 912. Possession of weapon on school property.

(a) Definition.–Notwithstanding the definition of “weapon” in section 907 (relating to possessing instruments of crime),”weapon” for purposes of this section shall include but not be limited to any knife, cutting instrument, cutting tool, nun-chuck stick, firearm, shotgun, rifle and any other tool, instrument or implement capable of inflicting serious bodily injury.

(b) Offense defined.–A person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if he possesses a weapon in the buildings of, on the grounds of, or in any conveyance providing transportation to or from any elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational institution, any elementary or secondary private school licensed by the Department of Education or any elementary or secondary parochial school.

(c) Defense.–It shall be a defense that the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course or is possessed for other lawful purpose.

The Superior Court ruled that “other lawful purpose” needed to have a sanction from the school. In other words, the lunch ladies can have knives in the school, because their purpose is to cook lunch for the kiddies. The janitor can have a screwdriver, but not a student.

Statutes that are vague or unclear are supposed to be interpreted in a light most favorable to the defendant, but this very clear language, which exempts lawful purposes, was read to favor the state. The law already carved out an exception for the lunch ladies when it said “It shall be a defense that the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course,” but then it went on to create a separate defense, the “other lawful purposes” defense, for the chef dropping his kid off at school on the way to the restaurant with the knives he just got sharpened.

As Josh Prince notes in his article, this appeal was pursued by a pro-se defendant, meaning a guy representing himself. That’s usually an invitation to disaster, as it was here. Nonetheless, the law is clear here, but there is no rule of law. They offer us the illusion, and not even a very good illusion, that there is rule of law, all the while ruling however they damned please.

Time to Pressure Pat Toomey

The antis are putting the pressure on Senator Toomey to embrace the terror watch list bill, or face ads saying the Senator supports arming terrorists. Be sure to call Pat Toomey’s office and persuade him. Tell him you have no compunctions about leaving him off your ballot in November if he turns. Say this even if you plan already to not vote for him because of his past sins. I believe in redemption if he rediscovers where his interest lie.

“Pat Toomey has worked to allow suspected terrorists to buy guns in this country and that is just an outrageous position,” McGinty, challenging Toomey in one of the country’s most critical Senate races, said in a telephone interview. “Of all the kind of tough issues, this one should not be a tough call.”

Unless you don’t believe people should be stripped of fundamental constitutional rights because of being put on a secret government list, where only the FBI knows the criteria to get on, and there is no process for getting off. I appreciate it if Senator Toomey would stand up for due process of law and for the Heller and McDonald decisions. This gets to the fundamental core of how we treat fundamental constitutional rights. Toomey can’t turn on this issue and still claim to believe in the Second Amendment. I know civil liberties are currently out of style with the American left, but someone has to stand up for them.

Enhanced Preemption Probably Lost Due to Single Subject Requirement

Pennsylvania’s enhanced preemption measure, Act 192, got off to a rough start when it had to be attached to a metal theft bill at the last minute, and then quickly signed by the outgoing Governor Corbett. This happened because of Senator Greenleaf’s obstinance in committee. The only way to get it onto the Senate floor was to amend it to another bill.

The problem is that Pennsylvania has a single subject requirement for bills, and it’s a stretch to argue that metal theft and firearm preemption are the same subject. It was more than two years ago the lawsuits started. Now the case has been argued before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and it’s being noted that it doesn’t look good for Act 192. Act 192 has been unenforceable since a stay was issued in a lawsuit until the constitutionality of the act could be determined. Still, even if the Supreme Court refuses to  Act 192, the law still did some good during the time period when it hadn’t yet been challenged.

If we can get rid of Wolf in a few years, we might have another shot at this. I’m also at the point where I would even be willing to help out a leftist Dem challenger to Greenleaf just to get him off that committee chairmanship.

Cleaning Up Illegal LTCF Requirements

In Pennsylvania, there have traditionally been a lot of extralegal requirements for Licenses to Carry Firearms (LTCF) implemented by county Sheriffs, with the City of Philadelphia being the most notorious of the offender. The rest of the ring counties were often pretty non compliant as well. Bucks County had a number of extralegal requirements. I want to say there was a psychological evaluation (or something pretty draconian like that) imposed at one point (this is before I lived here), until a local activist challenged the requirement. Up until pretty recently, the county was overcharging for LTCFs. Bucks County is now following the law. Delaware County used to illegally call references, including employers, until it was pointed out to them that disclosing information about an LTCF application crime, and my understanding is that they no longer do this. Montgomery County has continued with extralegal requirement to get local police sign-off, but now it seems that may be at an end too.

We’re slowly getting there.

Harrisburg & The Great American Outdoor Show’s Showdown

Merriam-Webster defines extortion as “the act or practice of extorting especially money or other property; especially: the offense committed by an official engaging in such practice.”

The mayor of Harrisburg who has made clear that he hates NRA and its members went to the press whining that NRA isn’t engaging in pay-for-play for hosting the Great American Outdoor Show in his town.

As part of the deal with the county to host the show, NRA did agree to support regional grants in accordance with the typical rules of the NRA Foundation’s policies and by-laws. Just like your local Friends of NRA banquet gives at least 50% of the money to regional grant requests, the Great American Outdoor Show program is following the same model.

Harrisburg’s mayor is fuming that NRA is holding true to the agreement and his city isn’t the automatic, pre-determined grant winner every year. Apparently, NRA did make the offer to fund a smaller grant this year, but the Mayor threw a hissy fit when he learned they wouldn’t agree to make that a set fund for him annually in direct violation of the NRA Foundation’s by-laws. So, he seems to have rejected their grant offer.

The city officials are fuming since they thought the cash would pad their budgets each year, and now they learn that other worthy area entities in need will benefit. This will not stand for Mayor Eric Papenfuse and Police Chief Thomas Carter who believed they would be the exclusive beneficiaries of the grant request process. As it is, NRA already pays somewhere around $200,000 in amusement taxes to the city and school district. Plus, the city gets the tax revenue from the millions brought in by vendors, hotels, eateries, and other sales associated with the event. But that’s not good enough.

So, when the Mayor and Police Chief were angered to learn that the rules and by-laws wouldn’t be bent to hand the cash to them, they demanded a bigger payoff in other forms. They wanted to increase the rate that NRA would have to pay for off-duty police officers to assist with the event. Since the rate was apparently agreed to be on the low side, NRA offered to pay more, working up to a 33% increase over the next three years. This was not acceptable to the City, and the mayor demanded an immediate 67% increase. Since the rate the Mayor wanted apparently wasn’t remotely market rate compared to even larger cities, NRA has now turned to the county and departments from other cities who will likely gladly take the money. Harrisburg now loses $10,000 in fees associated with that deal.

However, that wouldn’t stop officers from taking vacation time to work the NRA show, something that has apparently been done with the support of the department for nearly 30 years. Since Harrisburg has now declared war on the Great American Outdoor Show, the Police Chief is banning his officers from taking vacation during that period so they can’t earn extra money from the huge event. He’s also going to mandate overtime to more patrolling to try and keep them away.

While the behavior may not meet a legal criminal definition of extortion, it sure does seem to me like the quotes in the article by the mayor and police chief fit the spirit of the dictionary definition of the term.

Pennsylvania Elections: Where’s the T?

The Dems swept the statewide races, which isn’t too surprising given they seemed to be the only people spending money. They managed to drive turnout in Philadelphia, while turnout in the “T” part of Pennsylvania was very light. Are they still sore about the whole Penn State thing? Has the Pennsylvania GOP started sucking worse than usual? For whatever the PAGOP is worth (which probably isn’t much), this is a problem they should be very interested in diagnosing, because without very strong turnout from that section of the state, there aren’t enough votes to overcome Philadelphia and Pittsburg, and the unions spent big on this race. It will likely be a good investment for them, because they can now have a very big say in the 2020 redistricting. The Republicans should have spent more in this election, and if they didn’t have the money to spend they should start asking themselves how they can manage to suck so bad that no one wants to give them money. But of course they never ask that. It’s business as usual. Strategy? What’s that?

The only thing you have to hope for is that union backed Dem justices aren’t going to toe the Dem line on gun control, for fear of being eaten alive by their members.

The GOP managed to increase their majority in the Senate by one vote by winning the special election. Generally speaking the GOP did pretty well in the Philadelphia suburbs in County elections.

Pennsylvanians: Don’t Forget Tomorrow’s Elections

NRA has endorsed candidates in the off-year elections tomorrow, November 3rd. It is very important for every gun voter to show up this year. PVF’s web site looks like it’s finally correct, and has all the endorsed candidates. FOAC also has their slate of candidates up, with some further local races you might want to pay attention to. We elect judges in Pennsylvania, and that’s mostly what this election is about. The Supreme Court plays a big role in drawing of districts, and realize that if the Dems manage to take full control of this state in their current “wild-eyed leftist and loving them some gun control” incarnation, your gun rights will be finished. This is no exaggeration. The important statewide candidates:

Supreme Court

  • Anne Covey (R)
  • Michael George (R)
  • Judith Olson (R)

Superior Court

  • Emil Giordano (R)

Commonwealth Court

  • Paul Lalley (R)

Also, if you live in State Senate District 37, which comprises parts of Allegheny and Washington counties, you have a special election tomorrow where Guy Reschenthaler (R) is the NRA and FOAC endorsed candidate.

Reminder for Pennsylvanians on Election

We have critical judicial races coming up next Tuesday, November 3rd. NRA has issued a few endorsements, which I will relay to you. You may have already seen them if you’re on their list:

Tuesday, November 3, is Election Day in Pennsylvania.  Your NRA-PVF (www.NRAPVF.org) has endorsed Judge Emil Giordano for Superior Court and Paul Lalley for Commonwealth Court.

Over recent years, many of your Second Amendment rights have been ultimately decided by the courts, such as the Ortiz v. Commonwealth PA Supreme Court case that struck down local firearms bans in the Commonwealth and the historic District of Columbia v. Heller United States Supreme Court case that overturned the ban on handguns for self-defense in the home in Washington D.C.

It is critical to elect judges who interpret our Constitution the way that our Founding Fathers intended at all levels.  On Tuesday, November 3, remember to vote for NRA-PVF endorsed candidates, Judge Emil Giordano and Paul Lalley. 

For a complete list of NRA-PVF endorsements, click here.

Be sure to turn out. This is an off year, so the gun vote could make quite a difference.

Not speaking about gun races specifically, but we also have Supreme Court elections, and I’d keep that in mind too. The Supreme Court has a lot of say in the drawing of districts, so it would not be, in my opinion, a good thing to have that in Democratic hands next census.

Kathleen Kane Now Ineligible for Office?

It seems like there’s now a question over whether Attorney General Kathleen Kane is, as of today, now ineligible to hold the statewide office. Why? Because the state Supreme Court just suspended her law license.

Yes, the woman who Mike Bloomberg spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to elect, can’t even represent one of Mike’s Illegal Mayor allies who held a man hostage with a gun.

Oh yeah, and just because I try to remind the voters in the central part of the state who voted their football allegiances over gun rights every time that Kathleen Kane is in trouble – elections have consequences.

This Kathleen Kane Drama Couldn’t Get Any Weirder

Apparently Kathleen Kane has an evil twin, who is in some legal trouble of her own:

Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s twin borrowed $200,000 from an FBI agent who was living with her and then kicked him out the door, the agent says in a civil lawsuit filed in Lackawanna County.

Kane’s twin is being sued because apparently that was the guy’s life savings, and he’d like it back. Classy. Meanwhile, apparently Kathleen Kane has used her evil twin to throw off the press. Maybe her next defense will be that it was her evil twin all along!

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