Pat Toomey Works on Gun Control Bill

If you follow us on Twitter or Facebook, you know we’ve been sounding the alarm since Friday that reports were coming out Senate Democrats were turning to Pennsylvania’s Republican Senator Pat Toomey for help on passing new gun control bills. It appears as though they may have convinced him.

Toomey spox: “Senators Toomey and Manchin continue to work on final details but they appear close to a deal.” — Jonathan Tamari (@JonathanTamari) April 9, 2013



NBC News also reports that Sen. Toomey’s spokesperson is scheduling a press conference alongside West Virginia’s Sen. Joe Manchin to promote this deal.

There’s nothing available on what deal he put together, but Pennsylvania voters need to make every single phone in every single office ring loud and clear tomorrow morning. Every office that allows voicemails should have a completely full box by the time staff arrive. Call tonight; call again tomorrow.

Need a reminder for the phone numbers?

DC – (202) 224-4254 Allentown – (610) 434-1444 Erie – (814) 453-3010 Harrisburg – (717) 782-3951 Philadelphia – (215) 241-1090 Pittsburgh – (412) 803-3501 Scranton – (570) 941-3540 Johnstown – (814) 266-5970

If you find they are full by the time you call, send an email and call again in the morning when staff arrive.

It’s tough to say whether a flood of calls will truly change Sen. Toomey’s mind at this point, but the debate isn’t over and there have been no votes cast, so the message that gun owners are not happy needs to be sent loud and clear.

Sen. Toomey’s response is disconcerting since it means that some House Republicans from Pennsylvania in tight districts will likely look to support to gun control bills floated in the House of Representatives. With that in mind, it’s wise to start contacting your Congressman now, too. If you live in the ring counties of Philadelphia, this is particularly important.

Lancaster to Vote on Gun Control Resolution

Some Pennsylvania activists are trying to drum up opposition to a local effort to promote more gun control at the federal level. Lancaster’s City Council is expected to vote on Tuesday to support Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Guns & all of their gun control efforts.

A fellow Election Volunteer Coordinator shared the email addresses for any Lancaster residents who can’t make it to the meeting to oppose this resolution:

Louise B. Williams, President – LBWilliams1@aol.com
John E. Graupera – jeg114@gmail.com
James D. Reichenbach – jamesreichenbach@comcast.net
Tim J. Roschel – Troschel@aol.com
Todd E. Smith – Tesmith1111@yahoo.com
Jose E. Urdametz – Jurdaneta@urdaneta.net
Barbara J. Wilson – bwilson.citycouncil@gmail.com

The linked article notes that the resolution is expected to pass. Regardless, it might be worth reminding these council members that municipal elections are this year. An outcry might just make some hesitate to use limited city resources to promote gun control at the behest of the New York City mayor.

Standing to Fight Bloomberg’s Billions

Today, billionaire Michael Bloomberg is partnering with President Obama to call forth any grassroots they can find to promote gun control. As Pennsylvania residents, you may see rallies, petition drives, commercials on cable and broadcast, and candlelight vigils at night. They are rolling out in every single corner of the state. Some local groups of gun owners are planning to counter with peaceful and quiet protests using signs with phrases like, “They have the First amendment because of the 2nd.”

Bloomberg’s anti-gun group of mayors will use their representative in Easton, PA to partner with Organizing for Action for an anti-gun rally this afternoon. Another MAIG mayor, this one from Chester in Delaware County, is advertising a press event for more gun control. In Pittsburgh, MAIG has recruited three of the Democratic candidates for mayor on this year’s ballot to do a press conference calling for more gun control.

OFA must have heard that Pennsylvania gun owners have been organizing massive postcard and letter campaigns to lawmakers as of late because now they are trying to do petitions for gun control in Democratic strongholds in and around Philadelphia like Media, Center City, New Hope, Ambler, and North Philadelphia.

Joining MAIG on the rally front, OFA has recruited Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro to lead their gun control drive locally. In the Lehigh Valley, OFA is doing a vigil tonight to promote more gun control. Across the state, OFA will hold a vigil outside of Rep. Mike Kelly’s office to pressure him to support more gun control.

After this primary day of action, OFA is setting up in Johnstown to have a hunter to come talk to volunteers and help them write letters to the editors of regional newspapers that support gun control from a fake pro-gun perspective. Also after the main action, MAIG is sponsoring a rally for gun control on Saturday just north of Philadelphia, alongside a local state representative’s new anti-gun advocacy group, Bucks Safe, that will coincide with the multi-million dollar television ad purchase made by Bloomberg.

In addition to calling your federal lawmakers and letting them know that you stand for the Second Amendment and expect the same from them, NRA is encouraging folks to change their social media icons today to the Stand & Fight logo.

Bloomberg Drops Big Money in Pennsylvania

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is spending $12 million dollars to target voters in key states, including Pennsylvania. The television ads run by the Mayor do not identify that they are funded by Bloomberg, and they feature a self-proclaimed gun owner actor who says that nothing about Sen. Chuck Schumer’s background check bill will put any current gun owners at risk. Informed gun owners who have read the language know that it’s an absolute trap designed to make the concept of a “transfer” so complicated that one needs legal advice to figure out if leaving town on a business trip will turn the entire family into felons facing five years in prison.

The anti-gun group founded & funded by Mayor Bloomberg is also making a splash local politics with an event in Bucks County this month. Mayors Against Illegal Guns is sponsoring a rally for gun control in Doylestown, 27 miles north of Philadelphia, alongside Rep. Steve Santarsiero‘s new anti-gun advocacy group, Bucks Safe, that will coincide with the television ad purchase.

The perception that Bloomberg’s political donations and multi-million dollar ad buys will provide political cover from upset voters may already be impacting the votes of Sen. Bob Casey. On Saturday morning, he voted against legislation that would prevent the United Nations from overriding individual Second Amendment rights protections through their Arms Trade Treaty. The amendment had bi-partisan support from Senators around the country, including Sen. Pat Toomey.

PA to Get $19.1 Million in Guns & Ammo Taxes

The run on firearms and ammunition since President Obama took office has frustrated many with bare shelves and long waits before orders are fulfilled. However, the surge in gun-related spending has resulted in a windfall of returns for hunters & shooters through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program.

Today, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced that Pennsylvania would receive a record $19,158,429 in matching grants to fund projects to restore, conserve, manage and enhance wild birds and mammals and their habitat. Projects also include providing public use and access to wildlife resources, hunter education and development and management of public shooting ranges. The non-federal share of project funds (at least 25% of a project cost) often comes from state revenues derived from license fees paid by hunters.

The total funds dispersed nationwide come to $522.5 million for the year, and that shatters the previous record of $473 million in 2010, according to media reports. That year, Pennsylvania received $17,020,573.

The Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act includes an apportionment formula that distributes program funds to States based on the area of the state (50%) and the number of paid hunting license holders (50%). No state may receive more than 5 percent, or less than one-half of one percent of the total apportionment.

Wildlife Restoration program funds come from manufacturer excise taxes collected by the U.S. Treasury and deposited in the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund. The Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR) administers the Trust Fund. Once collected, the funds are distributed to state fish and wildlife agencies for eligible wildlife restoration activities. The manufacturer excise taxes include:

10% tax on pistols, handguns, and revolvers; 11% on firearms and ammunition; and 11% tax on bows, quivers, broadheads, and points.

Gun Club Political Activism in Election Years

With the anti-gun bill package signed in Colorado, gun owners around then country must start laying the groundwork for 2014. Here in Pennsylvania, select regions may also start testing the water by targeting MAIG mayors in municipal elections this year.

For average gun owners who only have limited energy for following the political fight should still be focused on writing letters or making phone calls at the federal level. However, if you have the energy and dedication to step your activism up a notch, we’ve reached out to other activists to come up with ideas that members of gun clubs can use to make a difference for pro-gun candidates. (All of those looking to involve themselves in elections with organized gun clubs should look into any state or federal laws that may be relevant in terms of fundraising and in-kind donations before following ideas suggested here or developed offline.)

>> Contact the candidates you are backing and ask if they could set aside some “manual labor” type jobs for your club to offer during designated work times. The things that would most easily fit with typical gun range work times would be putting together yard signs, hammering together the frames for really large signs to be posted at intersections and larger plots of land, and even stuffing literature bags for precinct walks. These are activities that more gun guys who may not feel the most confident in walking door-to-door and being social or making phone calls to strangers can do. Even better, because of the need for target stands at many ranges, the tools and skills for building sign frames are already available.

>> Offer the club facility for use as a fundraising site for a local candidate. The campaign can handle everything, but they at least have use of the facility for free. The only real concern for the club in this case is to set up ground rules for use of the club (i.e. who is responsible for cleanup, any restrictions on catering, noise regulations, etc.).

>> Offer to actually host a fundraiser for a candidate or slate of candidates. Rather than simply allowing a campaign to use to property, the club would act as host of the fundraiser – arranging a caterer or finding club members who can cook up some hamburgers, inviting members and families, etc. While many people think of fundraisers as something big and expensive, they don’t have to be. Do a simple/cheap food theme and charge something like $25 or $30 per adult. If you do this early in the campaign season, you’re more likely to get the candidate out to the event where people can meet him/her and actually talk issues. And, there’s no reason to stop at just offering food. You could make it a shoot or match for added fun and social opportunities.

>> If the club is really willing to get involved, then work with a campaign to do secure pre-paid cell phones and set up a day to do some phone banking from the club. Bring in some pizza, sandwiches and sodas for club members, and give them work time credit. Make it a social event at the club. If the campaign is larger – like a Congressional or Senate campaign – then they may even have a list of call sheets that just target fellow sportsmen. It’s much, much easier to make a phone call to a stranger in support of a candidate when you know the talking points are about issues you know and the recipient is a fellow gun owner. If the local campaigns don’t have this level of targeting, NRA will have such systems in place to make calls to gun owners in favor of their endorsed candidates. Also, big secret to phone banking, you almost always just talk to answering machines, so it doesn’t require being that social.

>> See if the guys and gals who shoot matches with guns that are the targets of gun bans would be willing to get together one day for a couple of hours of door knocking and dropping off literature. Working in small groups is an easy way to knock out a neighborhood quickly, and it’s a bit of exercise and time in the sun.

>> If the club doesn’t have the facilities to host an event, use the club newsletter or calendar to promote outside candidate events like the low-level fundraisers, precinct walk days, and especially any kind of sportsmen’s outreach events. Unfortunately, you may not always have the months or weeks of heads up about these types of events required for traditional newsletter publication, but you can use a club website and/or an email list. Start thinking about these kinds of activities as typical additions to the club’s matches and other events. Just like competitions help preserve the Second Amendment by keeping people engaged with the gun culture, political work for pro-gun candidates also helps preserve the Second Amendment.

>> Invite your pro-gun lawmakers to club events where there will be quite a few people – picnics, major meetings, special events, etc. If you don’t have many club events to choose from, consider inviting them to join you at a table at a Friends of NRA dinner. Make sure to communicate with them what kind of event it is – whether or not it is one where they are allowed get up and say a few words or give a full speech. If you do arrange an event like this, give the scheduler or other staffer some idea of what the audience will be like. Sure, it may be taking place at a gun club, but that doesn’t mean the only issue people there care about relate to guns. If there are common traits or circumstances that apply to the membership beyond a shared love of our rights, let the lawmaker know so they can be prepared to answer questions about those issues, too.

>> Start at the real grassroots of your local political structures. A fellow NRA volunteer suggested identifying precinct or other hyper-local party captains or leaders in your area and inviting the pro-Second Amendment leaders to a social shoot at the facility. They could get to know club leaders, meet club members, and be reminded of the potential power of the pro-gun vote. Another consideration might be to issue an invitation to all of these hyper-local leaders to an educational class or demonstration at the range.

Background Check Bill Moves in US Senate

Anti-gun lawmakers kept the so-called “background check” bill that they planned to move in the US Senate under wraps, only putting forth a shell bill with no specifics. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) applied the text through an amendment at the last minute, before it passed. We now have the details of that bill, including the text. Only having time to skim the details, but here are the key problems:

If a gun owner leaves town for more than 7 days, and leaves a domestic partner or unrelated roommate at home with the guns, they would be committing a felony transfer. For states that recognize marriages that the federal government does not, there’s no exemption for those spouses. In any of these situations, it means 5 years in prison for the people involved. Actually, even married couples are questionably legal because the exemption between family only applies to gifts, not to temporary transfers. The 7-day implication is if a gun owner leaves their spouse at home for more than 7 days, it’s an unlawful transfer and they become a felon facing 5 years in prison. I suppose one could gift them to a spouse, or related co-habitant, and then have them gift the entire gun collection back upon arrival back home. Maybe the Attorney General will be generous enough to create a form for that type of temporary gift. It would be illegal to lend a gun to a friend to take shooting. That would be a transfer causing the offender to face 5 years in federal prison. The bill steals the livelihood of gun dealers by setting a fixed fee to conduct transfers. The fee is fixed by the Attorney General. What’s to prevent him or her from setting it at $1,000 in order to punish firearms owners? The legislation enacts de facto universal gun registration through record keeping requirements. All lost and stolen guns must be reported to the federal and local government. This means everyone will have to fill out the theft/loss form, and not just FFLs. Gun owners will only have 24 hours to comply. If one lose a gun on a hunting trip deep in the woods, and that person cannot get back home to fill out the form in less than 24 hours, they become a felon and will face 5 years in federal prison. If one hunter wants to lend a gun to a friend to go hunting, it’s a felony. The bill makes no exception for state permits to carry or other permits that require regular background checks. All transfers must go through a dealer or offenders will face 5 years in federal prison. Even gun owners who are teaching someone to shoot on their own land will be committing a felony with 5 years in prison if the new shooter is handed the gun. Such a transfer on private property is not exempted as lawful.

Gun owners need to punish any lawmaker who voted for this extreme bill. It’s nothing more than an attempt to put more gun owners in prison. Sen. Schumer was wise to keep this under wraps because his bill is truly draconian.  I not only expect the GOP to vote against this bill, I personally expect them to filibuster it. Let’s see if the Democrats can get to 60 without any Republican support, and the party may see how many of them want to lose their seats in 2014. (Neither of Pennsylvania’s Senators are up for re-election in 2014, but many are in states that take pride in their strong pro-gun traditions.)

This bill has nothing to do with ensuring people who are getting guns are law-abiding, and everything to do with getting backdoor registration and creating a patchwork of rules and laws that will land anyone who uses guns without first possessing a law degree in federal prison for a long time. Lots of otherwise law-abiding people are going to federal prison if this ends up passing, and many are convinced that’s the whole idea.

Pennsylvania gun owners need to contact Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey as soon as possible and ask them to oppose this so-called background check bill.

If you have heard a rumor that NRA plans to back this horrible legislation, please do not believe it. This rumor is being promoted by the former network known as MSNBC – a home to many hosts who do not believe in the individual right to bear arms. NRA-ILA has even put out a statement to address this issue.

Upcoming Elections: 2013

It seems like we just put the presidential election behind us, and, yet, there are already more elections to think about in terms of gun rights. Most political observers are already looking to 2014 with an anticipated competitive gubernatorial race and the possibility of at least one open Congressional seat. However, gun owners have a chance to make a difference for the Second Amendment in this year’s municipal elections against mayors who have been quietly lobbying Washington, DC officials in support of a ban on semi-automatic rifles.

Below, you’ll find just a few of the mayors in select counties facing election this year who have joined with New York City’s Michael Bloomberg to lobby against your right to bear arms.

Many of these mayoral races are unchallenged, but others are closer than you can imagine. For example, Penndel’s 2009 mayoral race was decided by just 68 votes. For a tiny borough like Penndel, that seems like a pretty big margin. However, it doesn’t take into account significantly decreased turnouts. Fewer than 26% of registered voters in Bucks County actually cast a ballot in local races that year.

Across the border into Montgomery County, the mayoral race for Pottstown was decided by just 2 percentage points. Somewhat farther north, the mayor of Roseto in Northampton County was elected by only 53 votes. Out in the west, Ingram’s anti-gun advocate mayor in Allegheny County won his last election by just 9 votes!

Right now, candidates for municipal elections are still circulating petitions to get on the primary ballots on May 21. You may be able to find out from local opposing parties if there are known candidates for the office yet.

Bucks County
Chalfont – Marilyn Becker
Doylestown – Libby White
Ivyland – Charles Ritter
Langhorne – Christopher Blaydon
Penndel – Robert Winkler
Sellersville – Thomas Hufnagle
Telford – Jay Stover*
Tullytown – David Cutchineal

Montgomery County
Ambler – Bud Wahl
Hatboro – Norm Hawkes
Jenkintown – Ed Foley
Pottstown – Bonnie Heath
Souderton – John Reynolds
Telford – Jay Stover*

Northampton County
Bath – Donald Wunderler
Bethlehem – John Callahan*
Freemansburg – Gerald Yob
Northampton – Thomas Reenock
Roseto – Desiree D. DeNicola
Stockertown – Sherman Metzgar
Tatamy – Luke Duignam
West Easton – Gerald Gross
Wilson – David Perruso

Lehigh County
Allentown – Ed Pawlowski
Bethlehem – John Callahan*
Catasauqua – Barbara Schlegel
Emmaus – Winfield Iobst

Berks County
Bally – Phillip Ferrizzi
Bernville – Gail Stoudt
Birdsboro – Robert Myers
Boyertown – Marianne Deery
Hamburg – Roy Del Rosario
Kutztown – Sandra Green
Laureldale – Fred Feltenberger
Lyons – Randy Schlegel

York County
Felton – Gary McBrien
Jefferson – Jim Sanders
New Salem – Grace Angotti
Windsor – Larry Markel
Yoe – John Sanford
York – Kim Bracey

Armstrong County
Applewold – Gretchen Dosch

Butler County
Butler – Margaret Stock
Cherry Valley – Ronald Lockwood
Evans City – Gary Foster

Allegheny County
Aspinwall – Bernard Killian
Baldwin – Alexander Bennett, Jr.
Brentwood – Kenneth Lockhart
Castle Shannon – Donald Baumgarten
Chalfant – James Perry
Churchill – Paul McKenna
Clairton – Richard Lattanzi
Dormont – Thomas Lloyd
Duquesne – Philip Krivacek
East Pittsburgh – Louis Payne
Edgewood – J. Edward Cook
Edgeworth – Wayne Murphy
Emsworth – Dorothy H. Quinn
Homestead – Betty Esper
Ingram – Gerald Croushore
Lincoln – Nick Vay
Munhall – Raymond Bodnar
Sharpsburg – Richard Panza
Turtle Creek – Adam Forgie
West Elizabeth – Ralph Harrington
West Homestead – John Dindak
Whitehall – James Nowalk
Wilkinsburg – John Thompson

Westmoreland County
Bolivar – Everett Saxton
Manor – David Sturgess
Monessen – Mary Jo Smith
West Newton – Mary Popovich
Youngwood – Joan Derco

Greene County
Greensboro – Arnie Bowser

Lawrence County
Ellport – Joseph Cisco
Ellwood City – Tony Court
Wampum – Jeffrey Steffler

Mercer County
Meadville – John Christopher Soff

Erie County
Erie – Joseph Sinnott
Lake City – Joseph Legnasky
McKean – Weslee A. Clapper-Krepps

*Crosses multiple county lines.

Upcoming Elections: 2013

It seems like we just put the presidential election behind us, and, yet, there are already more elections to think about in terms of gun rights. Most political observers are already looking to 2014 with an anticipated competitive gubernatorial race and the possibility of at least one open Congressional seat. However, gun owners have a chance to make a difference for the Second Amendment in this year’s municipal elections against mayors who have been quietly lobbying Washington, DC officials in support of a ban on semi-automatic rifles.

Below, you’ll find just a few of the mayors in select counties facing election this year who have joined with New York City’s Michael Bloomberg to lobby against your right to bear arms.

Many of these mayoral races are unchallenged, but others are closer than you can imagine. For example, Penndel’s 2009 mayoral race was decided by just 68 votes. For a tiny borough like Penndel, that seems like a pretty big margin. However, it doesn’t take into account significantly decreased turnouts. Fewer than 26% of registered voters in Bucks County actually cast a ballot in local races that year.

Across the border into Montgomery County, the mayoral race for Pottstown was decided by just 2 percentage points. Somewhat farther north, the mayor of Roseto in Northampton County was elected by only 53 votes. Out in the west, Ingram’s anti-gun advocate mayor in Allegheny County won his last election by just 9 votes!

Right now, candidates for municipal elections are still circulating petitions to get on the primary ballots on May 21. You may be able to find out from local opposing parties if there are known candidates for the office yet.

Bucks County
Chalfont – Marilyn Becker
Doylestown – Libby White
Ivyland – Charles Ritter
Langhorne – Christopher Blaydon
Penndel – Robert Winkler
Sellersville – Thomas Hufnagle
Telford – Jay Stover*
Tullytown – David Cutchineal

Montgomery County
Ambler – Bud Wahl
Hatboro – Norm Hawkes
Jenkintown – Ed Foley
Pottstown – Bonnie Heath
Souderton – John Reynolds
Telford – Jay Stover*

Northampton County
Bath – Donald Wunderler
Bethlehem – John Callahan*
Freemansburg – Gerald Yob
Northampton – Thomas Reenock
Roseto – Desiree D. DeNicola
Stockertown – Sherman Metzgar
Tatamy – Luke Duignam
West Easton – Gerald Gross
Wilson – David Perruso

Lehigh County
Allentown – Ed Pawlowski
Bethlehem – John Callahan*
Catasauqua – Barbara Schlegel
Emmaus – Winfield Iobst

Berks County
Bally – Phillip Ferrizzi
Bernville – Gail Stoudt
Birdsboro – Robert Myers
Boyertown – Marianne Deery
Hamburg – Roy Del Rosario
Kutztown – Sandra Green
Laureldale – Fred Feltenberger
Lyons – Randy Schlegel

York County
Felton – Gary McBrien
Jefferson – Jim Sanders
New Salem – Grace Angotti
Windsor – Larry Markel
Yoe – John Sanford
York – Kim Bracey

Armstrong County
Applewold – Gretchen Dosch

Butler County
Butler – Margaret Stock
Cherry Valley – Ronald Lockwood
Evans City – Gary Foster

Allegheny County
Aspinwall – Bernard Killian
Baldwin – Alexander Bennett, Jr.
Brentwood – Kenneth Lockhart
Castle Shannon – Donald Baumgarten
Chalfant – James Perry
Churchill – Paul McKenna
Clairton – Richard Lattanzi
Dormont – Thomas Lloyd
Duquesne – Philip Krivacek
East Pittsburgh – Louis Payne
Edgewood – J. Edward Cook
Edgeworth – Wayne Murphy
Emsworth – Dorothy H. Quinn
Homestead – Betty Esper
Ingram – Gerald Croushore
Lincoln – Nick Vay
Munhall – Raymond Bodnar
Sharpsburg – Richard Panza
Turtle Creek – Adam Forgie
West Elizabeth – Ralph Harrington
West Homestead – John Dindak
Whitehall – James Nowalk
Wilkinsburg – John Thompson

Westmoreland County
Bolivar – Everett Saxton
Manor – David Sturgess
Monessen – Mary Jo Smith
West Newton – Mary Popovich
Youngwood – Joan Derco

Greene County
Greensboro – Arnie Bowser

Lawrence County
Ellport – Joseph Cisco
Ellwood City – Tony Court
Wampum – Jeffrey Steffler

Mercer County
Meadville – John Christopher Soff

Erie County
Erie – Joseph Sinnott
Lake City – Joseph Legnasky
McKean – Weslee A. Clapper-Krepps

*Crosses multiple county lines.

Kathleen Kane Goes National with Gun Control

Not content to simply add new concealed carry restrictions to some people in Pennsylvania, Attorney General Kathleen Kane has decided to promote bans on commonly owned firearms and accessories used by Pennsylvania residents on national television. She took to Chris Matthews’ show to say that Pennsylvanians would gladly accept new gun restrictions.

Make sure that your lawmakers know that you don’t agree with the Attorney General, and that you want them to oppose new gun control measures!