The Election is weeks away and the gun show is on in Pennsylvania. There seems to be a mad rush among those running for office to be known as the staunchest supporter of unlimited, uncontrolled access to any and all types of firearms. I recently heard a pundit proclaim that sensible gun legislation will never occur on a national level (as it did when Jim Brady was injured during the attempt to assassinate Ronald Reagan); he proposed that the issue would have to be handled at the state level.
In a recent article in The Philadelphia Daily News, Mike Baer revealed some interesting and perhaps surprising facts about Pennsylvania’s gun culture. Thirty-four percent of our 12 million-plus residents own firearms. We are rated by Guns & Ammo magazine as more gun-friendly than any of our mid-Atlantic neighbors. According to the Harrisburg Patriot News, we have more NRA members than any other state. Next week there is a fund raiser for Rep. Jeff Pyle (Armstrong County) that’s a field shoot. For $375.00 the invitation reads, “You can handle and operate firearms you’ve only read about and seen in the movies.” Pyle told Baer, “It’s a fully automatic machine-gun shoot.”
There is more, but the point is that people with some common sense need to be aware of several bills currently being pushed in our own state legislature that could escalate (if that is possible) the gun craziness in our state.
Bill 2011 would allow citizens, the NRA or other gun groups to sue municipalities with local gun ordinances (such as Philly’s) requiring reporting of lost or stolen guns and collect legal fees and damages if they win. This bill has 38 co-sponsors including four western PA Dems. It is positioned to be voted on this week. This bill is expected to pass the house easily. Please call immediately to register your opinion on this legislation.
In the Senate, there is legislation to allow teachers to carry guns. Harrisburg can’t bring itself to fund schools properly and bail out Philadelphia’s struggling public schools, but some law makers are willing to ensure that there are guns, if not books, in the schools. If you have been reading the paper, you already realize that teachers might not be the best equipped to be toting firearms. One Utah elementary teacher was injured when her gun went off in the restroom shattering the toilet bowl. She was injured by toilet bowl shrapnel. An Idaho professor accidentally shot himself in the foot in the middle of class.
CeaseFirePA, a statewide group, recently rallied in Harrisburg in support of the following:
HB 1010– expansion of background checks for private sales of long guns.
HB 1243 with the Santarsiero Amendment A06142 –requires that the state share mental health information with the national registry
HB 1515 requires that lost or stolen guns be reported to the police within a time frame.
The group opposes HB 2011 explained above.
Steve Santarsiero summed up the chances of HB 1010: ”The [GOP] leaderships of the House will not let that happen.”
When Jim Brady was seriously wounded in 1981, the Brady Bill requiring federal background checks of gun buyers was passed. After the massacre of innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, more legislation supporting gun ownership and the use of assault weapons has been passed. Oh how the tide has shifted in this country! The gun advocates are busy making their voices heard. We need to do the same and support those legislators who are brave enough to fight against the rising tide of gun insanity. Call your state representatives and senators and voice your support of the sensible Bills explained above and please do it soon. We need to keep in mind that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for enough good women to do nothing.
Written by Peggy Walsh, a retired English teacher who is pleased to find a dedicated group of women who are committed to creating a safe, fair, and hopeful society for women and families. When she is not writing blogs, she is caring for her two grandchildren. Peggy keeps her hand in education through tutoring.