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Pennsylvania Castle Doctrine News

I’m surprised to see this press release from State Senator Richard Alloway, containing a link to an interview I did.┬áSenator Alloway is the sponsor of the Castle Doctrine bill in the Senate, and has been instrumental in trying to get this passed for us, and off to the Governor. On the long road to get this bill passed, there have certainly been a lot of rumors, allegations, and frustrations expressed along the way. Senator Alloway addresses many of these in his release, but I’ve noticed the current delay in passage is creating more rumors.

One of those rumors is that there is a deal in the works to pass Florida Loophole along with Castle Doctrine. I talked to NRA’s PA Lobbyist, John Hohenwarter, and asked if there was a deal to amend the Florida Loophole in exchange for moving Castle Doctrine. He assured me that there is no deal in the works, and Castle Doctrine should be able to pass clean.

I have mentioned previously that the Senate is a tougher landscape for pro-Second Amendment legislation than the House. It’s important that you call your State Senator and tell them you want Castle Doctrine passed. The more they hear from us the faster this can happen. Keep in mind that our opposition’s goal is to drag things out as much as possible, in the hope of exhausting us, and turning us against each other. Unfortunately, from what I’ve seen, there’s evidence that tactic is working. We can get Castle Doctrine, but only if we keep marching in the same direction.

18 Responses to “Pennsylvania Castle Doctrine News”

  1. mike says:

    “..and if the House doesn’t pass my version, then I guess we’ll try again next year.”

  2. Ed says:

    Ask Hohenwarter what happened in New Hampshire & while you are at why did the NRA oppose the Rand Paul firearms amendment to the Patriot Act?

    http://reason.com/blog/2011/05/26/nra-joins-mcconnell-against-ra

  3. Sebastian says:

    I’ll have more to say on the NH thing at a later date. It’s a complex situation and I want to make sure I have all my facts straight.

    I’ll see what I can find out about the Paul Amendment.

  4. Tim says:

    So are you saying that Scarnati was spreading unfounded rumors when he told a tea party group with 30 people present that Hohenwarter was working with Leach on a compromise for florida loophole?

  5. Sebastian says:

    I’m saying that Hohenwarter said there wasn’t any deal to do Florida loophole for Castle Doctrine. I don’t think he would say that, and give me the nod to print that to the general public, if he was secretly actually cutting such a deal.

  6. Tim says:

    So, what proof do you have that Hohenwarter isn’t lying to you? You have his word for it…well, his word seems to contradict that of some elected officials who have said he was working behind the scenes with Leach.

    The jig is up. This guy has been revealed in New Hampshire as well as here in PA as an obstructionist. He has done the same thing in Ohio and God knows where else.

    His words are falling on deaf ears and no one is buying it anymore. We know the truth and we know exactly what he has been doing.

    • Bitter says:

      Tim, you’re almost asking Sebastian to prove a negative. Just how can he provide absolute proof to someone’s intent. Even if he could read minds, you wouldn’t believe it. It’s obvious with your rant that you’re not going to believe anything, no matter how much evidence is provided to the contrary. If Castle Doctrine passes as a clean bill, then that’s evidence. But I have a sneaky suspicion that you accept it then, either.

  7. Sebastian says:

    The only proof will be when Castle Doctrine eventually passes. If it doesn’t have FL loophole attached to it, he’s telling the truth. You can choose not to believe it.

    Personally, if I were a lobbyist, I wouldn’t go on record saying there was no deal if there was a deal.

  8. Mike says:

    Tim, it seems pretty clear to me that Sen. Alloway is saying that the rumors re NRA (and Hohenwarter) that are being spread on various PA forums are complete nonsense.

    I can’t speak to what’s going on in New Hampshire but I think the suggestion by some anti NRA activists that NRA or Hohenwarter are “obstructionist” is unfounded and now revealed by the Senate Castle Doctrine bill sponsor to be a complete fabrication. Who do you think knows more about the facts of NRA’s involvement with the Castle Doctrine, Sen Alloway or someone on an internet forum?

  9. Tim says:

    Its not rumour to me or the 30 other people who heard the words come out of Scarnati’s mouth. That statement was a confirmation of what many had known was going on behind the scenes and were unable to say.

    Either Scarnati has no idea what is talking about or someone is being less than truthful here…

    • Bitter says:

      And if Castle Doctrine passes as a clean bill, what will you say of Scarnati since you’ve been so willing to attack NRA’s lobbyist, and by default, the legislators who back him up?

  10. WOP2 says:

    At the risk of sounding snarky, and being tossed out forever from Snowflakes in Hell, the apologist rhetoric being posted by Sebastian remarkably/coincidentally/serendipitously/miraculously mirrors a letter I received from Miranda Bonds just the other day (May 2011) when I wrote to complain about John Hohenwarter’s backroom dealings. Make no mistake, I’m a card carrying member of the NRA, and I’m not espousing anyone NOT working with the NRA. Hohenwarter, unfortunately, both here and in New Hampshire has demonstrated beyond question that he does not have the rights of the citizenry at heart. I’m willing to work hand in hand with NRA–just as soon as they remove John Hohenwarter from Pennsylvania.

    Hmmm, I’m amazed that I was able to post this without resorting to profanity, but I am passionately opposed to Hohenwarter’s actions.

    • Bitter says:

      We’ve never seen any letters from NRA on the subject. At least I assume Sebastian hasn’t because that’s usually something he would share with me. If you mean that there’s more than one person talking about how Castle Doctrine isn’t being sold down the river for a nasty amendment to attach onto it, then I guess that puts whoever wrote your letter on the same side as Pennsylvania lawmakers, too.

  11. Tim says:

    When it comes out a clean bill I will thank the hundreds of local pa gun owners that have volunteered their time to write letters and work with lefgislators. I will thank people like kim Stolfer who helped author the legislation seven years ago and fought the nra who didn’t want it introduced. That is who I will thank and who truly deserves the credit.

  12. Dave says:

    If castle doctrine comes out of the Senate clean, then we’ll know one of two things is the truth.

    Either:

    1) Sen. Scarnati was lying, or was lied to, about a back-room deal between Hohenwarter, Sen. Leach, and the “Florida-loophole”

    or

    2) The deal was destroyed after Sen. Scarnati revealed it and Senate leadership was informed about the obvious opposition to any such deal, which means that Hohenwarter is lying to Sebastian.

  13. WOP2 says:

    Considering that the NRA had no “official position” on the Rand proposal, I’m beginning to wonder who is in bed with who, or whom, or what? In the military, before it went all PC from the top down, this would have been called a goatf**k. If there is an official position from NRA, please enlighten us. I’ll immediately retract this and offer an apology.

  14. WOP2 says:

    Bitter:
    You haven’t seen anything from NRA? Here’s a canned letter from them regarding Hohenwarter. Compare it to Sebastian’s interview with Hohenwarter last year. I’m not the only one who has received this canned letter, either. Here’s the e-mail from NRA-ILA. Note that they have their perspective on what happened in the last legislative session, and I have, along with another witness, a conversation with Hohenwarter burned into my memory where he told us that HB 1926 was the only way to go. He pretty much dismissed me and my friend as countrified bumpkins who didn’t know what was the best way to go. You read it, you compare it to what actually happened, and you tell me when the NRA procured a crystal ball. What, Hohenwarter is able to see the future and performs his political sorcery based on some strange alchemy?

    From: ILA-Contact
    Sent: Monday, May 16, 2011 3:31 PM
    To: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Subject: RE: ILA Contact nramem

    Dear WOP2,

    Thank you for contacting my office concerning NRA ILA’s involvement in the
    enactment of “Castle Doctrine” legislation in Pennsylvania. In contrast to
    the “rumors” you refer to, the National Rifle Association has been the
    leading advocacy group on this issue since 2005, when it first became law in
    Florida. Since that time, NRA has been instrumental in the passage of
    castle doctrine legislation in twenty-five other states and is in the
    forefront with similar efforts in Pennsylvania.

    Over the past several legislative sessions, there have been a number of
    hurdles in Pennsylvania with this legislation involving the House, Senate
    and Governor’s Office. Last year, there was an abundance of misinformation
    espoused by some grassroots organizations concerning NRA activity with this
    legislation. Therefore, I think it is important to share with you a brief
    overview of what occurred with “Castle Doctrine” last year and ILA’s roll in
    the process.

    In May of last year, Chairman Caltagirone made good on his commitment to
    allow a House Judiciary Committee vote on House Bill 40. The legislation
    was voted out of committee and referred to the House Appropriations
    Committee where it remained blocked for several months by Chairman Evans.

    Because Chairman Evans refused to move the bill, Representative Perry filed
    a discharge petition to force a committee vote to move the bill. However,
    before the discharge petition had the opportunity to be voted by the House,
    Chairman Evans agreed to a House Appropriations Committee vote that resulted
    in the legislation being passed and moved out of committee and placed on the
    House Calendar.

    During this time frame, NRA was also working on an alternative plan in the
    Senate by advocating a “Castle Doctrine” amendment to HB1926. This plan of
    attack was supported by Senator Alloway, who agreed to offer the amendment,
    and was seconded by some members of the Senate Republican leadership team.
    Not knowing the future of HB40 in the House, this course of action would
    allow another option to pass the measure before the end of the legislative
    session.

    However, NRA faced opposition from some leaders in the Senate who were
    uncooperative in this effort despite intense lobbying efforts and overall
    support by a majority of the members of the Senate. In fact, NRA had a
    commitment from House democratic leadership on concurrence if the Senate
    would send the bill to the House. The reason the House agreed to this
    process was because of the high probability that a House floor fight would
    occur on HB40 opening the door to a flurry of bad amendments. Unfortunately
    at the time, the Senate did not cooperate with this effort.

    So with time running out, NRA continued to lobby the House to pass HB40.
    Finally, the Democratic House leadership agreed to forge ahead and scheduled
    a vote. The bill was passed by the House on October 5, 2010 and sent to the
    Senate where it was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Now the
    stage was set for a battle in the Senate.

    With only three days left on the Senate schedule, there were now two options
    available. Our office decided that the first option would be to pursue a
    Committee vote on HB40 and send a clean bill to the Governor’s Office.
    However, this option had to occur on Tuesday, October 12th because of
    Constitution provisions that require a bill to be considered on three
    different days before being voted on the floor. With that in mind, our
    office continued with an intense lobbying campaign to move the Senate in
    that direction.

    Shortly thereafter, NRA was assured by Republican leadership that a vote
    would occur in committee on Tuesday to allow a sufficient time period for
    legislative consideration. However, amendments were now being drafted and
    efforts were underway to amend HB40 in committee with anti-gun/anti-hunting
    provisions. In addition, Republican support to kill the amendments in
    committee continued to dwindle throughout this time period, which created a
    rift among Republican members.

    Shortly before the committee vote, Senator Alloway and John Hohenwarter had
    a meeting (off the Senate floor) with Republican leadership concerning the
    pending vote. At that time, our concerns were confirmed that HB40 was in
    jeopardy and the committee did not have the support to kill several
    amendments filed to the bill. It was at that time the decision was made by
    Senate leadership to pursue the second option, which was to amend HB1926 and
    battle the amendments on the floor where they could be defeated.

    Fortunately, the amendment process for Castle Doctrine was successful and
    the anti-gun amendment (Florida Loophole) offered by Senator Leach was
    defeated and all other amendments were withdrawn on the Senate Floor. House
    Bill 1926 was passed and sent to the House for concurrence. A few weeks
    later, the House concurred on the measure sending it to the Governor for
    approval.

    However, for some reason there has been considerable criticism by a few
    activists over the decision to amend HB1926 with Castle Doctrine rather than
    pushing through HB40. This criticism is unjustified and not based on any
    facts.

    The truth of the matter is if House Bill 40 would have been voted on by the
    Senate Judiciary Committee, “Florida Loophole” would have been amended into
    the bill by a vote of 8-6 and there is a good possibility that mandatory
    reporting of lost and stolen firearms, as well as a ban on pigeon shoots,
    would have be amended into the measure as well. The following would have
    been the roll call vote on the Senator Leach’s “Florida Loophole” amendment
    in committee based upon the roll call that was taken on the Senate floor on
    the same amendment:

    YES VOTES

    Greenleaf, Stewart J. , Chair

    White, Mary Jo, Vice Chair

    Leach, Daylin , Minority Chair

    Browne, Patrick M.

    Earll, Jane M.

    Costa, Jay

    Fontana, Wayne D.

    Stack, Michael J.

    NO VOTES

    Boscola, Lisa M.

    Gordner, John R.

    Orie, Jane Clare

    Piccola, Jeffrey E

    Rafferty, John C., Jr.

    Scarnati, Joseph B., III, ex-officio

    Therefore, a decision was made by Republican Leadership to avoid the
    committee process and vote down the same amendments filed to HB1926 on the
    floor. This course of action could still get a bill to the Governor’s desk
    since the House had five days scheduled for session after the November
    election. Keep in mind, without NRA orchestrating an “Option 2”, “Castle
    Doctrine” would have died that week in the Senate.

    It is unfortunate that there was a breakdown in the Republican controlled
    Senate Judiciary Committee which ultimately killed HB40. As a result, the
    NRA-PVF lowered grades and removed endorsements from sitting Senators who
    were up for election last cycle.

    This session, “Castle Doctrine” legislation was again re-introduced in both
    chambers – HB40 (Perry-R) and SB273 (Alloway-R). Over the last several
    months, our State Liaison, John Hohenwarter , has continued his efforts to
    gain passage of this important legislation. We are pleased to report that
    both pieces of legislation have passed their respective chambers and are
    currently referred to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees where they
    await consideration.

    We remain confident that this legislation will be considered within the next
    several weeks and be sent to the Governor for signature.

    Best regards,
    Miranda Bond
    NRA-ILA Grassroots Division
    http://www.nraila.org

    • Bitter says:

      What you’re saying is that your big beef is that they sent a letter that has similar language to something one of their staffers had already written months ago that tells the exact same story. I find it impossible to believe that you have never been in an environment where repeating the same written story over and over wasn’t essentially cut and pasted.

      There is no crystal ball here. The Senate had very few changes in the last election (not surprising since only half were up), and the same troublemakers are still in office. Senator Alloway’s release explained that the same forces that caused problems last year are similar to the same people getting in the way this year. It’s called history repeating itself, I do believe you may have once heard an expression about it. It tends to happen when the exact same legislators are in the exact same roles and looking at the exact same bill.

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