PA Bill Number: SB883
Title: In criminal history record information, further providing for expungement.
Description: In criminal history record information, further providing for expungement. ...
Last Action: Referred to JUDICIARY
Last Action Date: Oct 7, 2019
4th Annual Preparing for an Armed Intruder Conference - 10/14/2019
Altoona Grand Hotel & Conference Center 1 Sheraton Drive, Altoona, PA
Concealed Carry Seminar Hosted by PA State Reps Garth Everett and Jeff Wheeland - 10/16/2019
Woodward Township Fire Hall 4147 N. Route 220 Hwy., Linden, PA
Rep. Jason Ortitay - An Evening with Matt Walsh - 10/17/2019
Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh/Southpointe 1000 Corporate Drive Canonsburg, PA
FOAC's Weekly Message For Sunday June 2nd 2019 :: 06/02/2019
Once again, we’ve had another horrifying example as to the complete lunacy of establishing gun free zones, especially in government buildings! The horrifying attack at the Virginia Beach municipal complex, on Friday 5/31, was made all the more tragic by the nearly immediate vitriolic response from gun control politicians and organizations calling for more gun control laws. From former VP Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former congressman Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker and many others put out calls for more gun control within a few hours of the tragedy.
The question of “How many more?” is a question that we ask ourselves all the time. Yet we seem institutionally paralyzed from taking the appropriate steps and recognizing that the current path we are on is self-destructive even though examples abound that there are better ways!
Empowering and encouraging the lawful carrying of firearms is something that our elected leaders and any open-minded media types (IF this exists) might want to consider. Virginia Beach bans employees from being able to carry guns. In addition, while it was indeed possible for a civilian to enter the “Operations Building” where the attack occurred and carry a gun, the “Operations Building,” as its name suggests, was a building where virtually only employees would be in. Note that the killer was a public employee and yet he still carried the gun into an area where he was banned from having a gun.
The picture below shows just how isolated this “operations” building is from the rest of the buildings.
Not all municipal governments in Virginia ban employees from carrying guns. For example, it is OK for employees to carry in Bedford and Campbell Counties.
For more info, check out CPRC for the list of mass public shootings and gun-free zones since 1950 in the US is available here. For some of the quotes from the killers themselves on explicitly picking targets where people won’t have guns, see the information here. The prevalence of mass public shootings around the world can be seen here. Of course, all the mass public shootings in Europe since at least 1980 have taken place in gun-free zones.
Of course, the media seems immune to even discussing these points. The same reasoning for arming teachers in public schools also applies to situations such as Virginia Beach. The fact is that the reasoning that disarming citizens makes us safer must be reconsidered in light of the threats that our society faces.
MAJOR PA RKBA VICTORY: PA Supreme Court: It is Unconstitutional for Law Enforcement to Act as if the Mere Possession of a Firearms is a Sign of Criminal Activity and Justifies “Stop and Frisk”
On Friday, May 31, the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court issued a significant 53-page majority opinion in the criminal appeal of Commonwealth v. Hicks. Firearms Owners Against Crime (FOAC) and seven Members of Pennsylvania’s General Assembly were joined by Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF) in filing an important coalition amicus brief cited by the Court supporting Hicks. The Court’s decision, concurring opinions, and the FOAC amicus brief can be viewed at https://blog.princelaw.com/2019/05/31/monumental-decision-from-the-pennsylvania-supreme-court-regarding-whether-the-open-carrying-of-a-firearm-is-reasonable-suspicion-of-a-crime/.
At issue was whether someone’s carrying of a firearm could be used as reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct, and thus justification for police to conduct a “stop-and-frisk” of the gun owner. The court ruled in Hicks that such searches and seizures, in the absence of other evidence are completely unlawful.
Let’s contrast a section from the Hawkins decision (with) the Hicks decision (5/31/2019) since they are both nearly identical in concept:
From the Hawkins decision:
The Commonwealth takes the radical position that police have a duty to stop and frisk when they receive information from any source that a suspect has a gun. Since it is not illegal to carry a licensed gun in Pennsylvania, it is difficult to see where this shocking idea originates, notwithstanding the Commonwealth's fanciful and histrionic references to maniacs who may spray schoolyards with gunfire and assassins of public figures who may otherwise go undetected. Even if the Constitution of Pennsylvania would permit such invasive police activity as the Commonwealth proposes -- which it does not -- such activity seems more likely to endanger than to protect the public. Unnecessary police intervention, by definition, [***8] produces the possibility of conflict where none need exist.
Commonwealth v. Hawkins, 547 Pa. 652, 657, 692 A.2d 1068, 1071 (1997)
From the Hicks decision:
Although the carrying of a concealed firearm is unlawful for a person statutorily prohibited from firearm ownership or for a person not licensed to do so, see 18 Pa.C.S. §§ 6105-06, there is no way to ascertain an individual’s licensing status, or status as a prohibited person, merely by his outward appearance. As a matter of law and common sense, a police officer observing an unknown individual can no more identify whether that individual has a license in his wallet than discern whether he is a criminal. Unless a police officer has prior knowledge that a specific individual is not permitted to carry a concealed firearm, and absent articulable facts supporting reasonable suspicion that a firearm is being used or intended to be used in a criminal manner, there simply is no justification for the conclusion that the mere possession of a firearm, where it lawfully may be carried, is alone suggestive of criminal activity. (emphasis added)
The coalition’s brief, which was relied on heavily in the majority opinion, argued that the Pennsylvania and federal constitutions prohibit searches and seizures based on a suspicion of criminal activity due to carrying a firearm. According to the brief, “As protected by the Second and Fourth Amendments to the United States Constitution and the Pennsylvania Constitution . . . the mere open or conceal carrying of a firearm cannot establish reasonable articulable suspicion of criminal conduct, in the absence of additional indications of unlawful activity.”
The Court agreed, noting “that the government may not target and seize specific individuals without any particular suspicion of wrongdoing, then force them to prove that they are not committing crimes.”
“Hicks’ position is supported by several amici curiae, including Members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Firearms Owners Against Crime, the Firearms Policy Coalition, and the Firearms Policy Foundation. Hicks’ amici argue that the Robinson rule is contrary to this Court’s precedent and to the general teachings of the Supreme Court of the United States’ Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. Amici further point to numerous decisions of the courts of other states and federal appellate courts that have addressed the specific question at issue here, and which have held that mere possession of a concealed firearm provides no basis for an investigative detention,” Supreme Court Justice Wecht wrote for the majority.
FOAC is ‘very satisfied’ with the ruling and we are thrilled to have participated in this case. The Commonwealth’s position, that the ‘mere sight’ of a firearm, with no criminal act, ‘justifies’ arrest and detention at gunpoint, is constitutionally repugnant and unjustified. In this decision, the Court rightly held as much and reaffirmed the intent of the Hawkins Decision.
FPC President and FPF Chairman Brandon Combs also hailed the decision. “Stop-and-frisk practices that harass gun owners who carry for lawful purposes including self-defense, like the one at the core of this case, are unconstitutional, bad public policy, and dangerous,” explained Combs. “We are thrilled that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania agreed with these fundamental principles and issued such an incredibly positive decision in favor of constitutional rights.”
Joshua Prince, author of the coalition’s brief, said that “the Court, in dismissing the Commonwealth’s position, declared that to permit investigative detention solely to determine whether someone is properly licensed is ‘ultimately untenable, because it would allow a manifestly unacceptable range of ordinary activity to, by itself, justify Terry stops.’”
“This ruling rightly puts an end to abusive, non-justifiable searches of law-abiding gun owners, and it should be relished by all those who support the fundamental rights enshrined in our Constitution,” Prince concluded.
Why Do People Fear Guns and Hate Gun Owners?
I am asked all the time why some people have such inordinate fear of, and hate, guns – why others think we shouldn't be allowed to have firearms. One answer has to do with poor impulse control and the psychological phenomenon of projection.
We know some people have poor impulse control. They have potent urges to fly off the handle with minimum provocation – offended by the smallest thing. They know themselves and also see that they shouldn't have a gun because sooner or later they'd run amok and misuse a gun in a sudden fit of anger matched with their poor impulse control.
With projection, people genuinely believe that all others are like them. One example used is that a person colorblind from birth will always believe, deep down, that everyone else sees the world in shades of gray or with limited colors. That is their own experience, the only experience they can *know* for themselves. They project their personal experience onto everyone else when believing that others seem like they do.
People with poor impulse control project that characteristic onto others too.
They cannot grasp or admit that there are other people so stable that we wouldn't run amok and injure innocents if we are allowed to possess guns. Therefore, they want laws to prevent everyone from possessing firearms, ostensibly to protect the public from the poor impulse control they witness in themselves.
So, many anti-gun people with poor impulse control project that onto everyone else. Therefore, they truly believe that nobody should have guns because it's just a matter of time until everyone with a gun misuses it in an uncontrolled fit of anger. And, there is simply no way to inform or persuade such people that most others don't share their poor judgement and impulse control.
Extreme Risk Protection Order Legislation STILL Being Pushed by Anti-Gun PA Republican
It seems that State Representative Todd Stephens is ‘still’ pushing the Due Process destroying Extreme Risk Protection Order legislation (HB 1075) he has sponsored on behalf of Everytown, Mom’s Demand Action and, finally, CeaseFire PA.
In a Wall Street Journal article, Rep. Stephens continues to ignore the major problems with his legislation and how it will harm the rights of citizens. Reviews of this legislation can be found here and here and these concisely demonstrate the dangers and lies behind these bills and this concept.
Mom’s Demand Action (Shannon Watts) Pushing ‘More’ Unchallenged Anti-Gun Lies
In a political propaganda piece with much emotion and very little fact Michelle Tauber, the author of the People article, promotes public relations expert Shannon Watts as just a “stay at home mom” who saw something that needed doing.
The article in People.com has almost nothing of substance in it. It ignores the funding of the organization by anti-gun zealot Michael Bloomberg. It ignores the law. It ignores the Constitution. It ignores just about all facts involving firearms.
Here is one of the very few “facts” put forward in the puff piece:
As for the idea that reducing gun violence, which disproportionately affects Americans — the United States is home to 82% of gun deaths worldwide — is too difficult and complex to tackle, Watts says she “can’t fathom” the idea of giving up.
The number put forward, that the United States is home to 82% of “gun deaths” worldwide, is false, by any reasonable measure.
Counting all deaths which have any link to firearms in the United States, there were 39,000 “gun deaths” in the United States in 2016. One source puts the worldwide total number of “gun deaths” at 251,000 for 2016. The United States has less than 16% of the total, not 82%.
“Gun deaths” is a propaganda term; an Orwellian way of linking all deaths that are related to guns, even though the causes are completely different and unrelated. Suicide mechanisms and causes are very different from homicide causes, which are quite different from accidents.
Restrictions on guns have had virtually no effect on suicides. There are too many easily substituted methods.
In Brazil, in 2016, over 61,283 people were murdered. About 40,000 of them are committed with firearms. By itself, Brazil has more people murdered with guns than the United States has homicides (about 13,000) and suicides (about 26,000). Brazil has extremely strict gun control laws.
By using the term “gun violence” Shannon Watts attempts to sell a simple but fundamentally false solution: get rid of guns, and there will be no “gun violence”.
We could easily get rid of all “hospital deaths” by eliminating hospitals.
But none of the legal “solutions” called for by Everytown would prevent any significant number of suicides or homicides.
They could easily precipitate more homicides by making more vulnerable people less able to defend themselves.
Several surveys show defensive uses of guns (DGU) in the United States far outstrips criminal use of guns. Defensive uses number somewhere between 500,000 and 3 million per year, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The numbers are imprecise because they are hard to measure.
The People article shows Shannon Watts and most of the anti-Second Amendment group are not only ignorant, but proud of their ignorance. The claim the sanctity of “good intentions”.
History is rife with bloody examples of the cost of emotional driven “good intentions”. The proverbial road to hell is paved with them.
Supreme Court Takes Up New York City Gun Law, NYC Fears Sweeping Decision
SCOTUS recently took up the first Second Amendment related case since the historic decision in D.C v Heller. In this new case, the New York Pistol and Rifle Association is suing the city of New York over their law, which prevents law-abiding citizens from transporting firearms outside the city limits. Currently, residents can only use one of seven ranges within the city’s boundaries.
According to the New York Times, NYPD held a public hearing on amending the law, and they have taken written comments. New York politicians are fearful of taking the blame if the Supreme Court rules against the law, which would then affect gun laws across the entire country.
The unusual public hearing is a requirement before the city can amend the law. At the hearing and in the written comments, gun rights advocates attacked the city's motives as a blatant attempt at trying to make the court case disappear.
Some residents on the gun control side of the issue admit that the changing of the law is to head off the Supreme Court challenge.
“The Supreme Court needs to take up this case, regardless of what New York City does,” Pratt told AmmoLand News. “The lower courts are ignoring both the language of the Second Amendment and the rulings in Heller and McDonald at a furious rate. So, we need to have the Court step in and set the record straight. By the way, Gun Owners of America has submitted a [supporting] brief to the Supreme Court and is arguing that “shall not be infringed” is the standard that every judge in America should use.”
If the law is amended, the new version would go into effect within a month. Experts believe the city will change the law to try to avoid a SCOTUS hearing.
Federal Gun Control Laws: Sporting Purposes and Importation Ban on So-Called Assault Weapons
The Federal Government already prohibits the importation of so-called “assault weapons.” Under the Gun Control Act of 1968, the Attorney General has a measure of discretion regarding what firearms may be imported into the United States. 18 U.S.C. § 925 states,
(d) The Attorney General shall authorize a firearm or ammunition to be imported or brought into the United States or any possession thereof if the firearm or ammunition–
(3) is of a type that does not fall within the definition of a firearm as defined in section 5845(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and is generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes…
The “generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes” language has become known as the much-maligned “sporting purposes test.”
Anti-Gun Professor Wants Gun Groups Opinions Ignored by Media on Research
In an interview, on May 20th, with Jon Vernick, professor at Johns Hopkins University and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, Vernick offered “6 tips for reporting on gun policy and gun violence”.
The guideline aims to give pointers to journalists covering the gun beat and advised that “If you’re reporting the facts of an evidence-based study, don’t try to ‘balance’ the coverage with an opposing opinion.”
Vernick works for an institution that is literally bought and paid for by gun control billionaire Michael Bloomberg and himself lacks a PhD so it comes as NO surprise that he is advising journalists to produce one-sided reporting on the issue of gun control.
After all, why should the average citizens view of Constitutional Rights count?
Anti-Gun (Everytown) Lobbyist Criminally Charged
A July 1 court appearance has reportedly been scheduled for anti-gun Everytwon lobbyist/attorney Robert Blaisdell, whose clients include the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, on charges relating to domestic violence, according to various published reports.
Everytown for Gun Safety is considered one of the nation’s wealthiest gun control lobbying organizations, the brainchild of anti-gun billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
If Blaisdell is convicted, it would not be the first time that an individual associated with the gun control movement had gotten into trouble with the law.
Last August, AmmoLand reported the case of Kellie Collins, former candidate in Georgia’s Tenth Congressional District, who campaigned on a platform that included gun control. She was arrested in connection with the shooting death of her former campaign treasurer, Curt Cain.
Then there was former California State Senator Leland Yee, one of the state’s most prominent gun control advocates, now in federal prison for racketeering. He was arrested in 2014 on charges related to illegal gun trafficking and bribery. During his political career, Yee had advocated for all manner of gun control legislation. In 2015, he pleaded guilty to racketeering and in February 2016, he was sentenced to five years in prison.
Blaisdell is a partner in Demers, Blaisdell & Parsol Inc. According to his biography on that firm’s website, he is managing partner at the firm, which was founded in 1998.
McCarthyism in the Media-Blacklisting 2nd Amendment Advocates
When discussing the full-spectrum threat to our Second Amendment rights, one of the weapons we have to contend with is blacklisting. Whether it comes from Andrew Cuomo or social stigmatization, this is a weapon intended to chill activism on the part of Second Amendment supporters. What it does, for all intents and purposes, is to tell them, “If you oppose our agenda, we will destroy your ability to make a living and wreck your life.”
Harsh, but that is the reality that a lot of Second Amendment supporters are facing. It should not be the case, but it is. How do we handle this threat? Well, in the case of government officials who are abusing their offices to enforce a blacklist, the courts are the best option, followed by reaching out to local media.
This is because of local, state, or even federal officials are retaliating against you for your advocacy on behalf of our Second Amendment rights, then they have violated your First Amendment rights.
When you do get targeted for a boycott or a blacklist, that is when you go to local media outlets. If you have been involved in advocacy to support our Second Amendment rights, you should be on good terms with at least one or two local reporters. If they are good reporters, they will be talking to friends, neighbors, business associates, etc. That is when your very good reputation comes into play.
If you have that good reputation, those the reporter contacts will stick up for you, even if they don’t see Second Amendment issues the same way you do. It gives you much better odds of a favorable story when you are forced to fight back against a blacklist. You can then leverage that media report to get other groups and associations (your local American Legion post, chamber of commerce, etc.) to condemn the blacklisting. Local media will invariably cover that as well.
If you have that good reputation, and you have worked well with the local media, then you will have a good chance to beat the blacklist. There are no guarantees, of course, and even a successful fight against a blacklist or boycott won’t mean you come out unscathed. But when anti-Second Amendment extremists do try to blacklist you, a hard but successful fight beats the alternatives.
Message to Presidential Candidate Mayor Buttigieg: Erasing Thomas Jefferson is Not The ‘Right Thing to Do’
Despite the mayor’s effort to seem moderate and appear quiet and nonthreatening, Buttigieg is as radical as anyone else in the Democratic presidential nominating process.
Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick warned us 35 years ago about “the Blame America First” crowd that Pete Buttigieg represents.
Despite the mayor’s effort to seem moderate and appear quiet and nonthreatening, Buttigieg is as radical as anyone else in the Democratic presidential nominating process.
In addition to authoring the Declaration of Independence in 1776 – one of Thomas Jefferson’s greatest feats of influencing human history – a host of other key documents (and demanding the Bill of Rights to protect citizens from government), Jefferson actually founded the Democratic Party. It is the oldest continuing political organization in America and dates back to 1792.
Buttigieg is apparently ashamed of a man who wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” After 243 years, no other phrase has had a greater ability to limit government power – and the Democrats are no longer interested.
However, we think that if you believe in freedom, you must honor Jefferson, not Karl Marx; George Washington, not Fidel Castro; and Abraham Lincoln, not Xi Jinping.
Today’s Democratic Party, unfortunately, has strayed from Jeffersonian ideals in favor of a political philosophy that considers individual rights and freedoms a grave danger to its goal of transforming America into a politically correct society of self-censoring automatons who blindly follow the dictates of an all-powerful federal government.
Today’s Democrats want nothing to do with the “deplorables” who won’t go along with their march toward socialism. This, apparently, includes Thomas Jefferson. Having already abandoned its traditional voter base, the Democratic Party is now abandoning itself.
Celebrity FAIL: Mark Cuban (billionaire) and 2nd Amendment
Mark Cuban might be a billionaire entrepreneur, NBA team owner and celebrity investor with a television show. But a constitutional scholar, he’s not.
It’s time to call foul on Cuban’s latest foray into the gun rights debate. He offered to “update” the Second Amendment. What he really offered was lower the hoop to six feet so gun controllers could finally dunk. Cuban’s proposed changes include:
- Every American has the right to own a gun.
- The federal government can’t seize your guns.
- States reserve the right to “manage” gun[rights], including purchase, ownership and management – whatever that means.
That’s not an update to the Second Amendment. That’s a wholesale dismantling of an essential American right to keep and bear arms. The Second Amendment expressly protects the pre-existing individual rights of all Americans to keep and bear arms. Those rights – yes, two rights – don’t end at a state’s borders.
Recent Rasmussen Polls on Constitutional Issues:
- (May 30) Eleven percent (11%) of voters believe there should be no Constitutional limits on the types of laws that Congress and the president can pass. That includes 15% of Republicans, 12% of Independents, and 8% of Democrats
The good news is that that 71% disagree and favor Constitutional limits.
Additionally, 72% believe it is more important to respect the individual rights and freedoms of all Americans than for the government to do what a majority of voters support. Twenty-eight percent (28%) take the opposite view.
Sixty-five percent (65%) recognize that to expand individual freedom, is it necessary to place limits on government. Just 12% disagree. However, voters are evenly divided as to whether limited or active governments are more likely to promote fairness and equality.
- (May 29) Seventy-one percent (71%) of voters nationwide agree that Socialism means more decisions are made by the government while Capitalism means more decisions are made by each individual. That view is shared by 85% of Republicans, 68% of Independents, and 61% of Democrats.
This data highlights one of the major disconnects between the growing popularity of the term socialism and the continued unpopularity of policies associated with the historic ideology of socialism. Most who have a positive view of Socialism today want less government involvement in the economy. Just 35% who like Socialism favor government ownership of the largest companies.
The survey also found that, in practical terms, 68% believe America’s commitment to individual freedom means a commitment to capitalism.
It's important to recognize that the overwhelming majority of voters do not see socialism and capitalism as competing economic system. And, only 12% of voters have a favorable opinion of Socialism as an economic system.
Other data shows that 64% of voters prefer a government with a system of checks and balances to protect individual freedom rather than a government that is efficient that can respond quickly to issues.
Videos of Interest:
Should we be concerned about the impact of Digital Devices on our Children and Daily Lives? Check out the two videos below and keep in mind that even the tech giants are raising their kids’ tech free:
This seems eerily like the the movie the Matrix, doesn't it? Perhaps it is time for gun owners and 2nd Amendment activists to fall back on tried and true methods of political activism in lieu of the deceptive call of social media?
Founding Father’s Statement on Freedom: Rep. Tenche Coxe of Pennsylvania: "Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American… The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." Tenche Coxe, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.
Yours in Freedom,
Kim Stolfer, President