Gov. Corbett Signs Castle Doctrine!

The time has finally come to return common sense and good judgment to state government, and this legislation is a step in that direction. A criminal should never have an advantage over a citizen who abides by the rules of decent society, and today, we finally achieved the goal of returning the right of self-defense to the law-abiding.” – Rep. Scott Perry

The NRA-ILA talked to Castle Doctrine sponsors and just released this announcement minutes after the bill was signed by Gov. Tom Corbett:

Governor Tom Corbett has signed Pennsylvania Castle Doctrine legislation into law. This common-sense measure permits law-abiding citizens to use force, including deadly force, against an attacker in their home and any place where they have a legal right to be. It also protects individuals from civil lawsuits by an attacker or attacker’s family when force is used.

“Gov. Corbett and Pennsylvania lawmakers know that law-abiding citizens must have the right to protect themselves when criminals attack without fear of being second-guessed by an overzealous prosecutor,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. “Crime victims don’t have the luxury of time when confronted by a criminal and must be able to count on the law being on their side. This new law accomplishes that by removing any mandate of forcible retreat.”

The NRA has led the nationwide movement to pass Castle Doctrine legislation, beginning with Florida in 2005. Pennsylvania is the 27th state to adopt this important measure with overwhelming bipartisan support. House Bill 40, sponsored by Rep. Scott Perry (R-92), passed by a 164 to 37 margin. Richard Alloway, II (R-33), sponsored the companion bill to HB 40, Senate Bill 273, which passed 43-4.

“I am very gratified that Governor Corbett has signed this legislation into law, correcting the grievous error made by the previous administration in denying these long-sought protections to our citizens,” said Rep. Perry. “There are many people who have worked hard to get this legislation to this point, and I am grateful to my House and Senate colleagues and to the National Rifle Association for their support. The time has finally come to return common sense and good judgment to state government, and this legislation is a step in that direction. A criminal should never have an advantage over a citizen who abides by the rules of decent society, and today, we finally achieved the goal of returning the right of self-defense to the law-abiding.”

“Law-abiding gun owners should not have to fear prosecution for acting to prevent a violent crime,” said Sen. Alloway, who introduced Castle Doctrine legislation that was approved by the Senate in March. “I am thankful that the General Assembly has taken action to protect responsible gun owners who respond when facing a serious threat from a criminal. I would also like to thank the NRA for their strong leadership and hard work on this effort as it moved through the legislative process.”

“On behalf of NRA members and all gun owners in Pennsylvania, I would like to thank Rep. Perry; Sen. Alloway; and Gov. Corbett for their leadership in helping make Castle Doctrine a reality for Pennsylvanians,” concluded Cox. “This Castle Doctrine bill places the law on the side of law-abiding gun owners who unfortunately become victims of crime – exactly where the law should be.”

Responses to Castle Doctrine Passage

Since the Senate passed Castle Doctrine by a 45-5 vote this week, Governor Tom Corbett’s office has reiterated his support of the bill several times.  His spokesman told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he still plans to sign the legislation.  Activists have been asking for his support since he started running for office.

In addition to talking to the mainstream press, Gov. Corbett’s office also took to social media to spread the news with this post on Facebook:
Governor Corbett will soon sign into law the Castle Doctrine legislation that the Senate recently passed.

But anti-gun activists won’t let up. With biting commentary about lawful gun owners who choose to carry concealed firearms, they have taken to his Facebook page to respond. Here are a few of the comments from those looking to restrict our rights:
“Donna Fisher: Why do sane and sensible people have to be endangered by yahoo gun-slingers who let fear rule their lives?”

“Gavin Jensen: Good news for all those who live in the Yosimite-Sam-Dirty-Harry-gun-slinger fantasy world: you don’t have to wait for someone to come into your house before you shoot them. Now it’s legal on your front lawn! Why retreat when you can reload, right?”

“Jason Penopolis DeWitt: Actually I think Gavin has captured the overall direction of the bill. Instead of returning to your home at the first sign of trouble, you simply kill the person causing the trouble and label it “self defense”. Kill first, ask questions never.”

These are all people who clearly have not read the current law or the bill in question. Fortunately, more informed folks have made an effort to set the facts straight in the post, but it reminds us why we must contact even lawmakers who regularly support our rights and thank them for that support. We cannot let those who want to infringe upon our rights be the only voices our lawmakers hear in these debates.

Lifting Anti-Hunting Blue Laws

Alerts from NRA and NSSF this week announced a public meeting of the Pennsylvania House Game and Fisheries Committee tomorrow to tackle the topic of ending the the blue law that bans Sunday hunting dating back to the 1870s.

The Sunday Hunting Coalition – a group of 14 organizations that believe the prohibitions on Sunday hunting that remains in only a handful of states should be overturned – points out that Pennsylvania would see a significant economic boost from expanding the number of days hunters are allowed to take to the fields and woods.
The estimated impacts from a lift on the ban on Sunday hunting are based on responses to surveys of hunters in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. In these two states, government agencies conducted extensive surveys of hunters in which they were asked to report the number of additional days they would participate in hunting if the Sunday hunting ban were to be lifted. Based on these responses, it is estimated that hunters will participate in, on average, about 22 percent of the additional days made available to them from the lifting of the ban. In other words, if the lifting of restrictions increased the number of hunting days by 10, the average hunter would increase their hunting days by about two.

Specifically, Pennsylvania would likely see a direct economic impactDirect impacts include jobs, output, and wages created from primary hunter expenditures ranging from licenses, ammunition, and hunting supplies to food, fuel, and magazines. that could create more than 4,400 jobs with wages topping $99 million. Of all the states with Sunday hunting bans or heavy restrictions, Pennsylvania stands to gain the most jobs and economic impact of a repeal of the prohibition. Neighboring states with similar bans such as New Jersey and Delaware would also see an economic benefit, but to the tune of only 560 and 225 jobs, respectively. Should Pennsylvania repeal the ban first, it is possible that the Keystone State could absorb more of those benefits as more out-of-state hunters are attracted to our state.

Blue laws, by definition, are extremely rigorous laws designed to regulate morals and conduct – often found in New England. They were enacted in order to restrict activity during the time that religious leaders believed citizens should be participating in religious activity. Many of these laws were repealed out of sheer common sense that we no long live in a world where influential leaders should be able to use government authority to promote their religious beliefs.

According to the Sunday Hunting Coalition, these laws started to fall in the late 19th century as they were challenged by business groups whose members were harmed by the forced closure. Their research shows that Pennsylvania is seriously behind on this trend of repealing these harmful laws since by 1970, only 25 states still had blue laws. By 1984, the number had fallen to only 13 states.

For many hunters, weekends are their only opportunities to get outdoors. Our Sunday hunting ban effectively cuts available hunting time in half for our sportsmen who already struggle to find the time and space to enjoy the hunt. For many, it also intrudes on their opportunities to invite friends or children along in order to share our outdoor heritage and pass it on to future generations.

Citizens who wish to attend the House committee meeting may do so on Thursday, June 9. The hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Seven Springs Mountain Resort, 777 Waterwheel Drive in Seven Springs.

Presidential Politics & Pennsylvania

With so many candidates expected to announce their presidential campaign plans during the next month, and several who already have done so, we thought it would be interesting to remind followers of a Pennsylvania connection to gun owners by one of the leading contenders for the GOP nomination.

In 2008, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty stopped by the Factoryville Sportsmen’s Club in Wyoming County to launch Sportsmen for McCain. He discussed a variety of issues important to gun owners at the time, and this video is well worth a few minutes of your time.

For more information on the woman he referenced in his speech and her incredible story, read about her here.

Anti-Gun Protests at NRA Meeting

About 200 people marched on the 140th NRA Annual Meeting in April, and we went to talk to a few of them about what inspired them to participate in a protest, what they believed was happening inside the convention, how they felt about concealed carry at such an event, and how they view the Second Amendment. It was quite an enlightening experience.

Thanks to volunteer Adam Z. for coming out to the event with us and taking photos.

Honoring Those Who Gave All

Below, you’ll find a video that NRA created for Veteran’s Day in a couple of years ago. However, the respect, courage, and bravery it depicts of our men and women in uniform reminds us of those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights.

Castle Doctrine Update

Recently, I was suprised to see a press release from Senator Richard Alloway containing a link to an interview I conducted with NRA’s Pennsylvania State Liaison last session (also posted here).  Senator Alloway is the sponsor of the Castle Doctrine bill in the Senate, and he has been instrumental in trying to get this passed for us in order for it to be sent to the Governor. On the long road to get this bill passed, there have certainly been a lot of rumors, allegations, and frustrations expressed along the way. Senator Alloway addresses many of these in his release, but I’ve noticed the current delay in passage is creating more rumors.

One of those rumors is that there is a deal in the works to pass so-called Florida Loophole (restrictions on reciprocity of concealed carry licenses) along with Castle Doctrine. I talked to NRA’s State Liaison, John Hohenwarter, this week and asked if there was a deal to amend the Florida Loophole in exchange for moving Castle Doctrine. He assured me that there is no deal in the works, and Castle Doctrine should be able to pass as a clean bill.

We have discussed the history that shows the Senate is a tougher landscape for pro-Second Amendment legislation than the House. It’s important that you call your State Senator and tell them you want Castle Doctrine passed. The more they hear from us, the faster this can happen. Keep in mind that our opposition’s goal is to drag things out as much as possible, in the hope of exhausting us, and turning us against each other. Unfortunately, from what I’ve seen, there’s evidence that tactic is working. We can get Castle Doctrine, but only if we keep marching in the same direction.

HSUS Agenda Hurts American Families

Recently, the USDA announced a fine of $90,643 against a Missouri family for selling rabbits. The family has not been accused of mistreating animals in any way. In fact, they were recognized by experts in the area for their incredible quality and how well they treat them. That quality is why a pet store started buying some of their rabbits for resell to the public. When that family didn’t fill out the right paperwork, well, that brought down the force of the federal government on them.

But what’s telling about this story is that the USDA staff have repeatedly said they are stepping up enforcement of these laws – even if it means fining families $90K for paperwork violations – and that they intend to use these kinds of cases in order to teach a lesson. And where did the Obama administration get that directive? Directly from the HSUS Change Agenda for Animals presented to the White House at the beginning of his term. Here’s the portion relevant to the Missouri case:

U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
3) Enforcement – …increase oversight of key federal laws (…Animal Welfare Act (AWA)…); …impose strong penalties (not suspension of fines, as is so typical now); …resume issuance of press releases on enforcement actions to maximize deterrent impact…

Hunters, you better pay attention. We have outlined all of the provisions in the “Change Agenda” that go after participation in the outdoor sports and even ways that the agenda targets concealed carry holders. They won’t ban hunting directly, but they’ll use the full force of the federal government to make the lives of hunters complicated and risky of violations at every turn.

NRA President Discusses 2012 Plans

David Keene, the recently elected President of the National Rifle Association, sat down with Washington Journal to discuss the NRA’s role in elections past and present. With callers chiming in, the topics ranged from current efforts to ban magazines, which players already on the field for 2012 have records supporting the Second Amendment, and what role women play in the nation’s oldest civil rights organization.

PA Gun Owners Talk Elections & Participation

Anyone who has spent time at a gun club or talking to other gun owners know that a significant portion of our community not only votes, but they are engaged in their community more than many non-gun owners. All three contributors from were in Pittsburgh armed with a camera and media passes to talk to gun owners and find out more about their participation in elections and campaigns and what they know about their local leaders regarding the Second Amendment.