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Enhanced Preemption Law Paying Dividends

Despite the legal challenge against the new enhanced preemption law, the law is already paying off. Norristown council has revoked its lost and stolen ordinance.

In light of the recent amendments to the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act, which grant an expansive right of legal standing to individuals and membership organizations to challenge a local gun control ordinance,” the ordinance said, “which further provide for exorbitant damages that can be shifted to the municipality if unsuccessful in defending its ordinance, council has determined that it is in the best interests of the municipality to remove any regulation of lost or stolen firearms.”

It’s amazing how these municipalities were so confident in the legality of these ordinances when they were being passed over objections that they were illegal, are now are suddenly not so confident with the near certainly they will be sued and held accountable.

Good News for PA Republicans & Gun Owners

The Senate GOP has dumped Dominic Pileggi (RINO, Delaware) as Senate Majority Leader in favor of Center County Republican Jake Corman. If there’s any one person who I think deserves the blame for losing the Governor’s mansion, it’s Pileggi. He, along with a handful of other Southeast Republicans, blocked the Corbett Administration from accomplishing anything, including liquor privatization, which was wildly popular with voters, even voters in the Southeast.

If we end up losing on the germaneness issue with enhanced preemption, likewise, you can blame Pileggi and Stu Greenleaf (RINO, Montgomery), who held up the bill long enough that a floor amendment to an existing bill was the only path forward. Maybe now we can see some progress from the GOP Senate, just in time to have everything blocked by soon-to-be-governor Tom Wolf.

The Inevitable Lawsuit Against Preemption Enhancement

I had mentioned before there were issues with germaneness with the preemption enhancement bill, so it’s not surprising to see that a lawsuit has been filed to challenge the law on that issue. Note that having to take this more risky route to pass preemption enhancement wouldn’t have been necessary if it weren’t for intransigence in the part of the GOP leadership of the Senate.

It’s worth noting that there has not been a single prosecution under the numerous “Lost and Stolen” laws that have been illegally passed by municipalities around the Commonwealth, including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. This is despite the leaders of these cities telling us these laws were critical crime fighting measures. None of this is surprising. The City of Philadelphia hardly ever prosecutes gun violations. They are typically add on crimes that get plead away, or in most cases, the cities just refuse to prosecute. Any city leader in Pennsylvania claiming to need these laws need to explain why they aren’t using the ones they already have. How are more going to help? And maybe since you aren’t using the existing ones, we ought to take those away too.

Details Matter – Legislative Whoopsie

Via Josh Prince, we find out that Pennsylvania’s new preemption law isn’t really law…yet. It turns out that someone sent the wrong version of the bill to the Governor.

Josh noted on Facebook that it does mean a new effective date, but the law will still become law.

Maybe Tom Corbett could find a liquor privatization bill that the Senate seemingly forgot to send him to sign before he leaves, too.

Good News for PA Voters

This is just a reminder that if Tom Wolf wins, as expected, it is now legal to drink your sorrows away at the local bar. However, you may need to stay closer to sober in order to save your bucks to pay those higher taxes he’s promising everyone.

Regardless of the sorrows you may need to drown, the linked story is an interesting history on liquor sales in Pennsylvania on Election Day. They also note that South Carolina was the last state to legalize the sale of alcohol on Election Day while Alaska and Massachusetts still allow local towns to enact bans.

I think it’s also funny that they feel the need to remind people that you can’t trade liquor for votes. The story also notes that as recently as last year, there have been problems with this with an Arkansas lawmaker who traded vodka and chicken dinners for votes.

A Democratic congressional candidate out in Western Pennsylvania posted photos of herself and volunteers with candy that they were giving out to their voters today. I wonder if there’s a law on that?

Off I Go to Hold My Nose

I’ve been happy with Corbett on the gun issue. If you look at his record, it’s about the only constituency he managed to please. On every other issue, I’m disappointed. He hasn’t really done anything to fix the state’s long term financial problems. The People of Wisconsin will be happy that Scott Walker made some hard decisions now. Even New Jersey is probably marginally better off for having Chris Christie. But Pennsylvania is probably doomed to a serious pension crisis in the not so distant future. Because of the intransigence of the Senate GOP leadership, we couldn’t even get liquor privatization done. But I will hold my nose and cast the vote for Corbett, pretty much solely on the gun issue. He signed enhanced castle doctrine and signed enhanced preemption. He came out after Sandy Hook and put the kibosh on gun control in Pennsylvania, which enabled us to focus federally. Every one of our neighboring states except Ohio and West Virginia suffered attacks and setbacks at the state level, and it was West Virginia’s senator trying to screw us federally. As Republicans go in this state, Corbett has been pretty good on guns. I can’t imagine Tom Ridge holding so firm after something like Sandy Hook.

I’m also very concerned Tom Wolf will be the Jerry Brown of Pennsylvania. At some point, fellow citizens, we need to stick it to the GOP leadership in this state. Pennsylvania has a moderate political tradition of centrist Democrats (except in the cities) and squishy Republicans, so it’s going to be a long road. Wolf wants to fix the state’s finances with more taxes, notably a progressive tax (which is unconstitutional, PA mandates a flat income tax). As a commenter mentioned earlier this morning, this place is going to start looking an awful lot like New York if the state GOP doesn’t start standing for something other than its own power and self-interest. If Wolf wins, the best case scenario is total gridlock, and all that while the clock will be ticking on the state’s pension problems.

In local races, my State Representative, Frank Farry, has been pretty solid on Second Amendment issues, so he gets my vote without question. Robert “Tommy” Tomlinson, my State Senator, went without an endorsement for a while because he tried to screw us on Florida reciprocity. This year he’s got an endorsement again, because he voted with us on Castle Doctrine and enhanced preemption. I’ll vote for him, since his Democratic challenger, Kim Rose, didn’t even see fit to return a questionnaire.

I’m still deciding whether or not I’m going to hold my nose for Mike Fitzpatrick. He took an endorsement from Bloomberg’s outfit, and was one of the few Republicans to support the house equivalent of Manchin-Toomey. If I do, this will be the last year. If Fitzpatrick doesn’t step down in 2016, like he’s promised to do, and fails to draw a successful primary challenger, I’m done with voting for Fitzpatrick as long as he’s going to suck up to guys like Bloomberg. If I do end up pushing the button for Fitz, it’s not really for him so much as to keep the seat in GOP hands in the hopes he steps down like he promised, or draws a reasonable primary challenger. If that seat flips to the Dems, it’s going to be a hell of a lot harder to get it back, which would suck if the GOP actually managed to find an acceptable candidate for 2016.

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.

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.

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