Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pennsylvania Gun "Control" Bills

I did a short piece over at the Window blog about an e-mail I sent to my state representative, Stan Saylor:

PA House Bill 521

House Bill 521 (2013) would require all persons holding a License to Carry hold liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000.  When I heard about this, I immediately wrote to Rep. Stan Saylor (who is, it turns out, my across-the-parking lot neighbor).

Rep Saylor,

This is what I refer to as a "nibble"... a "feel-good" means of nibbling away at citizen's rights.  It is an underhanded attempt to make it more difficult (in this case, expensive) for citizens to exercise their Constitutional right to own and carry firearms.

Please vote "No".

Thank you,

After the protest last Saturday, I decided to see what else our busy little state people had in mind for us.  Turns out, quite a bit!  Aside from the liability insurance ploy, they're proposing:

(Links to the full text of the bills.)
HB 517 - an "assault weapons" ban.  Like elsewhere, the criteria are all pretty much cosmetic.  It starts out with this:

"(c) Definition.--As used in this section, the term "assault weapon" means:
 (1) Any selective-fire firearm capable of fully automatic, semiautomatic or burst fire at the option of the user or any of the other following specified
(list follows)

I don't know if this means my semi-automatic .22, which is incapable of full auto fire.

The bill then goes into a full Chinese menu of cosmetic features, any two together resulting in the wepon being banned.  I want to know how law enforcement is expected to remember all of this??

HB 239 - a firearms registration act:

"Section 3.  Registration.
(a)  General rule.--All firearms in this Commonwealth shall
be registered in accordance with this section. It shall be the
duty of a person owning or possessing any firearm to cause the
firearm to be registered. No person within this Commonwealth may
possess, harbor, have under the person's control, transfer,
offer for sale, sell, give, deliver or accept any firearm unless
the person is the holder of a valid registration certificate for
the firearm. No person within this Commonwealth may possess,
harbor, have under the person's control, transfer, offer for
sale, sell, deliver or accept any firearm which is
unregisterable under this act."

Further along, the best part:

"Each person holding a registration certificate shall:

(3)  Keep any firearm in the registrant's possession unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock, gun safe or similar device unless the firearm is in the      registrant's immediate possession and control while at the registrant's place of residence or business or while being used for lawful recreational purposes within this Commonwealth. This paragraph shall not apply to law enforcement personnel or security personnel while in the course of their employment."

Does that supercede my carry permit?  Will I have to keep my pistol unloaded while I carry it?  How much will registration cost?

Next up, HB 518 - Imposes a duty to retreat

"Amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in general principles of justification, further providing for definitions, for use of force in self-protection, for use of force for the protection of property and for use of force by persons with special responsibility for care, discipline or safety of others.

(1) The use of force is not justifiable under this

    (iii) if the actor knows that he can avoid the
     necessity of using such force with complete safety by
     retreating; or
     (iv) if the actor was instructed by a peace officer
     or public safety dispatcher to not pursue another person."
Those two phrases are scattered throughout the existing bill.

I suppose if a police officer said "Don't follow him", I'd be inclined to stay put.  Don't know if I need that spelled out.  But, if some shag-nasty is coming after me with a knife, I would prefer not to have to be forced to spend time figuring out if I'll be safe under the bed or not. Thinking about that, versus the immediate threat, seem to be, well, unsafe.

And, don't worry.  The state Senate has gotten into the act too, with SB 435.

SB 435 - "Assault Weapons Ban"

"Class 1 assault weapon." Any of the following:
(1) A semiautomatic center fire rifle capable of accepting detachable magazines and a pistol grip protruding conspicuously below the weapon's action, a thumbhole stock or folding or telescopic stock; a flash suppressor, grenade launcher or flare launcher; or a forward pistol grip.
(2) A semiautomatic center fire rifle with overall length of less than 30 inches.
(3) A semiautomatic center fire rifle with a fixed magazine capable of holding over ten rounds of ammunition.
(4) A semiautomatic pistol capable of accepting detachable magazines and a threaded barrel; a second handgrip; a capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside the pistol grip; or a shroud attached to, or partially or completely encircling, the barrel allowing the bearer to fire the weapon without burning the bearer's hand, except for a slide enclosing the barrel.
(5) A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine having the capacity to accept over ten rounds.
(6) A semiautomatic shotgun having a folding or telescoping stock; a pistol grip protruding conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon, a thumbhole stock or a vertical handgrip.
(7) A semiautomatic shotgun with the ability to accept detachable magazines.
(8) A shotgun with a revolving cylinder.

"Large capacity magazine." Any detachable ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than ten rounds of ammunition. The term does not include any of the following:
(1) a feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than ten rounds;
2) a .22 caliber tube ammunition feeding device; or
(3) a tubular magazine that is contained in a lever action firearm.
Section 2. This act shall take effect in 60 days."
Nibbles, as I said to Mr. Saylor. I'm gratified to find that his name is on none of the House bills.

I shall be paying him a visit, soonest!

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