Currently Browsing: Pennsylvania
Sep 22, 2016
The new pre-emtiion enhancement bill, HB 2258, is now going before the Pennsylvania House floor, having been voted out of committee by a 21-6 vote. I’m curious to see if we can pass this with a veto-proof or near veto-proof majority. The GOP controls the House and Senate at levels in this state that have not been seen for decades, and there are still some pro-gun Democrats out there, so I’m hopeful we’ll get a good vote tally.
When this bill was briefly law before it was invalidated by the courts for violating the single-subject requirement of our state constitution, it did a lot of good. Most municipalities folded like a cheap deck of cards once challenged under it. The only holdouts were the big cities, which fought the law using the single-subject argument.
Follow this link to go to NRA’s handy app that will help you write your rep. Let’s get this done.
Sep 12, 2016
Good news from Firearms Attorney Joshua Prince regarding the Pennsylvania Superior Court case that ruled “other lawful purposes” language in the Pennsylvania school weapons ban didn’t include legally carrying a firearm, but instead meant that lunch ladies could have knives in the kitchen, or other such school related activity:
After the decision, Mr. Goslin contacted me and we, pro-bono, filed a Motion for Reconsideration/Reargument en banc, wherein, inter alia, we argued that the Superior Court should permit new briefs to be filed and oral argument, after vacating the court’s July 6, 2016 decision. Today, the Superior Court GRANTED the motion, withdrew the July 6, 2016 decisions and scheduled re-briefing and argument.
That’s definitely good news. Hopefully we can get a better result on appeal. If this case loses, it would technically be a serious violation to drop your kid off at school with a firearm in the vehicle, or even to turn around in a school parking lot on the way to the range. What about a sidewalk that transits school property? The “other lawful purposes” was what prevents this law from applying to ordinary people, rather than only to people who don’t have lawful intent.
Aug 25, 2016
Back in March, Sebastian called it when he noted that while Pat Toomey was touting support from CeasefirePA leadership, these are not people who would ever actually cast a vote for him. Granted, we thought that was more of a “won’t vote for you in the privacy of the voting booth” type of prediction, not a “will actively campaign against you despite doing what they wanted” kind of way.
But, it seems that’s how loyalty to gun controllers is rewarded. Toomey’s opponent has been endorsed by the very same group whose leaders were kissing his rear back in March, likely knowing all along that they would throw him under the bus come the run up to November’s general election.
Good call there, Pat.
You know what I was doing 6 years ago in November? Casting a ballot for you, Pat, when polls opened and spending the rest of the day standing outside of a senior citizen’s center asking voters to support your candidacy. You know what I won’t be doing this November? Telling anyone about your campaign – other than the fine readers of this blog about how you screwed us and fell for every pathetic lie from the gun control groups. You can rely on your new best buddies at Ceasefire to help out instead, Pat.
Oh, wait, no, you can’t.
Aug 16, 2016
Kathleen Kane has finally, after pressure from her own party’s Governor, and pretty much every other Dem in the state, chosen to resign: “I have been honored to serve the people of Pennsylvania and I wish them health and safety in all their days.” I doubt Josh Shapiro, the Dem candidate for AG in 2016 (who is promising to somehow implement bans on rifle transfers a la handguns in the commonwealth), is going to want the fresh stench of Kathleen Kane’s trashed career wafting over his campaign.
It’s worthwhile to keep in mind that Attorney General is a good stepping stone for Governor, and Bloomberg made his significant investment in Kane in part because he had high hopes that she was a winner, and it would be nice to have a friend in the Governor’s mansion. It is not without considerable snickering that I’ve watched her come apart at the seams.
Aug 15, 2016
Pennsylvania’s proud first female Attorney General hasn’t been able to practice law for months. Tonight, she was found guilty of perjury, obstruction, and other counts of abusing her official position in order to exact illegal revenge on an opponent.
Did I mention that the Clintons are huge supporters?
It shouldn’t be surprising that Kathleen Kane’s attorney indicates that she’s still not going to make any move to resign. The woman won’t give up, despite widespread calls from her party to resign. She has not yet been jailed, but she must come back to court tomorrow to surrender her passport, and she was issued a warning that any hint of retaliation against witnesses will put her behind bars immediately.
Jul 7, 2016
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.
Jun 13, 2016
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.
Mar 15, 2016
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.
Jan 27, 2016
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.
Jan 8, 2016
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.