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Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association

Last Chance to Pass Castle Doctrine!

Over the past few months you and other gun owners have rallied, emailed, called and walked the halls of our capitol in support of getting Castle Doctrine passed in Pennsylvania. You have seen the ups and the downs of this process along with some of the frustration of seeing anti-gun politicians play games to prevent it’s passage and gun owners sometimes disagreeing about the best way forward.

But none of that matters right now because on Monday November 15th we have one last chance to pass Castle Doctrine, and we need your help to do it!

  • If you believe that gun owners should be able to legally defend themselves anywhere they have a right to be, we need you to tell your legislators one more time.
  • If you believe that gun owners shouldn’t be sued by their criminal attackers if they are forced to defend themselves, we need you to tell your legislators one more time.

All we need you to do is email Speaker Keith McCall immediately and politely urge him to to bring House Bill 1926 up for a vote on Monday November 15th and to vote for concurrence on it. Then if you want, you may follow your email with a phone call to his office (717-783-1375) on Monday morning.

Additionally, we strongly encourage you to email your state representative immediately and also call them on Monday morning, politely urging them to support a concurrence vote on HB1926. If you are not sure who your representative is, you can use PAFOA’s Politician Search Tool.

This has been a long journey with plenty of hard work, but with your help we can make it all pay off.


Pennsylvania Sends a Clear Message to Anti-Gun Leaders

Gun control advocates from New York, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into Pennsylvania in order to promote the Mike Bloomberg agenda & New York-style gun control in Tuesday’s elections.  The good news is that NRA members spoke up and told him that we would not let him buy our elections for his political pets.

MAIG Mayor: John Callahan
In a surprising margin of 15 points, Bloomberg’s ally in Bethlehem went down to stinging defeat to NRA-endorsed Rep. Charlie Dent. Gun owners turned out big in this race thanks to the work of NRA’s campaign field representative program, and we made sure to protect our Congressman who stands up for the rights of the district’s sportsmen and gun owners. This seat was a priority for gun owners in Pennsylvania due to the outside funds flowing in to unseat Rep. Dent and replace him with an anti-gun extremist.

CeaseFire PA & Brady Campaign Voter Fund Backed: Bryan Lentz
What what expected to be one of the closest races in Pennsylvania resulted in an 11 point lead when gun owners worked to get out the vote for Pat Meehan who was endorsed by NRA. Lentz staked the end of his political career on calls for more gun control by trying to undermine concealed carry reciprocity and working with various anti-gun groups to advance their wishlist in the state house. Those groups were certainly hoping to bring that kind of cooperation up to Congress, but through the volunteer efforts of NRA members and other active gun owners, we made sure that his antics were stopped.

Bloomberg & CeaseFire PA Backed: Dan Onorato
Dan Onorato, no matter how many commercials he ran telling us how to say his name, couldn’t get any traction in his campaign. Even though he had an advantage of the most competitive primary back in March that resulted in more candidate forum appearances and news coverage, his campaign could not excite his Democratic base, independents, or crossover Republicans. In a desperate attempt to seem relevant again, Onorato jumped on board with Bryan Lentz’s crusade to attack gun owners. The nine point loss to NRA-endorsed Attorney General Tom Corbett who has a record of going after criminals who misuse guns speaks volumes as to how well that campaign tactic worked.

Bloomberg & Brady Backed: Joe Sestak
With the Brady Campaign actively campaigning for him, Mayor Bloomberg coming to Pennsylvania for him, and CeaseFire PA actively targeting his opponent, Joe Sestak was the poster child for the gun control representation in Pennsylvania’s 2010 elections. When debating Arlen Specter, Sestak wouldn’t even acknowledge self-defense as a lawful reason to own firearms – a position that clearly put him far out of the mainstream in legal circles and with voters. With NRA members turning out in droves to support Pat Toomey, we can now look forward to one more vote in the US Senate.

CeaseFire PA Backed: Paul Drucker
Once a proud supporter of CeaseFire’s extreme policies, Paul Drucker was sent back home by voters this week. During his short term, Rep. Drucker consistently voted against our self-defense rights in committee and on the floor. NRA members came out in support of his A- rated opponent, Warren Kampf, to drive him over the margin for victory. Gun owners in the district now have a friend of their rights in office to rally behind.

CeaseFire PA Backed: Rick Taylor
Defeating an incumbent is usually tough, but when NRA members know that their rights are on the line, they’ll turn out to get the job done against an anti-right lawmaker. When Rep. Taylor won by only 419 votes in 2008, there was an opportunity for a rematch. While NRA members didn’t know where Todd Stephens stood on their issue at the time, in 2010, we learned that he scored an A- on his questionnaire and earned the NRA’s endorsement. This year, we welcome Stephens to the legislature and look forward to his support.

CeaseFire PA Backed: Mark Painter
With no history on our issue, it was unknown early in the campaign whether or not Painter would stand up for what is right or reach out to gun control advocates. He opted to refuse any questions from NRA members and reached out to CeaseFire PA, a move that won him no love from gun rights advocates in his district. Rep. Tom Quigly has a record, and earned the support of NRA in this race. NRA members made sure to reward his support and sent Mr. Painter back home.

CeaseFire PA Backed: Shannon Meehan
Gun control groups cannot bring out the votes for candidates, even in suburban Philadelphia. Meehan learned that lesson when he went up against NRA-endorsed Rep. Nicholas Micozzie. Eager to make sure that their Second Amendment rights and outdoor heritage were protected, NRA members helped Rep. Micozzie cruise to victory this week.

Other Losses for Mayor Bloomberg
Earlier this year, gun owners in the 14th Senate District sent Bloomberg ally Tom Leighton back to his hometown in his Democratic primary. They made sure that the Senate seat remains in pro-gun hands by electing Rep. John Yudichak. In the same corner of the state, one MAIG mayor realized that his affiliation with the gun control group tied him to far more restrictive policies than he would otherwise support. (With a C rating from NRA, he still wouldn’t be considered a regular ally of gun owners.) Bill Goldsworthy dropped out of the group when he sought higher office, but it was not enough to overcome the incumbent in Tuesday’s general election. However, with one less mayor fighting to advance Mike Bloomberg’s extreme agenda, gun owners are still better off.

These aren’t the only losses suffered by Bloomberg, his new group Americans United for Safe Streets, his old group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the other group he’s funding CeaseFire PA, and his ally the Brady Campaign. However, this is just a sample to illustrate what gun owners can do when we work together.


Lose Your Rights if You Don’t Exercise Them: Tom Corbett Shows His Support for Gun Rights in Pennsylvania

What if every gun store in Pennsylvania was shut down on January 18, 2011? Did you know that anti-gun groups are actually testing the waters for such a proposal here in the Keystone State?

Every election year, we hear every candidate claim that this is the “most important election ever.” Depending on the issues you care about, it may be true. Just one look at the legislative battle over Castle Doctrine should be a reminder to gun owners that even when we have overwhelming support, frustrating obstacles can get in the way of meaningful reform. This year, we have the power to change state government and get the reform we need in Pennsylvania.

Trusted pro-gun organizations such as Firearm Owners Against Crime and The National Rifle Association have issued endorsements that thousands of gun owners will use when they go to the polls. While PAFOA does not issue endorsements, our members did submit questions that we passed along to both gubernatorial candidates on the ballot in November to find out more about their views on various issues that gun owners face right now.

Only one candidate responded. This alone should speak volumes about the respect that any candidate will show to you as a constituent – let alone tens of thousands of constituents active with PAFOA.

Attorney General Tom Corbett took the time to respond to concerns about future legislative attacks, real crime policy concerns facing Pennsylvanians, and what he has done in his previous experience to support our Second Amendment rights. Here’s a brief look at the messages he has for gun owners across Pennsylvania:

Lawful Sale of Firearms & Ammunition

CeaseFire PA sent their own questionnaires (PDF) to candidates earlier this year to test the waters for rather extreme policies – including closing down gun stores within an arbitrary, undefined distance of any school, daycare center, park, or residential area. This policy, brought to the national scene in 2008 by then-presidential candidate Barack Obama’s past support for it, would effectively shut down nearly every gun store in Pennsylvania. President Obama supported a ban on these small businesses within a 5-mile radius of any park or school. When testing the waters on this subject, Dan Onorato didn’t exactly say no to the idea. CeaseFire PA merely listed him as “No Position.”

Tom Corbett, on the other hand, recognized exactly what this would do to lawful businesses in Pennsylvania and made it clear he would not support such an extreme policy. He added: Interference with the locations of responsible firearms retailers would not serve a public policy goal and could create an unnecessary inconvenience to sportsmen.”

Gun Bans vs Current Enforcement

Political leaders in some urban areas of the state have called fore more restrictions on lawful firearms owners when crime spikes or makes headlines. We all know that gun bans wouldn’t stop criminals intent on killing innocent people, but some politicians do take these bans seriously.

Tom Corbett was clear in his opposition to reviving bans styled on the Clinton Gun Ban of the 1990’s, and it is a stark contrast to his opponent who voice enthusiastic support for a state-level ban and federal ban on firearms based on cosmetic features.

Going above and beyond the issue of gun bans, Corbett went straight to the heart of the crime problem and highlighted his own effective record on the issue: “As Attorney General, I formed a Gun Violence Task Force to target illegal firearms trafficking and straw purchasers in southeastern Pennsylvania. So far, that effort has netted nearly 500 arrests and seized nearly 1,000 firearms from suspects who illegally possessed or trafficked them. Effective prosecutors are necessary to ensure that the disposition of the criminal cases reflects the severity of the offense, but the entire community must also demand accountability from our judges to ensure that violent offenders are not continually permitted to reoffend.”

Beyond Talk: The Practical Impact on Gun Owners

What stands out the most about Attorney General Corbett’s answers may well be his reminder that he has had a very practical impact on the lives of Pennsylvania’s gun owners. Sometimes we forget that these large issues do really influence our every day lives. For those who carry, for those looking to see criminals put behind bars, and those who celebrated with us in the landmark cases against gun bans in Washington, DC and Chicago, Tom Corbett has been working for us: “In addition to my commitment to combat violence by increased enforcement of current law, I have had the opportunity to protect 2nd Amendment rights by joining in the successful litigation against unconstitutional handgun restrictions in Washington, DC and Chicago. Since taking office I have also more than tripled Pennsylvania’s concealed carry reciprocity agreements. As governor, I will maintain my commitment to protecting constitutional rights and my support of Pennsylvania’s great sporting heritage.”

Our Civic Duty

It is not only our right to vote in free elections, but our duty to be informed citizens when we cast our ballots on Election Day. Make sure that you show up to the polls on November 2, and please vote freedom first. Stand up for those who defend our rights.

Many groups who issue endorsements also have contacts to get involved in key races throughout Pennsylvania. If you’ve got an hour or two to dedicate to freedom this weekend, contact Firearm Owners Against Crime or the National Rifle Association to help turn out the vote for pro-rights candidates.


Important Castle Doctrine Vote Monday 9/27!

Over the past year gun owners in Pennsylvania have made great strides in getting Castle Doctrine (H.B.40), past all the anti-gun roadblocks placed in our way, and believe me, they’ve tried every trick in the book. On Monday, September 27, there will be a pivotal vote on a discharge petition, which would put a stop to all the dirty tricks from anti-gun politicians, and get us one step closer to an actual vote on the House floor. The Castle Doctrine bill that has wide bi-partisan support, and should easily pass if we can get this discharge petition moving H.B.40 forward.

Because of this we need you to contact your state representative and politely let them know you expect them to support the discharge petition and floor vote for H.B.40. If you are not sure who your state representative is you can find out using PAFOA’s Politician Search.

Your action on this matter is urgently necessary for us to pass these much needed reforms. Reforms that would protect law-abiding gun owners, like yourself, from prosecution and lawsuits should you ever be forced to defend yourself inside, or outside of your home.

Thank you,
Daniel Pehrson
Founder & President
Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
http://www.pafoa.org/


We Win!

The Second Amendment is now incorporated to cover state and local governments according to today’s opinion released in McDonald vs. Chicago. According to SCOTUS Blog, the decision has been released today, and we’ll have more details as the opinion is shared with the public.

In the meantime, please take a few minutes to thank the members of the legislative branches of government who worked on our behalf to encourage the Supreme Court toward this position. Read more


The Move to Gut Pennsylvania’s Concealed Carry Reciprocity Agreements

A few weeks ago Bryan Lentz (D-161) introduced House Bill 2536, a bill designed to gut the way reciprocity of Pennsylvania Licenses To Carry Firearms are handled in the Commonwealth. With a few small changed to wording, Rep. Lentz’s bill attempts to implement the misguided anti-gun agenda laid out by Philadelphia’s anti-gun crowd and remove the ability for Pennsylvania residents to carry a firearm on an out-of-state permit. The justification by gun control proponents for such a drastic restriction on your rights boils down to a handful of claims that Pennsylvania residents who were arrested (but not yet convicted) who subsequently had their permits revoked, continued to carry on out-of-state permits. In the eyes of anti-rights groups, you are apparently guilty until proven innocent.

The truth behind the matter however is that most Pennsylvania residents who seek out-of-state permits do so not to avoid the law, but to avoid abuses by their issuing authority, namely the Philadelphia Police Department. It is well known among Philadelphia residents and anyone who is paying attention that Philadelphia only begrudgingly complies with state law when issuing LTCFs and does everything in it’s power to prevent Philadelphia residents from receiving them. They force you to apply in person and limit the hours they allow this to the middle of work days, they demand additional documentation not outlined in state law and require character witnesses to execute affidavits. If you can actually get this far it is not unlikely that the Philadelphia Police Department will look for any excuse to deny issuing your permit, such as in the case of one Korean War Vet who claims being denied for having admitted to “pointing guns and shooting at people” – in reference to his service record.

These abuses are just examples of what happens in the process of applying for a LTCF through the Philadelphia Police Department, should you actually receive one they will look for any excuse to revoke it. For example, if a criminal breaks into your house and steals a firearm, the Philadelphia Police will twist that into a justification to revoke your LTCF. As ridiculous as it sounds, this happens every day and may explain why Philadelphia County is responsible for 30-40% of all state-wide revocations each year.

The irony of House Bill 2536 is that in attempting to use poor arguments to push extreme legislation, anti-gun forces have simply shone a spotlight on abuses by issuing authorities throughout the Commonwealth. As a result gun owners need to be oppose House Bill 2536 in it’s current form (printer’s no. 3790) and demand reform to prevent subjective abuses by issuing authorities.


Committee Vote on Castle Doctrine and 3 Anti-Gun Bills Tuesday

Tomorrow, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Castle Doctrine legislation – a move we’ve been waiting on since November 19 when they held a hearing! However, it comes at a price.

In addition to the vote on the important self-defense reforms, the committee is planning to vote on three anti-gun bills on the same day!

Contact the members of the House Judiciary Committee today. Tell them that you want their support on HB40 – the Castle Doctrine bill. This specific Castle Doctrine bill will ensure that law-abiding gun owners can feel safe knowing that they can defend themselves from attackers whether it is inside or outside your home. It also protects citizens from the expense of fighting civil lawsuits filed by criminals or their families when self-defense was justified.

But tell them that they must vote down the three gun control bills:

  • HB1043 which would create a “Firearm Trafficking Czar” and lead to another bureaucratic agency looking for ways to restrict gun sales in Pennsylvania.
  • HB1044 that would end preemption and allow cities to create their own gun bans and carry rules, and
  • HB1045 that would arbitrarily ban certain semi-automatic firearms in the Keystone State.

Self-defense reform should not come with a price that includes gun bans, wasteful spending on a new government-funded anti-gun leader, and gutting our state’s gun laws.

Contact the members of the House Judiciary Committee today. Based on the response to Castle Doctrine in other states, we know that gun control groups will get involved in this fight, making it seem as if we will have gun fights on every street corner. As we know, such dire predictions have yet to come true. Make sure you voice is heard! Call, e-mail, or even tweet – just make sure your voice is heard!

« Email Judiciary Committee Members with two clicks! »

« Show support for Castle Doctrine on Twitter with two clicks! »

Below are the members of the committee who have not signaled clear support for our rights on these four bills. Please focus your efforts on contacting these lawmakers.

Representative Phone Number Alternative Contact
State Rep. Thomas Caltagirone (D-127) (717) 787-3525 Email
State Rep. Kathy Manderino (D-194) (717) 787-1254 Email
State Rep. John Pallone (D-54) (717) 783-1819 Email
State Rep. Dom Costa (D-21) (717) 783-9114 Email
State Rep. Joseph Brennan (D-133) (717) 772-9902 Email
State Rep. Paul Drucker (D-157) (717) 705-2003 Email

Twitter
State Rep. Bryan Lentz (D-161) (717) 787-8574 Email

Twitter
State Rep. Josh Shapiro (D-153) (717) 783-7619 Email
Twitter
State Rep. Greg Vitali (D-166) (717) 787-7647 Email
State Rep. Chelsa Wagner (D-22) (717) 783-1582 Email
Twitter
State Rep. Ronald Waters (D-191) (717) 772-9850 Email
State Rep. Ron Marsico (R-105) (717) 783-2014  
State Rep. Mike Vereb (R-150) (717) 705-7164 Twitter
State Rep. Will Gabig (R-199) (717) 772-2280  
State Rep. Dick Stevenson (R-8) (717) 783-6438 Email
State Rep. Glen Grell (R-87) (717) 783-2063  
State Rep. Kate Harper (R-61) (717) 787-2801 Twitter
State Rep. Bernie O’Neill (R-29) (717) 705-7170 Email
State Rep. Katie True (R-41) (717) 705-7161  

New Technology Makes Pro-Gun Events More Social

At last month’s Right to Keep and Bear Arms Rally, PAFOA not only embraced using Twitter and Facebook as a means of spreading news, but members used coordinated tags to have and track conversations about the events.  Using the hashtag #2ARally, gun owners were able to label their live reports so folks at home could track them, and they could find each other in real time and in real life through this new digital medium.

This weekend, that same example will play itself out on a much larger scale at the NRA Annual Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Much like PAFOA, NRA has now set up a Twitter account to make announcements, share news, and stir up the conversation about the event – @AnnualMeetings.  In addition, they have embraced a hashtag already used by members, #NRAAM.  It will allow members to keep track of what others are doing, seeing, and experiencing on the floor.

In addition, members are organizing a Foursquare swarm for users of the location services social application.  By “checking in” using the service, it announces to the user’s closest friends that they are taking part in a massive event – upwards of 80,000 people are predicted to attend this year’s festivities.

Given that the NRA Annual Meeting is a much larger affair than the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Rally, it also makes sense that NRA has finally expanded into mobile technology for users on site to keep up with everything going on.  In recent weeks, they have announced both an iPhone app and a mobile Annual Meeting website.  With more than 6 acres of exhibit halls and events that span three days, it makes sense to enter into this new arena of technology.

With the NRA bringing their show to Pittsburgh in 2011, the first use of many of these technologies will be a great trial run in Charlotte.

In the mean time, are any PAFOA members planning to attend the events in Charlotte?  If so, will you use Twitter, Foursquare, or the mobile tools? If you’re staying at home this year, will you follow along with the Twitter conversation by using the hashtag? Give us your answers in the PAFOA Blog forum.


5th Annual Right to Keep & Bear Arms Rally at the Capitol

Yesterday, hundreds gathered outside the capitol to declare support for the 2nd Amendment. Speakers included Suzanna Gratia Hupp, Wayne LaPierre (NRA), Larry Pratt (GOA), Marinelle Thompson (2nd Amendment Sisters), and more.

Following the rally, participants formed over a dozen groups which visited the offices of state representatives. Dialoging with both pro-2nd Amendment and anti-gun legislators, seeking support for a number of pro-rights bills.

Articles reporting on the event:


Hitching a Ride to Harrisburg for the 2010 2A Rally

Want to rally with hundreds (maybe thousands!) of your fellow gun owners? Are you ready to tell lawmakers that it’s time for action on important issues like Castle Doctrine and our transportation laws? Are you still trying to figure out your own transportation plan?

REGISTER NOW FOR THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS RALLY

PAFOA has created special discussion threads on our forums where you can organize with other gun owners for a ride share to Harrisburg. Whether you’ve got a full-sized van with rows of seating, a family sedan with a couple of spots around the baby seat, or a motorcycle with sidecar, you can find folks in your area who may be willing to share expenses and keep you company.

Region Counties Forum Thread
Lake Erie Region Crawford, Erie, Mercer & Venango Counties Forum Thread
Allegheny National Forest Region Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Potter, Tioga & Warren Counties Forum Thread
Valleys of the Susquehanna Region Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Juniata, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder & Union Counties Forum Thread
Pocono Mountain Region Bradford, Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne & Wyoming Counties Forum Thread
Lehigh Valley & Philadelphia Region Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton & Philadelphia Counties Forum Thread
PA Dutch Country/Hershey Region Adams, Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry & York Counties Forum Thread
Laurel Highlands Region Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Somerset & Westmoreland Counties Forum Thread
Pittsburgh Region Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence & Washington Counties Forum Thread