The Issue in PA At the Moment

Our neighbor Delaware will get a “red flag” law. There’s a bunch of bills working through the legislature in Pennsylvania right now. Quinn’s bill I’m not quite so concerned about, because it pertains to people that are already prohibited under current law. I’m more concerned about the “red flag” law working its way up in PA. On the surface, it would appear to have more due process than the early states that adopted these laws, like California. It’s something to keep an eye on. I think, overall, we’re probably better off if these don’t pass. In each of these mass shootings, we’ve seen that officials haven’t even done the barest amount of work under existing laws to intervene and prevent the shooters from legally acquiring firearms. I don’t see how adding more laws that no one will bother with is going to help. Mass shootings will still happen, and almost by definition, those are going to be committed by the people who managed to slip through the network of laws in place to try to prevent this kind of thing.

NRA’s concession on this “red flag” issue, in exchange for more due process, is pissing a lot of people off. I don’t like to losing either. You know what lobbyists also don’t like? Losing. A lot of people seem to think NRA lobbyists sit around all day thinking “Gee, what issue can we concede on next?” Do you think none of these people have anything to lose themselves? No. They are all gun owners. Almost all of them I’ve met are Gun Culture 2.0 types. They are not going to call a tactical retreat without a decent amount of necessity.

I’ll keep repeating this until I’m blue in the face, because a lot of people need to hear it: you don’t always have a choice between winning and losing. Sometimes it’s between losing badly and or not so badly. NRA will always take not so badly. Things get real unpredictable and stakes get real high when you throw all in. Sometimes you have to do that, but you need to know when to do that. Currently the defend at all costs ground are semi-auto rifles and magazine bans. That’s where the fight is. Don’t lose sight of that.

15 thoughts on “The Issue in PA At the Moment”

  1. “Things get real unpredictable and stakes get real high when you throw all in.”

    You mean like when the NRA went all in for Trump?

    1. I’d agree with that. The stakes have gotten very high with Trump. A lot higher than I’m comfortable with. NRA bet a lot on him and I’m not sure it’s going to be a winning bet over the long term.

      1. that was my contention on Trump (some short-term gains with some longer-term losses), but many people of the gun just Will Not Hear It.

        1. My worry is, and has been, that he’s the right’s Obama. To the people he appeals to, they are very energetic about him, but his appeal is narrow. Everyone else is either ho hum about Trump, or actively and intensely hates him. And Trump doesn’t have Obama’s talent for looking like the good guy while sticking it to his political opponents and whipping up the opposing base. Obama’s talent is he could troll his opponents, and only those being trolled realized he was doing it.

          Right now I think opposition to Trump is the only thing holding the Democratic Party together, and it’s dividing the Republican Party. There’s a reason politicians tend to be wishy washy mushes: if you’re actually going to take on the system, you better know what you’re doing, and have a plan. There’s a lot of elements of politics that I think come naturally to Trump. But I don’t think he has any grand plan, and I don’t think he’s a chess player. He likes this kind of high stakes game, and he plays it by ear. He’s either going to be the luckiest player in the history of the game, or take the whole thing crashing down tp rock bottom. I would not bet in which way it goes.

        2. I came back to take a peek, expecting I might have to defend my position, and I’m somewhat surprised to find I don’t have to. Do I detect progress in the firearms rights community?

          I remember all the arguments for throwing in with Trump, but I agreed with few of them. Mainly he did not seem like an authentic supporter of gun rights, or even of the fundamental concept of rights. His autocratic leanings were just too plain from the very beginning. So tactically, it was just as plain that he was going to be an extremely polarizing figure, and anyone hitching up too tightly to his wagon would be gambling that that wagon wasn’t going to go over a ledge.

          It appears gun owners and their organizations are incapable of just sitting on their hands when that is what is called for. Everyone expected the NRA to support whoever the Republican candidate was, and no one would have expected them to support Clinton, but support for Trump could have been “tacit” and not all-in. Endorsement could have come late, or never – there appears to be no codified law that an organization is required to endorse anyone, and even for a single-issue organization, the concept of an “endorsement” connotes belief in a candidate’s overall virtue — something that was clearly going to be absent in the case of Trump.

          If the Trump Administration produces a “Blue Wave” anywhere near the scale expected, it is almost certainly going to be a major setback for gun rights. I can’t help but wonder about the tactical/strategic acumen of political analysts who failed completely to see the potential for that. One could be led to wonder if defense of our rights was their real agenda.

          1. The 3 best possible GOP Candidates in 2016 to become President were Trump, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz. Trump is who we got because he campaigned in the most proficient and effective manner for the 2016 GOP Presidential Ticket. I preferred Cruz or Paul before Trump.

            Just ask yourself what kind of position we’d be in if a spineless, cowardly, jellyfish “Republican” like John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Lindsay Graham, or Jeb Bush were President right now.

            The potential “Blue Wave” for 2018 would be even bigger than what is being predicted right now with Trump.

            You guys might not wanna say it, but I’ll say it; Outside of Cruz or Paul being President, Trump is the best thing that happened for us. If Jeb Bush, Marco, Rubio, John Kasich, or Lindsay Graham, or any other Republican were President right now, we’d have the following;

            1). Assault Weapons and High Capacity Magazines Ban.

            2). Gun Ownership age limit raised to 21.

            3). Universal Backround Checks and a National Gun Registry.

            4). A national 3-Day Waiting Period.

            1. I was a NeverTrumper, but I agree. Trump is much better than the others outside of Cruz and Paul

            2. All that would have required 60 votes in the Senate, zero amendments to weaken any of the major pieces of the bill, and a majority leadership who was hard and fast to *LOSE* seats over the vote and risk a flip.

              So, no, I do not believe that would not have happened with any Republican president. And a Republican president pushing for an AWB, mag bans, and waiting periods? I mean, George W. Bush “supported” an AWB, in theory, but funny how it never made it to his desk.

  2. Here in AZ our governor tried to push gun control. Ducey tried to ram it at 2AM same forcing full votes hours after being introduced when people are going to bed. Like how the SAFE act got passed in New York. Didn’t work and the bill has been significantly improved but still has little traction.

  3. There is some good news out there for us. The vast majority of (including the very liberal) college students that attend our shooting range here in Southeast Ohio are joining gun rights groups, and even if not joining them, are happily making donations. We’re beating the gun-ban/confiscate advocates in the actual “grassroots” sense.

    That being said, the pro-gun and pro- due-process crowds know damned well that these “red-flag” laws are trojan horses to encourage the rafical-left to engage in political persecution of firearm owners and non-gunowners whom support gun rights. The 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments are thrown out the door with these red flag laws too.

    California is now advancing a “red flag law” that will enable coworkers and classmates to send a gunowner off to the guillotines. If you’re a pro-gun college student in California, you can now look forward to having your “progressive” classmates scream “J’accuse!”, and all of your rights are gone.

  4. Reading the “red flag” bill that passed here, there are serious due process issues with it. The “fixes” to the due process problems weren’t really fixes at all.

    I still contend that these laws make the problem of guns and mental illness worse. They’re convoluted and confusing to read, and the average person is going to see such a law and go, “OK, I own guns, I don’t want them taken away, I’m not saying shit to any doctor or therapist, period.” It’s a massive disincentive to people who might need help getting it, and yet, their fears are not at all irrational.

    These bills basically turn due process on it’s head. It’s “We’ll take your guns, then you have to petition the court to get them back. I don’t think it’s tinfoil hat type thinking to conclude that the practical impact of these bills make them ripe for abuse.

    Now, DE’s bill isn’t nearly as bad as MD’s red flag bill, which has zero due process and would allow pretty much anyone to petition the court to take guns away.

    Interesting tidbit, the DE bill includes “licensed social worker” as a mental health professional.

    1. The thing is, you stand a much better chance at getting a court reversal *WITH* serious due process implications in these bills. So, no, I don’t think they should pass without serious due process protections. The basic premise is actually something I think most could live with.

      But this is, once again, another way that the anti-gunners can’t see the forest for the trees. They risk kicking the hornet’s nest (such as the ACLU) with overreach that has the potential to go beyond “BECAUSE GUNZ!!!” type rulings in the appellate courts.

  5. Maryland just got a red flag law, Hogan just signed it:

    The final text of the enrolled bill is here:

    MDs final bill has more due process tham FL, but bascially mirrors and parallels the Protection From Absuse statute in MD. There are aome protections for your guns (cases) and a better defined process to get them back.

    I can tell you, people are really pissed. Word of mouth has it that NRA lobbyists told MD Republicans we got “90%” of what we wanted. To be sure, the text of MDs law is light years better than FL. The people who can file a risk order was significantly narrowed (from the original) to bascially family, health professionals, and law enforcement (the original included “any interested parties”). I would have liked to see the evidentiary standard for an interim order raised to probable cause (final languange is “reasonable grounds”).

    As a model EPRO law, what MD enacted is not horrible. It has due process protections and a mechanism to protect your guns and get them back. Two changes Id tweak, I’d raise the evidentiary standard and incease stakes for false claims.

    I have mixed feelings. Maryland did give up ground, but not nearly as much as Florida or VT for peets sake- no magazine or guns bans for 18-20 yr olds. So there is that.

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