PA Bill Number: HB796
Title: In protection from abuse, further providing for definitions and for relief.
Description: In protection from abuse, further providing for definitions and for relief. ...
Last Action Date: Apr 1, 2023
OAC's Top Weekly News Stories for the week of February 4, 2022 :: 02/04/2022
Since our last installment we have seen success in the PA Legislature, falling bridges in Pittsburgh, horrible weather, bad roads, and Governor Wolf once more advocating for elected officials to break the law.
THE VETO OF FEBRUARY 2022
(from the 2/3/22 FOAC-ILLEA Official Response to Wolf’s Veto of HB979)
Once more Gov. Tom Wolf has demonstrated his dedication to Government control over the citizenry, restriction of the law-abiding citizen, and the ultimate empowerment of criminals and local elected officials who willingly break the law.
In a press release on the Governor’s website, it was articulated that Gov. Wolf vetoed HB979 because it would “have provided that a person adversely affected by an ordinance, resolution, rule, practice or other action promulgated or enforced by a county, municipality or township in violation of the limitations placed by state law on the regulations of firearms and ammunition may seek a declarative or injunctive relief and actual damages.”
If a local official passed a law that restricted your ability to vote, your ability to worship freely, your ability to peacefully assemble, your ability to love who you choose, your ability to raise your family how you choose, or your ability to pursue happiness, shouldn’t YOU be able to seek a declarative or injunctive relief and actual damages? Why would it not be the same for your ability to defend your family against violent criminals? Especially when statutory law and the US and PA Constitutions explicitly protect those Rights. To be fair, Gov. Tom Wolf’s rampage of Government overreach these past couple years has shown us that he probably does not see value in most of YOUR individual Rights. He appears to be quite selective with which of your rights HE deems valuable; just as he advocates for local elected officials to be selective with which laws they follow and which ones they simply disregard.
Gov. Wolf’s reasoning in his press release is once more proof that he is advocating for local elected officials to break the law. His statements completely disregard that when these “local officials” pass laws, regulations, rules, resolution, and ordinances, that violate state law; the local officials who pass them are indeed BREAKING THE LAW by doing so. Title 18 Section 6120 is very clear and IS the law of Pennsylvania in spite of the Governors wish to veto the expansion of the existing preemption law. Title 18 Section 6120 has been upheld in Court time and time again and Firearms Owners Against Crime will continue to challenge these violations. However, with Wolf’s veto of HB979, local governments can continue to weaponize the legal system by forcing law abiding citizens to spend their hard earned money to fight illegal laws in the courts without the possibility for them to seek damages or receive financial relief.
Can Pennsylvanians pick and choose which laws they obey and which they do not without consequence? If a Pennsylvanian advocated for other Pennsylvanians to knowingly and willingly break the law, they would likely be charged with conspiracy. However, when Gov. Wolf does that very thing, he illustrates that he likely believes that elected officials can and should operate above the law.
Gov Wolf’s veto promotes the breakdown of society. Merriam Webster defines Society as “people in general thought of as living together in organized communities with shared laws, traditions, and values”. By promoting the selective application of law, he promotes the breakdown of our society, but holds “gun owners” accountable for the actions of law-breaking criminals and law-breaking elected officials.
Tom Wolf further justifies his veto by saying that HB979 “would have provided an opportunity for individuals to challenge local ordinances and sue a county, municipality, or township that violates the prohibition on stricter firearms laws. Philadelphia, which has seen more gun violence-related deaths in 2022 than days in January, potentially would have been unable to enforce local laws that were created to curb the violence and save families and communities from continued heartache.”
Please take a moment to read the quote again. Also click on the hyperlink and see the same quote on the Governors website. Analyze what the Governor is saying in that statement. Tom Wolf vetoed a law that would give Pennsylvanians means to seek relief if they are damaged when a local elected official violates their individual rights by breaking state law. Whose side is Tom Wolf on? Then in typical deflective fashion, he touts the failings of the District Attorney of Philadelphia to prosecute violent criminals as he preys on our emotions so that we too will accept the further restriction of the Rights of law-abiding citizens. When law-abiding citizens are restricted, criminals are by default empowered. Whose side is Tom Wolf on?
The Governor continues, “When I vetoed Senate Bill 565 of 2021, a bill that would have allowed unvetted gun owners to carry concealed weapons through our streets, I stated that these victims and communities deserve to have meaningful legislation passed to address the scourge of gun violence. I stand by that. I have offered many ideas that would help keep Pennsylvanians safe while respecting the rights of responsible gun owners, including legislation to require safe storage, authorize extreme risk protection orders, enhance reporting requirements for lost or stolen guns and close gaps in the background check system – and yet, I have not received a bill from the General Assembly that seeks to address this issue in a meaningful way. Instead, I have received a bill that seeks to attack local governments who wish to find solutions for those that they serve. I urge the Republican-controlled General Assembly to stop enabling the problem and step up to be a part of the solution.”
Once more, Tom Wolf restricts law abiding Pennsylvanians and holds them accountable for the actions of criminals. He treats “gun owners” as a subsect of the population, imposing on them unique standards and treatment. His “solutions” ALWAYS include the further restriction of law-abiding “gun owners”, lumping them in with criminals and wholly discounting the responsibility of “government” to enforce the existing law. Lastly, he blames Republicans as if they are the only ones that supported Rep. Matt Dowling’s HB979. I want everyone reading this to know that there was healthy support for this legislation in the PA House and Senate from all sides of the isle. Ironically, Republican Rep. Todd Stephens voted against both Constitutional Carry and Strengthening Preemption. Perhaps not every Republican is a problem in the eyes of the Governor.
It is about time that the Executive empower Pennsylvanian’s freely exercise their Rights instead of taking every opportunity to restrict and oppress the citizenry. It is about time that the Executive stop blaming law abiding “gun owners” for the evil acts of violent criminals and the failings of government in keeping violent criminals off the streets.
As with SB565, Constitutional Carry, the veto of HB979 Strengthening Preemption was no surprise. How can we expect a man who has so fervently restricted Pennsylvania’s under the guise of health and safety, to finally decide to empower his constituents to freely exercise their Rights?
Next time you are in the voting booth ask yourself these questions: are you voting for someone that will respect and protect YOUR Rights and ALL the Rights of ALL Pennsylvanians? Or are you voting for someone who will seek to restrict you. Vote accordingly.
The first step in regaining Liberty is recognizing that we ARE 'The People' and free Americans in spite of the Government. The 2nd step is being OK with whatever level of confrontation results from those who govern disagreeing with us.
2nd VP FOAC-ILLEA
WHAT’S NEXT FOR PREEMPTION?
First, I would like to thank the Legislators on both side of the isle in both the House and Senate who supported Matt Dowling’s Strengthen Preemption Legislation HB979. I urge all of you to do the same as well. While you are at it, ask them to support SB448, Strengthen Preemption. These sister bills are virtually identical and SB448 has passed the Senate and is currently in the PA House. Once SB448 is brought to the floor, it should be passed. We have a voting record of the PA Reps who voted for HB979, why wouldn’t they support SB448?
See the roll call of votes on the passage of HB979 in the House on June 8th, 2021
If SB448 passes the House and hits the Governor’s desk, will he veto it again? Probably. But perhaps the will of the people as implemented by the votes of the elected Legislature will be hard dismiss again so easily.
Contact your Elected Representative and urge him or her to support SB448 and help it come to a floor vote!
The fight for Liberty is ongoing and never ending, so long as the people allow their elected officials to become tyrants.
THE BIFORCATION OF A GIANT
As some of you may know and others of you may not… FOAC has split into 2 separate organizations: FOAC-PAC and FOAC-ILLEA. This “bifurcation” has already occurred; however, the splitting, reallocation, and division of assets is an ongoing process.
Firearms Owners Against Crime Political Action Committee will continue to:
- Support and Elect Pro-Gun and Pro-Liberty Candidates
- Vet candidates through complex questionnaires and interviews
- Produce and distribute voter guides across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Firearms Owners Against Crime Institute for Legal, Legislative and Educational Action objectives are:
- to provide instruction and education in Constitutional Rights, the impact of current and proposed laws and regulations affecting those rights, firearms safety and governmental policies that affect the general public welfare
- to provide analysis of proposed firearms and sporting related legislation to the government on the impact and ramifications of proposed legislation
- to develop educational material in firearms safety
- to develop educational material on current laws pertaining to firearms ownership for both Pennsylvania and the United States
- to sponsor, host and/or participate in events and activities that promote the sport of hunting, fishing, shooting and outdoor activities
- to sponsor, host and/or participate in events and activities that promote Pennsylvania or United States Constitutional Values
- to sponsor, host and/or participate in events and activities that promote the education of individuals in firearms safety and current law
- conducting research and publicizing the positions of elected officials concerning firearm sportsmen’s related issues
- defend firearm related issues thru legal defense and directed legislative action including grassroots action
Your FOAC Membership will ultimately transfer to FOAC-ILLEA. Standby for new member cards and log in access on the ILLEA website…. anyone want to join the ILLEA membership Committee?
The legendary Gun Bash has been taken over by ILLEA. More on that one later…..
Various functionality on the original FOAC website will be transferred to the ILLEA website. Those of you that frequent the website should bookmark both and visit both as we go through the process of transfer and allocation of digital resource and beyond.
IF you “like” the FOAC page and groups on FACEBOOK be sure to ALSO like the FOAC-ILLEA Facebook page.
The legislation tracker functions will ultimately transfer to the ILLEA site while the Voter guides will continue to live on the FOAC-PAC website.
The features and functions of the “Classic” FOAC website is copious to say the least. But as we go through this transitional phase, be sure to use both sites.
WHAT ARE LAWS WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES?
By Stephen LaSpina FOAC-ILLEA Board Member
House Bill 979, passed by our elected representatives, but vetoed by Governor Wolf, would have explicitly permitted gun owners the right to sue and obtain damages from any local governments that violate current Pennsylvania preemption statutes. Put another way, this bill brings tangible consequences to local governments who choose to willfully violate the law and negatively impact their citizens.
While Wolf’s veto of this bill is troubling, it is hardly surprising. It further demonstrates that the person leading the Executive Branch of government in Pennsylvania cares only to enforce laws that align with his political viewpoints and not about upholding existing state law.
In Pennsylvania, we have two preemption statutes [Title 18, section 6120(a) and Title 53, Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 2962(g)] that prohibit a town or city from passing gun laws or ordinances that would penalize activity around firearms when the state itself has no such law. In this way, state law preempts, or prohibits, any locality from declaring an activity illegal that state law permits. Preemption statutes give gun owners assurance of consistent laws as they travel from town to town within their state.
Despite these existing statutes, we have seen examples of cities willfully violating them. In 2019, the city of Pittsburgh put forth a bill that, among other things, would ban ownership of the most popular rifle in America, the AR-15, within its city limits. Due to existing preemption statutes, the very proposal of this bill was illegal. A lawsuit brought by FOAC and other gun owners ultimately led to an Allegheny County Judge striking down the ordinance, rightfully recognizing that it violated state law.
Regrettably, this is just one example of numerous instances where a local municipality in Pennsylvania has ignored state law and acted in such a way as to try to turn responsible gun owners into felons.
Actions like this are why HB979 is so important: it would have codified into law that gun owners may seek damages when local governments violate preemption statutes and negatively impact their citizens.
Wolf’s rationale for his veto was because HB979 “would have provided an opportunity for individuals to challenge local ordinances and sue a county, municipality, or township that violates the prohibition on stricter firearms laws.”
To paraphrase, Wolf is saying that because he is unable to pass gun control measures through the state legislature, he fully supports local governments in their violation of preemption, AND he wants you to have no legal recourse when they do.
Wolf’s veto begs the question: what are laws without consequences for those who violate them?
Wolf’s message to local governments is that they have an all-clear from his administration to enact whatever gun control laws he wishes were passed through the state legislature. His blatant disregard for preemption statutes and unwillingness to have culpable local governments held accountable by the people demonstrates a dangerous, elitist attitude.
Such a lawless, reckless, and tyrannical executive should be a stench in the nostrils of free people everywhere.
THE PERILS OF OBEDIENCE AND HOW WE CAN DEFEND OUR FREEDOM
By Kim Stolfer From 7/7/2020 FOAC Newsletter
I had been saving the idea I put forth to you now for a rainy day. I wanted to avoid alarming anyone as I challenged you to think properly through a subject fraught with controversy. I personally see this very simply, but too few do.
As I pen notes such as these, I know I’m writing to an educated and steadfast crowd of patriots. What I’m unable to quantify is just how deeply you all believe in your civil rights. Scarce among you are those who don’t recognize “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety,” as goes one of Benjamin Franklin’s most famous quotes. We continue to see various states, government sanctions, and high-powered proclamations telling us what we can and cannot do and that doesn’t pass the smell test for me.
Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety ~ Benjamin Franklin
Do you know where your rights come from? As much as I’m itching to tell you, I’m going to resist.
This question you should know, but if you don’t, search long and hard for the answer. I’ll offer you a hint. I will share with you where rights DO NOT come from. Rights don’t come from man. Why? Any right conveyed to you by man is one that man himself will most assuredly curtail or remove. Think about it. Anything granted by man can be removed by man. Are you comfortable with the idea that your civil rights are offered up by a seemingly benevolent government when that government is comprised of men that can later negate them at will? What about only negating them when people are growing sick? Would that make you more comfortable? …And just how sick would you need to be in order for a man – the man – to remove your rights? Re-cue Ben Franklin’s quote from above.
I’ve studied the origin of rights and I’ve also thought through how those in positions of perceived authority offer you the notion that when they’re in charge your submission is not only encouraged but correct. During my research, I ran across a study from Yale in the 60s by a psychologist named Stanley Milgram. Milgram was concerned that acts of genocide, like those he’d followed during the Nuremberg War Criminal trials, post-WWII, could be propagated over and over should a people adhere to obedience. But it wasn’t simply obedience at the core of the concern. It was obedience to authority that was problematic for Milgram. Thus, he devised a procedure to offer a test to see how people randomly chosen would respond to the power of authority.
Authority will make you do things you never thought you would or could actually do. Authority isn’t automatically bad. We just have to be darned careful about Whose authority we’re submitting to and whose we are not. Don’t hear what I’m not saying. I am not for one moment suggesting you ignore best practices when dealing with a highly communicable disease. I’m of the opinion that only a few of us actually benefit from a restriction, as the balance of us love our neighbors, friends, and family enough we can do what is best without the hand of government on our shoulders. What I am placing before you is the necessary mandate to guard your liberty from attack. In times such as these, we see opportunistic politicians and self-proclaimed experts exercising their authority too far and wide. Be careful and think through what you’re being told to do. Watch and compare how states outside your own handle things.
St. Augustine – “libido dominandi” – the lust to dominate – Writing during the collapse of the Roman Empire, St. Augustine offered vital insight into the core premise of freedom. A man was no longer a slave by nature or by law according to St. Augustine. No. His freedom was a function of his moral state.
A man had as many masters as he had vices. This precept is the foundation for an intricate form of social control over man and continues to grow nearly unchecked today.
Augustine of Hippo – 13Nov 354 – 28Aug 430 AD
I encourage you all to love your neighbor as yourself. I’ve read that before and many know where. Don’t place them or yourself at risk. But diligently observe the authority figures in our state and nation. Watch both their actions and their attitudes. Are they seemingly eager or reluctant to exercise power over their fellow citizens? Do they incline toward liberty and personal responsibility, or do they default to strict regimentation, enforced by the government’s police powers? Those are character traits of which you should be mindful, and they indicate the core of a person. We must choose our representatives and public servants wisely.
I began this communication to you all with a reference to saving this sentiment for a rainy day. I was reminded of an op/ed offered by Andrew Napolitano titled “Coronavirus fear lets government assault our freedom in violation of Constitution“, what St. Augustine branded, “libido dominandi” – the lust to dominate – when the government chooses between liberty and force.
The FOAC-ILLEA Spring Gun bash will be here before you know it. The gun bashes are our main fundraisers and the best damn gun bash in Pennsylvania! We print 1,000 tickets and they are on sale now via the website. We have VERY FEW tickets left, so GET YOUR BASH TICKET WHILE YOU STILL CAN. The FOAC-ILLEA gun bash ticket is one of the best on the planet! You do NOT need to be present to win prizes on the ticket, but joining us at the Washington County Fairgrounds, eating the terrific food, enjoying a cool beverage, and fellowshipping with other Liberty-minded Americans is a great time! Purchase your ticket TODAY!
FOAC-ILLEA UPCOMING EVENTS
Concealed Carry Seminar – Sponsored by Ambridge District Sportsmen’s Assoc.
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Location: ADSA Clubhouse
Address: 2900 Ridge Road Extension, Baden PA 15005
FOAC-ILLEA Spring Gun Bash
1:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Location: Washington County Fairgrounds,
2151 North Main Street, Washington, PA
Concealed Carry Seminar – Sponsored by Rep. Jason Silvis
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Location: Huber Hall
Address: 300 Alexandria Street, Latrobe, PA 15650
Concealed Carry Seminar – Sponsored by Rep. Jason Silvis
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Location: West Leechburg VFD Recreation Hall
Address: 1116 Gosser Street, West Leechburg, PA 15656
“In a free society, no citizen should ever have to justify the assertion of a fundamental right. Indeed, unless there is a compelling reason, government should never inhibit the exercise of privilege either. A very general premise is that the best government is the least government.
When the government is not properly enforcing the laws to curtail violent crime that already exist, it is wrong to place additional restrictions on the law-abiding to accomplish the same purpose.”
Kim Stolfer, Founder of FOAC, and President of FOAC-ILLEA
WHY PATRIOTS REALLY FOUGHT TO AMERICAN REVOLUTION
By Justin Taylor from a blog post of 9/26/2019
In 1843, a 21-year-old Dartmouth student named Mellen Chamberlain was doing research on the American War for Independence.
He had the opportunity to interview a survivor of the initial battles of Lexington and Concord, 91-year-old Captain Levi Preston of Danvers.
The young scholar wanted to know the cause behind his involvement with the war.
David Hackett Fischer records their exchange:
“Captain Preston,” he asked, “what made you go to the Concord fight?”
“What did I go for?” the old man replied, subtly rephrasing the historian’s question to drain away its determinism.
The interviewer tried again, “. . . Were you oppressed by the Stamp Act?”
“I never saw any stamps,” Preston answered, “and I always understood that none were sold.”
“Well, what about the tea tax?”
“Tea tax? I never drank a drop of the stuff. The boys threw it all overboard.”
“I suppose you had been reading Harrington, Sidney, and Locke about the eternal principle of liberty?”
“I never heard of these men. The only books we had were the Bible, the Catechism, Watts’s Psalms, and hymns and the almanacs.”
“Well, then, what was the matter?”
“Young man, what we meant in going for those Redcoats was this: we always had been free, and we meant to be free always. They didn’t mean we should.”
[For more details, see, “Why Captain Levi Preston Fought: An Interview with One of the Survivors of the Revolution by Hon. Mellen Chamberlain of Chelsea,” Danvers Historical Collections 8 (1920): 68–70.]
Fighting for Liberty in “peacetime” is an exhausting and never-ending quest. Using words, letters, videos, and influence to push the envelope of provocation and motivation can easily cross the lines of political incorrectness or be just what is needed to motivate folks to get off their asses and further the cause of Liberty. Many people live their lives striving to be “apolitical” and “nonpartisan”. However, Liberty is not a political issue and freedom is not party specific. It is NOT political to educate your fellow Americans on civic responsibility and exercising your Rights responsibly. It is not “distasteful” to recommend that you support candidates and legislation that empowers EVERYONE to exercise ALL of their Rights. Keep educating your fellow Pennsylvanians. Do the work you can to help the cause! May Liberty prevail in the halls of Government and in upcoming elections.
The answers to all problems are found in education and the free exercise of individual Rights and Liberties. ANY elected official that advocates otherwise, might be dipping their feet into the pool of tyranny.
Stay armed and be well regulated!
Yours in Liberty,
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