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Currently Browsing: Pennsylvania

What the LTC Data Can Tell Us

I just wrote about the trends in my own county’s license to carry a firearm issuance and noted that year-over-year, the numbers were up more than 65%. So you’d think that I’d be cheering this piece at The Reload for covering the statewide numbers and looking at how Philadelphia County was out of whack with the rest.

But I’m not.

Why? Because while I did look at year-over-year data in my post, it was presented with very important contextual information – like the closure of offices, shifting demand, and where we stood compared to 5 years ago which matters for looking at trends. Now that still isn’t the entire picture, but it puts the 65% increase into an important context that takes into account those with expiring licenses from 5 years earlier. (If everyone renewed exactly when they needed to do so, that is responsible for 42% of the issuances in 2020.) And the introduction of an online application may have shifted more early 2021 renewals into 2020 – all data we won’t be able to see in trends until next spring.

Are license issuances up? Without question. The questions are on how much.

And here’s why The Reload’s piece leaving out information about the shifts in demand bothers me. Because how you present data can change the picture of things quite a bit.

Take the graph below. In red, I used Stephen Gutowski’s model of strictly looking at year-over-year data to plot change in demand on my county since 2004. (I have my county’s historical numbers saved for easy calculations, but not the statewide data.) According to his method, our county’s issuance rates have gone on a wild ride of a low of -26.1% decline (2014) to the high of 65.1% growth (2020) with repeated declines in 2019, 2017, 2014, 2010, 2008, and 2004.

But that steadier blue line? That’s the rate of change on issuances for rolling 5 year periods – the period that licenses are valid in Pennsylvania. That shows a much steadier rate of change from a low of -4.8% (2004) to a high of 16.8% (2013) with small declines only in 2018, 2006, and 2004.

And, if you want raw numbers, here are the rates of currently valid licenses for the same county over the same period (total of previous 5 years of issued licenses). This trend line looks very different than the rates of change in issuance…

Why does this look so different than even my tamer rolling 5 year numbers above? Because of the way it accounts for surge years. The end of 2012 and 2013 were incredibly high due to the political fallout and threats following Sandy Hook in late 2012, so we saw a license issuance drop in 2014 because all of those new licenses issued 1-2 years prior were still valid. That doesn’t mean that all of those newly licensed people disappeared. They should be part of the numbers through at least 2018 when those 2013 LTCs expired. (We did actually see a very small drop between 2017 and 2018 – not all of those people who got their licenses opted to renew them, clearly.)

So while year-over-year data has a place in analysis of where we stand with the right to bear arms movement and possible sympathetic voters in Pennsylvania, it’s not the whole picture and no one should get too excited by extreme swings up because they are usually followed by slight drops later on.

Shapiro’s Bloomberg Appeasing 80% Ruling

Attorney General is often a good stepping stone to Governor. So if you have those kinds of ambition, you’ll want an issue that isn’t liable to get a Virginia-sized revolt going, but that will please your party’s paymasters. Shapiro has found his issue. Bloomberg has a huge hard-on for stopping “ghost guns,” so if you ask me, that’s what this is about. It’s a good old fashioned moral panic among the right kind of people, and these days, thanks to social media, we do love ourselves some moral panic.

Granted, this is just about the most useless thing in the world: literally the only person this is going to deter is someone who has no ill intent. The only thing I can think of that’s more useless are “no guns allowed” signs where the sign is basically the security plan. Shapiro has decided that hunks of inert metal need to be regulated. I suppose you could throw it at someone and cause a decent head injury.

Shapiro’s opinion hinges on the definition in the UFA of “may readily be restored.” OK then. How much machining is needed to qualify? Notice he doesn’t say 80% lower. Is a block of aluminum now a firearm? I have literally no idea how to comply with this opinion. It’s essentially nonsense.

Attorney Josh Prince is of the opinion that if taken to court, it would not end well for the commonwealth, and I hope he’s right.

Indicted Philly Rep Was Gun Control Leader

John Richardson has done some good citizen journalism on the indictment of Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell by Josh Shaprio’s office.

Targeting Judges for Following the Law

The Mayor of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County Chief Executive targeting a judge for following the law is despicable, and I hope gun voters will have Judge Joseph James’ back come election time. It’s a consequence of having elected judges in Pennsylvania. If Judge James had ruled the other way, we certainly would have done the same. But in this case, the law is unambiguously on our side. Do you remember the judge that threw out the preemption enhancement because it was unconstitutionally attached to a metal theft bill? I don’t. Because the law was plausibly not on our side. The judge had to make a call that’s within the space of the law. In this case, they are looking to throw their weight around and intimidate the judiciary into using political expedience rather than the law to inform their decision making.

To me, this looks like a couple of petty tyrants upset they didn’t get their way.

Very Good News

Preemption in Pennsylvania is safe for now. But don’t take it for granted. They are attacking preemption everywhere, and they aren’t going to stop here.

Be sure to vote next week on November 5th. Especially if you’re in Virginia.

Good Turnout at Pittsburgh Protest

AtI’ll take 800 by press accounts! We need the politicians to realize people still care. Because Governor Wolf, now in his lame duck term, is getting more aggressive about gun bans. You can count on the media counts being the low limit. I’d believe 1000 or even 1500 if the media is claiming 800, which is pretty good for a preemption fight. Preemption is a hill to die on, as in defend at all cost. Without it, there would be no way to transport firearms without risking arrest and prosecution, because no one can know all the local ordinances and laws. The other side knows that, which is why they are trying to eliminate it. Their goal is to ban guns, but absent that they’d be OK with making it so legally risky that no sane person would bother.

People think all the gun ban movement will come on strong with jack booted thugs coming door to door, but that’s not how it will happen. They’ll be happy to have you defy the law, and keep your guns in your safe. They just need to wait you out. In a generation there will be no gun culture. That’s how they’ll win. They’ll never cross the line enough to provoke violent resistance. They don’t have to.

This Could be a Play for Preemption

Pittsburgh is looking at bucking preemption again. The risk here is that we now have a Dem Supreme Court who has already demonstrated they have absolutely zero respect for the rule of law by, without having any lawful authority, usurped the legislature’s power to determine how legislative districts are drawn.

If they repeal preemption, which is plainly spelled out in law, and which has been previously upheld by several previous PA Supreme Courts, in my opinion they will have become an utterly lawless, tyrannical body, with no legitimacy that is worth anyone’s respect. No more than a criminal enterprise, acting under color of law.

Do the Dems keep wanting to raise the stakes?

Red Flag is Back in PA

NRA is alerting members on PA bill HB2227. This is the “Red Flag” bill that the GOP has started loving so much.

Under House Bill 2227, a law-abiding gun owner could lose their right to own or possess a firearm and then have the burden placed on them to prove the false nature of the petition in order to have their firearms returned.  This legislation does nothing to improve public safety, and allows for an extremely broad definition of who can petition to remove someone’s Second Amendment rights.

I know other groups are also opposing HB 2060. This basically mirrors federal law on PFAs, which is probably why NRA isn’t opposing it. If you want to throw opposition to HB 2060 into your letters, it couldn’t hurt. It’s not like I think gun control works worth a damn.

Pennsylvania Attorney General and Governor Set Themselves Up to be Sued

Today, if I go to Defense Distributed’s CAD files, I get this:

Defense Distributed Shut Down in PA

Our AG and Governor are the reason why. Can you articulate where in Pennsylvania law it says I can’t build my own firearm? You can’t, because it doesn’t exist. So what is the legal basis for shutting off access to a website? This is thuggish behavior, and the Governor and AG ought to be rightly sued over it under Section 1983 the the Civil Rights Act. And the best part is I get to pay for it! This has no basis in law. The issue here is that the AG and Governor don’t like something, and have chosen to unlawfully censor it.

It only took me 2 minutes to get around it with Tor. Can’t stop the signal.

Looks Like PA’s “Red Flag” Bill is Getting a Floor Vote

A vote could happen as soon as today, so be sure to call. I made probably a weekend’s worth of work for myself getting my club involved.

I don’t understand why people think we need HR 2227, the “Red Flag” law, when it’s trivially easy to make someone a prohibited person in Pennsylvania by 302ing them for psychological observation, and we already have prohibitions for people who file a Protection of Abuse order. This is probably harder to get than a PFA. So what’s the point? I think the point is Bloomberg thinks he can get this, and he’s right. Republicans love themselves some law-and-order, and if you can figure out how to get them chasing after that bone, you can beat NRA.

My issue with this bill is that in certain jurisdictions, like Philadelphia, these ERPOs are going to be rubber stamped. They’ll issue the order as a matter of routine. I also don’t really like that it defines “Family or Household Member” as “other persons related by consanguinity.” I have non-immediately family members deeply concerned about my mental health because I shoot. I get their are penalties for abuse, but what about cranks that think anyone who likes guns is off their rocker? What’s to prevent an abusive husband from using this to disarm a spouse? Nothing. I am also disturbed that the evidentiary standard for applying an ERPO is “preponderance of the evidence” (a lower standard) but getting one removed is “clear and convincing evidence” (a higher standard). The default legal disposition is “easy to get an ERPO, hard to get rid of an ERPO” which is exactly how it will be done in practice.

This also won’t do jack to stop mass shooters. We’ve seen in recent cases where authorities and families don’t take the barest of measures, readily available. So what’s adding more bullshit that’s only going to get abused by the authorities? I’m so glad we have the Republican Party to protect our gun rights. So glad. Such a great job they are doing.

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