PA Bill Number: HB726
Title: In sentencing, further providing for sentences for offenses committed with firearms.
Description: In sentencing, further providing for sentences for offenses committed with firearms. ...
Last Action: Referred to JUDICIARY
Last Action Date: Jan 23, 2020
Firearms Seminar hosted by PA Rep. Mike Puskaric - 01/25/2020
Carrick Sportsmen’s Club 3301 Ridge Road, South Park, PA
Keep Cook Rally - 01/25/2020
Valley Inn Social Hall 34 Snyder Avenue, Monongahela, PA
Concealed Carry Education Seminar hosted by PA Senator Doug Mastriano - 01/25/2020
South Mountain Fish and Game Club 11547 Loop Road, Fayetteville, PA
FOAC's Weekly Message For Sunday September 22nd 2019 :: 09/22/2019
This is the last weekend before the critically important hearings in the PA Senate on the 24th and 25th this coming week. Hopefully you have made the necessary arrangements to be there in support of some common sense in dealing with the issues involving crime and violence and protecting our rights at the same time.
In preparation for these hearings, Senator Baker, Chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, posted on her website the written testimony submitted for the upcoming Judiciary Committee hearings on September 24th and 25th regarding Mental and Behavioral Health, Second Amendment and Other Gun Related Issues. The testimony for September 24th can be found here and the testimony for September 25th can be found here - simply click the name of the person to download their testimony. If there is no hyperlink relative to their name, they have not yet submitted testimony and you should check back for new submissions.
Additionally, the PA House of Representatives will be considering ‘at least’ 12 bills on Sept. 24th at the same time as the first hearing in the Senate.
This legislation consists mainly of legislation, especially HB 1066 Firearm Preemption, that we are either in support of ‘or’ neutral on with ‘no’ gun control legislation coming up at this time. (Kudos to Chairman Kaufmann!)
For those looking forward to the FOAC Officers testimony (Gallo & Stolfer), it is linked on Senator Baker's page (above), and does include important Exhibits to President Stolfer’s testimony.
As you will see, Dr. Gallo and President Stolfer have spent a significant amount of time in researching and drafting their testimony. The dangers of psychotropic and SSRI drugs coupled with the misinformation about these ERPO/Red Flag Laws should be enough to scare the daylights out of any self-respecting 2A advocate or civil libertarian.
As a prelude to these hearings we are putting a clip of Dr. Gallo’s testimony below to give you an idea of some of the issues he will talk about.
Excerpt from Dr. Gallo’s Testimony
Responses during Grief Reactions: In order gain a more complete perspective of what is happening within our country and our State in the midst of the tragedies that have occurred, it is necessary as well as instructive, to consider the mental health issues that are present among those who are impacted by these serious events.
Many, many people are severely impacted by these situations, some personally, but even more by the continuous media coverage that repeatedly subjects our population to experience the same event over and over – re-traumatizing them each time. One of the important reasons to consider this is by understanding the dynamic present it aids in putting responses into perspective as well as being able to more realistically evaluate “solutions” being called for by individuals who are experiencing intense emotional distress as a result of these tragedies.
Dr Kubler-Ross’s Stages of Grief can help shed light on understanding these reactions. While originally developed by extensive interviews with people who are facing terminal conditions, they have proved so very valuable in understanding reactions to any loss or grief experience. The stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance.
Denial is a survival tool that human beings use in order to pace their grief. It is a response when the world becomes meaningless, overwhelming and life makes no sense. The losses in this case involve not only the tragic deaths of innocents but a fundamental loss of a sense of safety, of security and of survival and - a world-view is disrupted. For many this may involve being confronted with the reality that human evil exists in the world and can strike unpredictably. People feel vulnerable. These egregious acts are so far out of the experience of most people that they cannot be comprehended. Shock and paralysis as well as the denial. dominate this initial response.
Most in our country have moved past this first phase but many still are struck by the senseless character of these incidents and seek to attempt to understand why these were perpetrated. In other words, they try to make sense out of a what is perceived as senseless act, grasping for some understanding but unable to achieve it. The overwhelming question is “Why did this happen.” Denial is also manifested in an inability to consider the complex of facts and causal factors that have been shown to be significant regarding these horrible events. The impulse is to just deny that these critical factors are operating and to seek simplistic answers which are emotionally based and which may appease emotional arousal but do not provide real effective solutions.
In the next stage Anger dominates – and the anger has no limits. It is frantically looking for a place to focus, a place to direct itself or be channeled – in other words it is in search to identify who or what is to blame for this extremely painful loss. While the initial stage is akin to being lost as life meaning collapses once the anger finds an object the grieving individual now feels a structure or anchor is in place – this is a preferred position for people as opposed to the nothingness of the first stage.
Within the context of our present discussion we see that a rigid fixation on objects has resulted in “Guns” being blamed for tragedy and by extension the Law-Abiding Citizens that you, as legislators, represent who chose to own firearms and responsibly exercise their Rights. What is ironic is that the anger fixes on innocent Citizens and a tool that has been used countlessly more times to preserve life rather than it being focused on the actual perpetrator of the heinous act– the Criminal! This is as ridiculous as blaming the scalpel for a botched surgery. This IS the choice of someone who is overwhelmed by emotion and incapable of making a rational decision.
Another emotional knee jerk that the anger finds as a target to explain the incomprehensible is those with mental illness. The sweeping statement “It has to be mental illness” or “Only a madman could do something like this.” is made. A simple explanation, case closed. This common public conception flies in the face of established evidence.
The next stage is bargaining. This is the “something must be done” stage and a willingness to do anything just to make it stop. Within the current context this cry for something to be done is directed towards exerting pressure on our lawmakers to do something, to do anything which will lessen the pain and this horrible reality – and to do it quickly. The demand to be saved or rescued goes out to government to provide a solution – to save us from these tragedies. Within this stage “if only” statements are present, for example: “If only guns would be gone life could return to normal.” -another irrational statement that disregards not only the root of the issue … criminal actors …but also the realities of human existence and fails to recognize the everyday righteous exercise of a Constitutional Right that saved 1000’s of Law-Abiding Citizens from being victimized by Criminals each day.
Human evil has always been present since the first human beings walked the earth.
Archeologists, for example, have found that when unearthing thousands of years old human remains that forty percent of the deaths were homicides. Firearms and metal were not even in existence, but human evil was still actively present. Stones, clubs, swords, spears etc. were used to perpetrate harm and death. Woman, youth, and elderly were at an extreme disadvantageous. The invention of the firearm actually helped provide more equal protection to these individuals and gave them a fighting chance to survive.
The next step is depression, it is a deeper level of grief in which the individual begins to come face to face with the reality of the loss. It is not mental illness but an appropriate reaction to a significant loss. The last stage Acceptance does not involve being ok or alright with what has happened – this may never be so. However, what it does involve is the acknowledgement and acceptance of the new reality. The past and worldview have been forever changed and life now must be adjusted to it. With this stage rational cognitive functioning begins to return. Some of you may be in this stage right now.
We live in a depressing time, however, as leaders, you must not fall into despair. You have the ability to empower your constituents. Our individual responsibility to protect those that we love, guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, will only benefit the greater good of society. All answers are found in the free exercise of Rights and in the empowerment of the Law-Abiding Citizenry.
The essential point in this grief discussion is recognizing that during the first four stages individual functioning is dominated by emotions. The lower brain centers – the survival brain -and emotions - prevail, as the body is flooded with stress hormones. Higher level executive functions which involve an ability to rationally and objectively evaluate solutions, their effectiveness and consequences are virtually non- existent.
The state of heightened emotional functioning is one of the worst times to make critical decisions. Just consider for example making an important life decision which has far reaching consequences during a period of intense anger. Decisions made during this time in an effort only to quiet emotional pain can not only be ineffective but can also have long reaching destructive effects. Enacting ineffective solutions distracts from real solutions and the actual problem remains unresolved. Individuals are willing to “do anything” and this usually ends up be willing to relinquish bedrock fundamentals of Freedom to obtain the illusion of safety and security.
One example is the call for Universal Background checks as an alleged way to reduce access to firearms. Research shows that mass murderers/criminals obtain firearms though passing background checks, illegal sales – black market or straw purchases (most criminals are already prohibited persons), theft, or otherwise illegally from family or acquittances. How many mass murderers obtained their firearms through legal private sales – i.e. that which would be addressed by universal background checks? Zero! Not one of these horrific tragedies would have been prevented if UBCs were in place. ERPOs is another example. Individuals are willing to surrender a basic fundamental right that is at the heart of the justice system of our Representative Republic – that of due process. No thought is given to the far reaching and long-lasting effects of doing away with this protection of our right to due process.
Another example of the emotional knee jerk response is lumping all firearm deaths together into one group. There are essential differences in these situations which must be recognized and analyzed. An incident which involves a single individual perpetrating a mass murder is very different than that committed by career criminals or gang members (that recently perpetrated by a felon in Philadelphia with a long record in which six of our policemen were wounded). These require very different solutions. Solutions proposed during these emotional states must be rigorously scrutinized and objectively evaluated for effectiveness as well as for far reaching negative consequences.
Senator Baker’s comment express aptly express this: “In looking at new requirements or restrictions, we also must evaluate how recent steps have been implemented and whether they are making a measurable difference. Taking symbolic steps sends a message, but it ultimately does not save lives. Something unworkable or unenforceable or unable to withstand a legal challenge does not provide the real protection our constituents are demanding.” Even more restrictions on law- abiding individuals accomplishes nothing to solve these problems.
These tragedies are complex situations simple emotional knee jerk reactions not only do no good but they actually harm due to their destructive effects as well as being distractions to finding real solutions.
Rational recommendation for actual fixes involves: 1. Enforce existing Laws. We have almost thirty thousand laws regulating firearms and many more prohibiting criminal behaviors. Most of the time in our justice system the former are the first charges to be plea bargained away rather than prosecuted. We have seen the consequences on this especially in our cities where crime and violence often related to gangs and drugs is rampant and seriously impairs the safety, security and actual lives of law-abiding citizens. 2. Study the past and see how MORE restriction and MORE regulation ONLY impacts the Law-Abiding Citizen and does nothing to deter or stop a Criminal who has chosen to do harm to innocent people. Restricting the Law-Abiding Citizen only empowers the Criminal by making the “prey” more vulnerable. 3. Educate and Empower the Citizenry.
Get out of the way of Law-Abiding Citizens who chose to exercise their Rights and take on the responsibility and duty to protect those who they love.
Dr Charles Gallo – FOAC 1st VP - firstname.lastname@example.org
This comes under the heading, Tyrants Are Us:
Starting 9/16/2019, the state Department of General Services is instituting a policy that will limit the maximum occupancy for events that get scheduled in the Capitol rotunda to 450 people – that includes the attendees who stand on the marble staircase, on the floor, and on the balconies above, the Patriot-News writes.
What Does Enforce the Law Mean
Can we agree on this: When criminals attempt to illegally obtain firearms, we must enforce the law by arresting and prosecuting them?
IF so, then why isn’t it happening?
Example: Five years before the mass murder in Odessa, Texas, the criminal attempted to illegally purchase a firearm from a federally licensed firearms retailer (FFL). He was denied, as he was already prohibited under existing federal law from buying or possessing a firearm because a court had determined he was dangerously-mentally ill.
Yet once again, we see the same, tired, knee-jerk reactions to ban certain types of popular firearms in response to the criminal acts of a madman. As is shown in this NSSF publication – we have lost sight of what the real problems are in the zeal of anti-gunners to ban firearms and violate the 2nd Amendment.
The question that remains is why the criminal was not arrested and prosecuted when he attempted to illegally purchase a firearm? The FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) system worked in this case, but after the appropriate denial was made, what happened next?
Those who try to buy firearms, knowing they are a prohibited person, are breaking the law. And yet, they are rarely prosecuted for illegally lying on federal forms and claiming they are not prohibited.
No One Acted
As is slowly coming out, firearms-related crimes are being prosecuted far more by President Trump’s administration than they were under President Obama’s. A quick look at the number of criminal cases in which a firearms offense was charged shows an increase of 36 percent in the number of cases filed in FY 2018 compared to FY 2016. In case that’s not dramatic enough, this represents roughly another 4,000 individuals prosecuted for breaking gun laws.
This increase is significant but there’s more that can be done. That’s where recent proposals come in that would require NICS in the case of a denial to immediately notify ATF and local law enforcement entities. There’s a gap in the system that needs to be closed to prevent another prohibited person from escaping prosecution for attempting to buy a gun with tragic results.
***Ammunition Recall: Winchester Announces Recall of Super-X 17 HMR Ammunition
Olin Winchester, LLC is recalling two (2) lots of 17 HMR 20 Grain Jacketed Hollow Point Rimfire rifle ammunition.
- Symbol: X17HMR1
‘Lot Numbers (last four characters): NB51 and NB61
- DO NOT USE WINCHESTER® 17 HMR 20 GRAIN JHP SYMBOL X17HMR1 THAT HAS A LOT NUMBER ENDING IN NB51 or NB61.
To determine if your ammunition is subject to this notice, review the Symbol and Lot Number. If it is Symbol X17HMR1 and the last four characters of the Lot Number are NB51 or NB61, immediately discontinue use and contact Winchester toll-free at 844-653-8358 for free UPS pick-up of the recalled ammunition.
If you have any questions concerning this 17 HMR rimfire rifle ammunition recall please call toll-free 844-653-8358, write to Winchester (600 Powder Mill Road, East Alton, IL 62024 Attn: X17HMR1 Recall), or visit our website at www.winchester.com.
How Did You Celebrate the 232nd Birthday of the Signing of the Constitution
This past week marked the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States. As a governing document, it has stood the test of time over the last 232 years, and remains the best framework for governing that has been crafted by human hands and minds.
2nd Amendment supporters have much to be thankful for in this document. The 2nd Amendment, which protects the right to keep and bear arms that pre-existed its enactment in December 1791, is arguably the one most would mention at first, but we should look at some of the other provisions as well.
For starters, we should also be grateful for the First Amendment, which protects out right not just to speak out against anti-Second Amendment legislation, but also the right to peaceably assemble (to form groups like FOAC to help magnify our voices), and the right to petition for the redress of grievances (to contact lawmakers to oppose efforts to wrongfully infringe upon the rights of law-abiding Americans).
These days, many in America bemoan how far we have strayed from this document. With regards to the 2nd Amendment, in some states, the infringements are extremely restrictive. For instance, New Jersey’s licensing scheme (see here for a good summary) for handgun purchasing is arguably the worst in the country, requiring you get two other “reputable” citizens to vouch for your right to own a gun. The death of a woman, Carol Bowne, at the hands of her abusive ex-boyfriend, can arguably be laid at the feet of this state’s laws.
California’s laws on modern semi-automatic firearms are also extremely onerous. That state literally requires a person’s heirs to destroy a gun that is passed down to them – unless they can get a permit from the state’s Department of Justice. Nobody who knows the statistics thinks that this law makes any difference, but each year sees more and more anti-Second Amendment legislation in that state.
How do we get back to the original intent of the Founders? We need to pass a love of the Constitution down to future generations, so that we may one day return to the intent of those who founded the country.
Democrats in US House Want Gang Members Excluded From "Red Flag" Laws
Colorado Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO), on September 10, 2019, offered an amendment to the proposed bill to create federal grants for “Red Flag” bills in the House of Representative. The amendment was offered in the Judiciary Committee. Representative Ken Buck's introduction of the amendment occurs in the first minute and ten seconds of the video on C-Span. “Red Flag” bills allow police to confiscate guns from people with a mere accusation they may pose a threat. In Red Flag bills, there is very little due process.
An accusation is sufficient. No court appearance by the accused, or confrontation of witnesses, is required. There is no presumption of innocence. To regain their rights, the person accused has to prove they are “not* a danger. They may incur thousands of dollars of court costs to regain the property that was taken from them without due process.
Representative Buck's amendment would have allowed law enforcement agencies, on probable cause of a person belonging to a criminal gang, to use “Red Flag” laws to take guns from gang members.
Representative Buck offered testimony that most murders and violent crimes involving guns are committed by gang members. The standard of probable cause is much higher than a mere accusation from a family member or other person who may have motivation to make false charges, about potential future conduct.
The amendment pointed out the hypocrisy of the Left. The Committee Chairman, Representative Nadler, said a taking guns from a person, for simply being on a database, would violate due process. Red flag laws require less evidence than probable cause for law enforcement officials. They only require an accusation of the potential of a threat.
Rep. Buck says 80% of murders committed with guns are committed by gang members. He says over 90% of the crime committed in America are committed by gang members.
Rep Doug Collins (R-GA) brought up the hypocrisy of the Democrats in voting to ban all members of the “no fly” list, which has far more problems with due process than gang members lists, from buying guns. On 23 June, 2016, the Democrats staged a “sit-in” on the House floor, to demand people on the “no fly” list be banned from purchasing guns. From pbs.org:
Democrats staged an all-night sit in, demanding a vote on plan to ban anyone on the government's terrorist no-fly list from buying a gun.
The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Nadler (D) New York, has this as part of a press release:
Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) joined with Democratic colleagues to stage a sit-in on the House floor calling on Speaker Ryan and the Republican Leadership to bring forward common sense gun legislation that prohibits the sale of firearms to anyone on the terrorist watch list and closes the gun show loophole.
There is no “probable cause” to be put on a no fly list. There is no way to appeal being on a no-fly list. The standard to be on a gang member list is considerably higher. Yet Democrats were all for banning everyone who is on a “no-fly” list from purchasing a gun. When it comes to street gangs, however, any possibility of a lack of due process is an excellent reason to not have gang members red-flagged.
Why would Democrats, who show an overwhelming desire to disarm Americans, be so concerned about disarming people who are likely gang members?
Carrying A Firearm In A Store: What Do You Do if Approached
Now that some of the dust has settled, here is some more information and thoughts on Walmart, Kroger, and the other stores that are “virtue signaling” on guns:
The video of the open-carrier getting kicked out of a Walmart in Kentucky happened before Walmart's virtue signaling episode began. It appears to have had more to do with the gun owner embarrassing Walmart by trying to get someone to help him at the unattended firearms counter, than him having an openly-carried handgun. Here is a link to the Facebook posting from the gun owner on that incident.
Several people here in Virginia and in Texas have tested open carry in Walmarts and have had no issues. No change in signage at Walmart has yet occurred either. https://thehill.com/homenews/news/460652-gun-rights-activists-test-walmart-request-not-to-open-carry-guns-into-store
For now, it would seem that it is business as usual if you wish to carry at Walmart openly or concealed. Of course, there is the issue of Walmart asking Congress for more gun control – which is stupid and unacceptable.
Various companies have sent a letter to the Senate calling for more gun control
Texas Senator Ted Cruz let their CEOs have it with this response.
Seems support for gun control is trending down.
We offer this general advice if approached by a store employee and/or the police while carrying in a business:
- If approached by a store employee, ask to speak to the manager (often employees don't know that while the store may prohibit them, as employees, from carrying at work, the store may not prevent customers from doing so).
If the manager or store security confirms they don't want you carrying in the store, just politely and quietly leave the store. Failure to leave when asked ‘could get you charged with Defiant Trespass’.
You DO NOT have to identify yourself, nor do you have to sign anything. You should simply leave without argument.
If the police are involved and they ask you to identify yourself, you should do so to them only. Do NOT sign any document except in the extremely unlikely case that it is a summons to appear in court issued by the police. (Failure to sign a summons will leave the police with no choice but to arrest you.) Leave the store once the police have indicated you are free to go. If the police want you to sign something from the company, just say you don't sign anything unless you have a lawyer present and stick to that. You will not be charged with trespass if this is the first time the police have approached you at that business. You have committed no crime, so there is nothing to sign.
All that said, be polite to the officers and do NOT debate the company's policy with the police. You have nothing to gain by being anything other than reasonable and pleasant.
VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Woman Confronts Beto O’Rourke over seizing and confiscation guns.
Quote of the Week: Congressman Doug Collins in exchange over House Democrats shielding gang members from Red Flag Laws: Democrats in 2016 staged a “sit-in” on the House floor, refusing to let the GOP majority conduct legislative business, in part because Republicans would not pass "No-Fly, No-Buy" legislation, which would prevent people on the federal no-fly list from purchasing guns.
“It’s amazing to me,” Collins said. “We had a large blow-up on the floor of this House just a couple years ago about the 'No Fly, No Buy' list, which was shown to have issues, but at that point, nobody from the other side brought this is as a concern, and now we are bringing it as a concern,” Collins said.
“If we can't bring this list up, even with due process put in, then don't ever bring the 'No Fly, No Buy' list up again."
“Don't ever bring it up again because there is no due process on that list.”
1st Point to Ponder: According to the latest annual FBI crime statistics, 10,982 Americans were killed by assailants using firearms (and of note many of those likely involved alcohol). Less than 2% of homicides involved rifles and shotguns of any type. There are so few murders with “assault rifles” that the FBI data doesn’t distinguish that type of weapon in its records. Rifles and shotguns are the least likely weapon to be used in a violent crime. To put that into perspective, there have already been more murders in Chicago alone this year, than by assailants using rifles nationwide last year.
2nd Point to Ponder: “A red flag law will reduce bloodshed and respect the rights of gun owners,” Florida “Republican” Senator Marco Rubio disingenuously promises in a Thursday promo piece for universal harassment of the “law-abiding,” happily hosted by The New York Times.
“The laws do not infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners,” Rubio lies.
3rd Point to Ponder: Consider this; the sobering CDC statistic that there were more than 88,000 deaths due to alcohol-related causes last year — including 9,967 traffic fatalities. Many women and children are among the victims. There is also a significant increase in alcohol-related deaths among women. As the Journal of the American Medical Association reports, one in eight Americans is an alcoholic according to the clinical definition of it.
Gun Control Quote to Remember: Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee: “I've held an AR-15 in my hand, I wish I hadn’t,” Texas Democrat Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee claims to an approving media while trying to get House members to “flood” the Senate and demand new citizen disarmament edicts. “It is as heavy as 10 boxes that you might be moving and the bullet that is utilized, a .50 caliber, these kinds of bullets, need to be licensed and do not need to be on the street.”
Let’s remember that we’re talking about a lawmaker who has treated us to such gems as:
- The Constitution is 400 years old.
- Astronaut Neil Armstrong planted the flag on Mars.
- There are still two Vietnams.
- Klansmen are now the Tea Party.
There’s more, but you get the picture. To her credit, at least Jackson Lee hasn’t publicly speculated about Guam tipping over.
Founding Father’s Statement on Freedom: "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined." - Patrick Henry (1788)
Yours in Freedom!
Kim Stolfer, President
As a reminder, every gun owner can participate in the October 13, 2019 FOAC Monthly meeting from any PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android phone by clicking on the link below:
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/134200286
One-tap Mobile: US: +19292056099,,134200286# US (New York)
Dial by location: +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 134 200 286
Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/adSioEAVyf