Pennsylvania Politics Gets Worse for Gun Owners


If you’re a gun owner in Pennsylvania, you need to be worried about 2014. You need to be very, very worried. Gov. Tom Corbett was amazing about putting down all talk of getting Pennsylvania to pass more gun control back in December that would bring us closer to the nightmares of neighbors New York and New Jersey. But his poll numbers are in the toilet, and the Democrats smell lots of blood in the water.

That wouldn’t be the end of the world if we had a serious pro-gun Democratic candidate, but we don’t.

Today comes news that a Bloomberg ally currently serving with MAIG has taken the legal steps to announce a run for governor. So far, every MAIG mayor in Pennsylvania who has tried running for higher office has lost. However, that doesn’t mean that trend will continue. I mean it was the supposedly pro-gun middle of the state that really ran up the numbers for Attorney General Kathleen Kane who has been doing everything she can to screw with reciprocity agreements for concealed carry. She also refuses to back any pro-Second Amendment briefs on federal cases.

However, the other issue is that the alternatives aren’t looking good, either. The leading candidate is F-rated Rep. Allyson Schwartz. There is no gun control idea she hasn’t backed – banning many semi-autos, effectively closing down gun shows, magazine bans, mandating “smart guns” that don’t exist – you name it, she’s backed it. She has no apologies for these positions, and she thinks she can win Pennsylvania on such a platform. She might be right.

Some other names in the running include Katie McGinty who is reportedly running on a “tighter gun control” platform, and Tom Wolf who is a possible slight improvement running on only “some gun control.”

The sad part is seeing just how much the Pennsylvania media will do to try and cover up any extreme positions on this subject so that it can never be a controversy. In 2010, a major local political news site at the time reported that the Democratic gubernatorial candidate was on the “right flank” of the party on guns and supported gun rights. A look at his policy proposals actually showed he was more extreme than even many F-rated lawmakers out of Philly.

It’s up to gun owners to spread the word about these candidates. Unfortunately, I’m not sure they are that excited to do it over the course of the next 14 months. Too many times, we hear people who don’t take the threat seriously because the GOP holds the House and Senate, too. Unfortunately, when we are losing seats in these chambers, they tend to flip from A to F-rated. When the switch is finally flipped in Pennsylvania, there’s a very good chance that the transition to New York & New Jersey-style laws will not be gradual. It could happen very quickly.

27 thoughts on “Pennsylvania Politics Gets Worse for Gun Owners”

  1. So what do you suggest? Where do we invest our political efforts in PA in 2014?

    1. I’m not completely sure at this point. Obviously, Tom Corbett in the general. However, it may be worth getting folks registered as Democrats if a “not as evil” candidate enters the race. Jack Wagner would have an uphill climb, but he’s got wiggle room in his lack of answers on many issues back in 2010.

      1. I was wondering about Jack Wagner. But we’ll see.

        I think the legislature should be our focus, personally. We’d likely have more like an Illinois situation on our hands than an NY or NJ one with any of these knuckleheads as gov.

        1. That is a good point. And driving turnout in those lower level races may help us out for top of the ticket.

          As usual, the areas to watch on those fronts will be the Southeast, specifically in the middle-farther suburbs. However, we have also seen some negative trends out of the Erie area as well. The West is not nearly as safe as many gun owners out there like to pretend it is. For a while, the western edge of the state was Bloomberg’s leading source of anti-gun mayors. In fact, someone needs to be watching those snakes out there, too. I try to keep an eye on the MAIG mayors running for higher office, but I try to start with the East first since that’s where Bloomberg is likely to start.

          1. Right. I’d like to hear from NRA-ILA on the analysis. Keep in mind, though, even in conservative Lancaster County here we have at least 3-4 MAIG mayors. It’s a reality we’re contending with, though our hope there is using the politics of the MAIG organization against them.

            Also, you mentioned Jack Wagner. The more I thought about him I also remember he was the Lt. Gov. candidate with Casey. We all know how Bob Casey turned out, so I wouldn’t have much faith in “moderate” Jack Wagner.

            1. Wagner has some issues in the policy proposals of 2010. I’m not saying he’s pro-gun. What I’m saying is that he may be less extreme anti-gun than other candidates. And it is certainly less likely that he’ll take a scorched earth policy that might be more likely under a big Bloomberg ally.

              1. Right. I think our best hope is a gov that speaks little about guns and can assuage the anti-gun base (which is extremely small in comparison to the constituencies that comprise the overall Democrat base).

        2. For that IGold and the other State level organizations in Illinois should be observed and consulted.

          There’s also that there are some pro-gun downstate democrats in Ill as well. Though given the combination of Dem domination of the state and downstate politics that would be inevitable.

          Shocking as it is, this year Illinois is the example of how to expand gun rights, with fed court help, in a dem cominated state.

          As opposed to Colorado which is the cautionary warning of what happens when a state flips dem.

          But that shows what organization and having “boots on the ground” can do. Illinois gunnies have have been on the ramparts for years and have this fight every month it seems.

          1. I agree. There is much we can study from Illinois. A may issue state now shall issue is nothing to scoff at in this environment.

            1. Acutally they went from No Carry at all to Shall issue.

              And May Issue was on the table. That they kept it from going May Issue is the big thing.

              (As we’re seeing getting rid of May Issue is the tough nut to crack. And this makes it so there’s carry in every state AND it expands the Shall Issue rolls. In one move the CCW overton window shifted one notch over).

              Bigger still is that they got it through with only a symbolic Private Sale ban in return.

              Interestingly if Ill had a May Issue law it would have had a lower chance of it being struck down. Since the courts seem rather comfortable with May Issue.

              1. Ah yes… of course. How could I forget so quickly that state was no issue!

                1. It moves the debate so that No-Issue doesn’t become an option. Instead the positions are now May, Shall, and Permitless Carry.

                  With Shall being the bulk of the states and the other two being “fringe” positions.

                  Where before the CCW revolution (late 80’s) half the states were May Issue, there were about half a dozen shall issue and over a dozen No Issue states.

                  That was a time where the “mainstream” would be between May Issue and No Issue.

                  Interestingly, EVERY May issue state left was May Issue pre-86.

                  1. The reality is PA really is a may issue state. The Sheriff has wide subjective discretion when it comes to the character clause and his/her background investigation. Now, most county sheriffs are shall issues and some, like Berks County, are shall issue on the spot. But it just takes on election to change a sheriff and screw gun owners in a county.

                  2. Interesting… It would be great for us to see NJ become shall issue in our lifetimes.

      2. I registered as Democrat a few yrs ago ,can vote for the lesser of their two evils and when I get into a debate with a Progressive Democrat and they start the your a Rep. I can pull my card and tell them not all democrats are progressive fools

  2. The real issue in 2014 is going to be turn out. Polls really mean nothing. A lot can happen in 14 months. Remember when the polls had Romney winning and BHO at 44% approval. Odd things happen. Corbett needs to get on his game in these last 14 months. This up coming election does not have a U.S. Senate seat up for grabs, and it’s generally a low turn out election. Unlike the POTUS, the PA gov has little to no executive authority to harm us. Keeping the PA house and senate pro gun should be our focus. There are still a lot of pro-gun middle state dems in PA. Look how many dems voted for the castle doctrine – twice.

  3. Well, news comes just now that A+ rated Rep. Dick Hess just passed away. The district should be able to retain a pro-gun candidate, presumably GOP. But still, it’s not good news when our people die.

    1. Part of the reason reps have to retire and pass the torch. It was never meant to be a position for life.

      1. To be fair to him, it appears he died because of an infection he got in the hospital during a surgery. That’s not the most predictable situation. (Although with how often you hear about people being hospitalized multiple times for things they picked up in a hospital, maybe it is the norm now.)

        1. He’s been a rep for almost 30 years and before that won his first election in 1971 as a Bradford County row officer.

  4. Just saw that another MAIG, Ed Pawlowski, the current mayor of Allentown, is also putting in his bid to run for Governor.

    1. Um, yeah, that’s what this entire post is about. Didn’t you catch the sentence “Today comes news that a Bloomberg ally currently serving with MAIG has taken the legal steps to announce a run for governor.” that specifically links to the story of his campaign getting their legal entities in order?

  5. This election would be difficult for me if I lived in PA. I’m a Penn State alum, and I am really angry at the way Corbett failed to prosecute Jerry Sandusky in 1998 and 2001. What makes me even angrier is the way Corbett, like many others, has tried to make Joe Paterno the sole scapegoat for the entire scandal. I have yet to hear Corbett say he regrets his inaction, all I’ve heard is a bunch of excuses why he couldn’t or wouldn’t do anything. I know I’m not the only alum who feels this way, and that’s why the Democrats smell blood. PSU alumni are huge voting block in PA, and they have not been kind to anyone who was in a position of power in the university back in November 2011. Every single incumbent alumni Board of Trustees member has been voted out when they have come up for re-election. The Democratic candidate would have to be really, really bad for me to cast a vote for Corbett.

    1. I’m going to be really frank about the view of those of us who don’t worship at the altar of Penn State. We view it as people willing to give up their guns just to protect the image of Penn State football. As an outsider who moved here, but who understands a culture that values college football to a ridiculous degree, I don’t see where people have the view that Corbett tried to hang the blame on Paterno. I read the grand jury documents when the accusations were leveled, and Paterno’s own actions and statements condemned Paterno. The fact is that better coaches with better records have been let go from colleges for problems that happened under Paterno’s watch that have nothing to do with Sandusky. Paterno is the only one responsible for his fall from grace.

      On the Corbett prosecution decisions, the fact is that this was not a case that could go forward without every t crossed and i dotted. Hell, the last I checked, they still haven’t even found that victim that was raped in the shower. The charges stemming from that are simply from the eyewitness report. When you have those kinds of problems in a case, and you’re going to level the serious accusations against a worshiped figure, then you sure as hell better make sure that the case is a good one. I haven’t seen anything to indicate that sets off my personal alarm bells about his handling of the case. Now, conveniently, Kathleen Kane hasn’t been willing to release any results of a promised investigation into Corbett’s handling of the case that she promised voters would be her top priority. Instead, she appears to be waiting to use her office as a political tool in order to generate bad headlines for him in 2014. But, hey, PSU alums can take comfort in that use of the office while she’s also changing up all of our reciprocity agreements without notice, putting gun owners at risk of unknowingly violating the laws…because Penn State!

      I’m glad to know that you’re not in Pennsylvania, to be honest. The fact is that Pennsylvania Democrats have been proposing outright confiscation since Newtown. But, hey, that’s totally not important because Penn State!

      I don’t mean to be completely bitchy in my response, but as someone who understands the culture around college football, lives in Pennsylvania, and still thinks the Paterno worship was way out of line, I basically read your comment as saying that it is totally worth it to convert Pennsylvania’s gun laws to New Jersey-style just because Tom Corbett didn’t make you feel good about your alma mater.

    2. I don’t mean to insult you, but people that think like you are exactly why we have a terrible AG like Kane. She is Bloomberg like, and just used the PSU scandal to get into office, and is now proceeding to screw gun owners and other people out of their rights.

      You can’t be angry at Corbett for not prosecuting in the early years- when he didn’t have the info that he needed. And yes, Paterno got screwed- but not really from Corbett as much as everybody else. Paterno was a scapegoat, no doubt, and he was guilty of being the guy in charge and that’t it.

      But you’d have to be extremely stupid to vote for anybody but Corbett for election if you are a gun owner. Honestly, who gives a shit about Penn State when the Dem’s nominees will do everything in their power to take away gun rights?

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