proposed laws

PA Bill Number: HB2440

Title: Providing for the designation of shooting ranges, sportsman clubs, hunting facilities and business relating to the sale and production of firearms ...

Description: Providing for the designation of shooting ranges, sportsman clubs, hunting facilities and business relating to the sale and production of firear ...

Last Action: First consideration

Last Action Date: Sep 9, 2020

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upcoming events

PA Rep Andrew Lewis' 2nd Annual Clay Shoot - 09/18/2020
Hummelstown Field & Stream Association 975 Stoverdale Road, Hummelstown, PA

PA Senator Camera Bartolotta‘s 4th Annual Sporting Clay Classic - 09/18/2020
Seven Springs Mountain Resort 777 Water Wheel Drive, Champion, PA

FOAC Monthly Meeting - 10/11/2020
South Fayette Township Municipal Bldg. 515 Millers Run Road, Morgan, PA

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Gun control is foolish, but 'Second Amendment sanctuaries' are an affront to rule of law :: 01/19/2020

I’m pro-gun, pro-Second Amendment, and completely opposed to Virginia Democrats’ gun control agenda. But the "Second Amendment sanctuaries" cropping up around rural Virginia in response to pending anti-gun legislation in the state Senate are an affront to the rule of law and threaten the viability of our entire electoral system.

To be clear, the gun control measures Virginia Democrats are passing are foolish and misguided. Now in control of both branches of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion, Virginia Democrats have advanced a bill enacting “universal background checks,” another proposal limiting handgun purchases to one a month with only narrow exceptions, and a dangerously written red flag law that doesn’t properly respect due process. They’re also likely to advance a ban on “assault weapons” in some form.

I’ve written in the past about why I don’t support such measures, which infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens but don’t make us safer. Virginia state Sen. Bill Stanley, a Republican, called the legislative package an “assault on the Second Amendment,” and he’s completely correct. But the proper response to anti-gun bills is to challenge them in court and punish their sponsors at the ballot box — not descend into lawlessness and anarchy, as “Second Amendment sanctuaries” threaten to do.

As reported by the Washington Examiner, more than 80 Virginia counties, an overwhelming majority of the localities in the state, have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries. The resolutions passed by local governments in some cases simply (and rightfully) condemn the gun control proposals coming out of the Statehouse. But in other instances, the counties threaten to resist enforcement and openly flout state law.

For instance, after his county declared itself a sanctuary, Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins said that if necessary, he plans to "properly screen and deputize thousands of our law-abiding citizens to protect their constitutional right to own firearms." Essentially, some of these localities are openly saying they’ll take arms against the state government before allowing laws they disagree with to take effect.

Seriously? This is madness.

The right way to fight anti-gun laws is in the courts. If they really do violate the Second Amendment — and I sure think they do — then the courts will eventually rule as much, even if the issue must go all the way to the conservative-majority Supreme Court. I sincerely doubt most of this anti-gun agenda would survive legal scrutiny if properly challenged by Second Amendment supporters in the judicial system.

If, however, these laws somehow are upheld by judges even after appeal, then local government officials have no right to defy them. Refusal to abide by laws properly passed through our electoral system and then upheld by the judiciary … well, that’s just anarchy. It’s an affront to the rule of law and would turn our system upside down.

Think about it: If conservative localities can just defy any law they want, how can conservative policy ever take effect anywhere liberals want to resist?

Say, for example, that Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court (as it should be), and red states began to pass anti-abortion laws. If those laws pass through our electoral system properly and are upheld by judges, would liberal municipalities have the right to defy them? Of course not. But they surely would, under this precedent. After all, in their minds, however incorrect we feel they may be, liberals view abortion as a constitutional right the same way conservatives view the Second Amendment.

The problem with “Second Amendment sanctuaries,” however well-intentioned they may be, comes down to their impact on the rule of law. Supporters of gun rights, among which I firmly count myself, should take our fight to the public, to the ballot box, and to the court system — but never let it descend into lawlessness.