The Odd Election Year Dance Around Self-Defense

As we wait for the House of Representatives to cast the final floor vote on Castle Doctrine today, I decided to take a look at the weird little dance that some Democrats and Republicans took around the issue. Some of these moves just leave me scratching my head. Why pick some of these fights in an election year? For others, they deserve big kudos.

Todd Eachus (D) – This guy baffles me. In 2008, he was A rated and received the NRA endorsement. Based on that, you’d think he wouldn’t have a problem with self-defense. And, based on his vote to pass Castle Doctrine, that would seem to be the case. But, his comments and other votes are what add to the confusion. First, he voted on the motion to have a floor vote on Castle Doctrine. Then, he voted against the motion that withheld the anti-gun amendments. So he wanted the anti-gun stuff to come up for a vote. Okay…that could be argued that as Majority Leader, he was just trying to appease the Philly delegation in a vote that would lose with or without his support.

But, this morning he’s quoted in the papers bitching that we were “heavyhanded” in trying to get a floor vote. If the vote was a throw away to the Philly delegation, that’s not ideal, but not the end of the world. But why be their go-to boy for the anti-gun coalition in the press? Why not leave the Philly delegation to do their own dirty work? As Sebastian said when I read that to him on his drive to work, “Aren’t the members from Philly the ones being ‘heavyhanded’ since they held up a bill with overwhelming bipartisan support?”

I’m assuming that he’ll be safe with NRA support this year, and I don’t blame them for that. But, if he insists on going above and beyond for the Philly delegation on the gun issue, then I’ll make sure we cover every statement. There’s no need to be their spokesman, they do a fine job of shoving their feet down their own throats when it comes to speaking out on our Constitutional rights.

Denny O’Brien (R) – What on earth. This guy was A rated in 2008. He is one of few and far between pro-gun Philly representatives. Really? Self-defense is what moves him to vote against us? He voted to bring the bill up for a floor vote, then he turned and voted against us by opposing the vote to keep it a clean bill, and then he voted against us on the actual floor vote. That’s disappointing because several of the police officers who have called me in the last few days to find out who to vote for have been in his district. I’ll keep an open mind until the final vote today to see if there was some confusion yesterday, but I’d hate to call them all and tell them that Rep. O’Brien suddenly voted against us on this important issue.

Josh Shapiro (D) – I’m confused. This is a representative who should not want to vote on gun issues. Yes, he represents a part of Montgomery County that very well might back a gun ban, but being anti-gun doesn’t win him any votes. In fact, he has his eye on higher office – statewide office. He cannot win with a strong anti-gun record if he has to campaign outside of his immediate area. So, you would think that it would be in his best interest to stick with us (he’s been with us a few times) when it’s a fairly uncontroversial vote and then lay low the rest of the time. It doesn’t hurt him, and he won’t have to worry about a negative record when he finally takes the plunge statewide.

While we should give him kudos for supporting the uncontroversial Castle Doctrine bill, I would love to understand why he decided to join the Philly delegation in wanting to bring up the half dozen or so anti-gun amendments forward. If their effort had been successful, he would have had to vote on every one of those amendments. While he’s probably vote with us on some, he’d then put a political target on his back for every single anti-gun vote he cast.

Jim Wansacz (D) – I took some hell for supporting this pro-gun representative in his solidly Democratic district. Unfortunately, he didn’t win the primary to take the Senate seat up there, so he won’t be serving in the legislature in the future. But, I’m really happy to see that regardless of his legislative future, Rep. Wansacz stuck with us on all three votes yesterday. If there are any readers up in his district, you should probably drop him a note of thanks.

Frank Farry (R) – He gets a mention since he’s our representative, and he voted the right way on every single vote on Castle Doctrine. This comes from a guy whose campaign didn’t return the NRA questionnaire in 2008. He actually knows he lost votes because of it, and just like we predicted, Rep. Farry is willing to stand up for our right to self-defense. Go us. (And, tomorrow I’ll see if I can track down a lawn sign to go up immediately until Election Day.)

Steve Santarsiero (D) – What is this dude thinking? His district is even farther out of Philly than ours is, and he’s a Democrat running in a year that doesn’t exactly have high expectations for his party. He was only elected in 2008, and he submitted a questionnaire that earned him a B rating against a Republican who refused to answer the questionnaire. However, his votes against us, and his subsequent endorsement by CeaseFire have shown his true colors. For a guy who rode the coattails of Obama to his office, you’d think that he’d not pick a fight with us. That would be the smart thing to do for anyone who wanted to keep their office. And now, it looks like that grade will drop, and his opponent has been reaching out to sportsmen in the district.

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