Friday, October 24, 2014

Bringing Equality To The Courtroom

Pennsylvania House of Representatives
I have been keeping an eye on the state legislature for the past couple of weeks in the hope that actions would be taken to uphold previously passed legislation designed to curb the plethora of firearms regulations that are constantly being debated across the state under the public and media radar. While firearms preemption has long since been enacted, these state measures have largely been ignored by those who refuse to understand firearms and insist on restricting our rights. This week the Pennsylvania legislature took a step forward by providing additional means for citizens of the commonwealth to protect their second amendment rights. You can imagine my relief when I received the following email from the NRA Institute for Legislative Action:

After four years of effort, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives finally passed critical firearms preemption legislation. Yesterday, the state House voted to concur on the Senate amendments to House Bill 80 by an overwhelming 138 to 56 vote. HB 80, when signed into law, will strengthen the state firearms preemption statute to further ensure that firearm and ammunition laws are consistent throughout Pennsylvania.

State firearms preemption was originally enacted by the Pennsylvania Legislature to avoid the possibility of 2,639 separate firearm laws across the Commonwealth. However, over recent years, more than fifty localities have enacted gun control ordinances in violation of the current state firearms preemption law, creating a myriad of local gun laws that make compliance difficult for responsible gun owners. HB 80 will provide a way for responsible gun owners to hold these municipalities responsible for infringing on our Second Amendment rights.

Contrary to reports from the Philadelphia Inquirer and statement made by other politicians, this is NOT a means of weakening the laws that we all agree must be enforced against straw purchasers. That is NOT what this legislation is designed to do and this is not how it should be applied. We all agree that those who break the law should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Additionally, the vast majority of firearms owners support stiffer penalties for those who are found guilty of breaking those laws especially those found guilty of illegally purchasing firearms.

The problem lies in that those who support “common sense firearms legislation” don’t have any common sense when it comes to firearms or the second amendment. Law abiding gun owners are constantly going out of their way to accommodate state, local, and federal laws no matter how absurd they really are but this is not enough for the Bloomberg devotees. There are already enough laws on the books that we abide by, many of which we disagree with but follow, and we should not face further regulation and restrictions of our rights.

So, ignoring the liberal hype and media mongers, what is the real purpose of this legislation? Essentially, the law allows citizens of the commonwealth to bring suit against local and state agencies with the assistance of national organizations such as the NRA, 2nd Amendment Foundation, National Association for Gun Rights, etc. Laws and regulations are ever changing in the commonwealth thanks to the actions of irrational hoplophobes and this strengthening legislation is a means to even the legal playing field as many of us do not have the means to defend our rights in the courtroom. After all, we are only looking for equality, the ability to exercise our rights without fear of the repercussions and a means of support if we are refused those rights and we are forced to fight for them. Of course, there is also this little piece of legislation in Pennsylvania law which can be found in Article I, Section 21 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania which states the following:

“The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.”