How Not to Earn an Endorsement

Of the entire Bucks County delegation of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, I have only two endorsed candidates: Paul Clymer of District 145 and Gene DiGirolamo of District 18.  Scott Petri of District 178 is a B+ rated candidate, and we can see what issues he’s weak on:

Petri, who has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, said he wants a Pennsylvania State Police-maintained database and an enforceable, constitutional provision that requires people to report lost or stolen handguns. He said he will introduce legislation that would make straw purchasing a second-degree felony, carrying a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. He also wants any gun dealer who sells a weapon to a straw purchaser to lose his or her license forever.

The third party opponent seems to be pretty good on guns, and Petri does not carry an endorsement.  Nonetheless, I would say he’s the lesser of the two evils for people who the gun issue is important to.  It’s not a good idea to tell gun voters that your vote against a gun control provision is because it did not go far enough, and you’d be happy to vote for one that did.  Also, while I agree with prosecuting straw purchasers, how is the dealer to know that the person he is selling to is a straw purchaser?  The whole idea of the strawman is to put someone forward who will appear to not be a criminal, and who will pass the mandated background check.  The moral culpability for the crime lies with the straw purchaser, who unlawfully buys the firearm, then unlawfully passes it to someone with a criminal record.  Dealers do not have ESP.  They can’t read people’s minds.  If a dealer knowingly makes an illegal sale, that’s already a crime, both under state and federal law.  They don’t just risk losing their license, they risk going to prison.

This is how politicians lose NRA endorsements, and why Scott Petri isn’t getting any of my volunteers this election.  I appreciate he’s a B+, and his opponent is likely worse, but he needs to talk to some gun people in the area, and get an idea for how to speak about our issue in a way that gets tough with criminals, but signals to us that you understand our concerns, and will respect our rights.  Petri is failing at that this election.