Judge Kavanaugh, The Gun Lobby’s Prime Pick for SCOTUS

It’s hard to overstate what a massive blow President Trump’s latest Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. Court of Appeals, will be to our safety as Americans.

From the gun lobby’s perspective, his nomination could not be more timely. We as a nation are at a real crossroads when it comes to gun laws—a crossroads that the Supreme Court has been scrupulously avoiding for a decade. Our Supreme Court last carefully examined the Second Amendment in 2008’s District v. Heller case. In Heller, while the Court ruled (explicitly for the first time) that individual citizens had a right to private gun ownership, the Court also ruled that this right had limitations (naming a couple of examples like keeping guns out of the hands of violent felons as examples of exceptions)… but then has since failed to clarify just what these limitations are by refusing to entertain arguments on subsequent gun cases. While both the Court and Congress (and our state legislature) have failed to act, gun manufacturers have been flooding the market with military-style weapons and pushing products like bump stocks that easily convert guns with less firepower into military-style killing machines, and the gun lobby has fought to loosen regulations on every firearm and firearm accessory available in this country.

In the twelve years he has served on the appellate bench, Kavanaugh—usually writing in dissent–has long towed the “strict constructionist” Constitutional interpretative line so famously championed by jurists like Heller’s author, Antonin Scalia, in which all laws are to be scrutinized through the lens of what the Constitution’s framers allegedly had in mind when the document was drafted in the last decade and a half of the 1700s—it’s a perspective that places him at odds with nearly every progressive reform that’s occurred in our country since then. However, in the lone gun case (also filed by Heller and referred to as Heller II) on which he opined during his time on the court, he rejected Scalia’s reasoning in Heller and fully sided with the gun lobby, writing a dissent lambasting the D.C. court for upholding a District-wide ban on assault rifles.

If Kavanaugh is confirmed, we will all be placed in the gun lobby’s line of fire. His dissent in Heller II shows a man who is more than ready to push the NRA agenda from the bench; that, coupled with the distinctly conservative bent of the Court’s majority these days, could lead not only to more gun cases at the Supreme Court level, but more loosened regulations on guns than we’ve seen in this country since the days of the Wild West. We need to do everything we can to protect the Constitution and, more importantly, protect ourselves, our children, and their children—we need to fight Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination with every ounce of energy that we have.

Posted in CeaseFirePA News, Court Cases, Events, General Interest | Tagged |

An attempt to understand why PA falls short on gun violence prevention

G. Terry Madonna and Michael Young wrote a piece for Madonna’s Politically Uncorrected column.  They aim to understand how Pennsylvanians when polled consistently and overwhelmingly support GVP measures, and why the legislature is equally as consistent in failing to adopt any policies.

Madonna and Young recognize the power of the gun lobby and talk extensively about the priorities among political parties and an, “ownership gap”.  The article comes on the heels of the legislature flirting with several GVP bills only to ignore all of them and break for the summer.

Read the full article here.

Posted in General Interest | Tagged |

PA Voters’ Support for Gun Reform at an All-Time High

A new public opinion poll conducted by Franklin and Marshall found that support by Pennsylvania voters for gun regulation is at an all-time high.

Franklin and Marshall’s June 2018 poll found that:

  • 86% favor expanding background checks
  • 61% favor banning assault weapons
  • 51% raising the minimum age for gun purchases to 21

This is the highest amount of support for gun reform in the history of Franklin and Marshall Polling, which has been conducting polls since 1994 and has asked questions about gun regulations for over a decade.

In June, the House Judiciary Committee failed to vote Universal Background Checks, HB1400, out of committee.

CBS Philadelphia published a story on the results of the poll.

Posted in General Interest |

House Judiciary Committee Passes Wave of Gun Safety Reform Bills

Today the House Judiciary Committee voted to advance legislation that would ban bump stocks. Bump stocks are an accessory for rifles that makes it act automatically by harnessing the energy of the kickback from firing the weapon. 

Unfortunately, the Judiciary Committee also voted down House Bill 1400, the universal background checks bill. This bill would have expanded background check requirements for the private sale of long guns.

Yesterday, the Committee passed historic gun violence prevention measures. The House Judiciary Committee voted to advance House Bill 2060, which requires those with protection from abuse orders to turn in their firearms within 24 hours. This measure is aimed at reducing fatalities from domestic violence by firearm.

The Committee also voted to advance House Bill 2227, which is known as an extreme risk protection order bill. This bill would give families members the tool to go to court to petition a judge to issue a temporary ban on access to firearms to a loved one in distress. This measure is aimed at reducing suicides by firearm.

 

Domestic Violence Protections

 

 

Extreme Risk Protection Order

 

 

Background Checks

 

Bump Stock Ban
Member Vote Member Vote Member Vote Member Vote
Bloom Nay Bloom Nay Bloom Nay Bloom Nay
Corbin Yea Corbin Yea Corbin Nay Corbin Nay
Delozier Yea Delozier Yea Delozier Nay Delozier Nay
English Yea English Yea English Yea English Yea
Everett Yea Everett Yea Everett Nay Everett Nay
Jozwiak Yea Jozwiak Yea Jozwiak Nay Jozwiak Nay
Klunk Yea Klunk Nay Klunk Nay Klunk Nay
Knowles Nay Knowles Nay Knowles Nay Knowles Nay
Marsico Yea Marsico Yea Marsico Nay Marsico Yea
Nesbit Nay Nesbit Nay Nesbit Nay Nesbit Nay
Saccone Yea Saccone Nay Saccone Nay Saccone Nay
Schemel Nay Schemel Nay Schemel Nay Schemel Nay
Stephens Yea Stephens Yea Stephens Yea Stephens Yea
Toohil Yea Toohil Yea Toohil Yea Toohil Yea
Topper Nay Topper Nay Topper Nay Topper Nay
White Yea White Yea White Yea White Yea
Barbin Yea Barbin Nay Barbin Nay Barbin Nay
Bizzarro Yea Bizzarro Yea Bizzarro Yea Bizzarro Yea
Briggs Yea Briggs Yea Briggs Yea Briggs Yea
Costa Yea Costa Yea Costa Yea Costa Yea
Davis Yea Davis Yea Davis Yea Davis Yea
Dawkins Yea Dawkins Yea Dawkins Yea Dawkins Yea
Dean Yea Dean Yea Dean Yea Dean Yea
McClinton Yea McClinton Yea McClinton Yea McClinton Yea
Miller Yea Miller Yea Miller Yea Miller Yea
Mullery Yea Mullery Yea Mullery Yea Mullery Yea
Petrarca Nay Petrarca Nay Petrarca Nay Petrarca Nay
Passed 21-6 Passed 18-9 Failed 13-14 Passed 14-13

 

Posted in CeaseFirePA News, General Interest, Legislation |

Victory in Judiciary!

Today the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee voted to advance three key gun safety reform bills, bills that are designed to save lives. The Committee voted to approve House Bills 2227, 2060, and 273.  Each of these bills creates a process to make sure that someone in danger of harming themselves or others will at least temporarily be barred from possessing or purchasing firearms.

 

“We know thousands of constituents contacted the members of the Judiciary Committee to urge them to vote these bills to the Floor. We thank Chairman Marsico for holding days of hearings on public safety and gun violence prevention and bringing these bills to a vote, and we are so pleased the Judiciary Committee voted for these bills in such a strong, bipartisan fashion,” said Shira Goodman, Executive Director of CeaseFirePA.

 

HB 2227 creates an extreme risk protection order that allows families and law enforcement to petition judges to temporarily restrict a family member’s access to firearms if they believe that family member may do harm to themselves or others. This measure is aimed at preventing suicides and potentially mass shootings, and is in effect in 10 other states.

 

HB 2060 requires that those subject to a final protection from abuse order must relinquish their firearms within 24 hours. Under current state law, the judge has the discretion whether to order surrender, and when surrender is ordered, the individual has 60 days to surrender firearms, including to a third-party. HB 2060 changes this to 24 hours and limits the categories of persons to whom surrender may be made. We know that the combination of guns and domestic violence is lethal. This will help protect families in some of the most dangerous times.

 

Finally, HB 273 allows individuals to put themselves – temporarily – on a no-buy list.  This also creates a tool for people in crisis to use to keep themselves and their families safe.

 

“This is the first time in years, strong bills to save lives will reach the House Floor,” said Goodman. “There is much work to be done, and we urge Pennsylvanians to let their representatives know they expect swift and certain action.”

Posted in CeaseFirePA News, General Interest, Guns In the News, Legislation, Press Release, Reports & Hearings |

Historic Judiciary Committee Firearms Bill Votes Scheduled for Tomorrow, June 19

CeaseFirePA is pleased to announce potentially big news brewing here in Pennsylvania. Tomorrow (June 19), for the first time in many years, our state House Judiciary Committee may be voting on as many as nine firearms-related bills; also uniquely (as of June 18), we believe that at least six, if not seven, of these bills would save lives and considerably improve the lives of Pennsylvanians.

We unreservedly support HB 1400, HB 2060, HB 1872, HB 273, HB 2266, and HB 2267, and urge you to call your state representative immediately to encourage him or her to vote for these bills in committee and on the House floor, should these bills pass out of committee. HB 1400 would close the loophole in Pennsylvania law that currently allows buyers to purchase long guns—guns that can range from an antique musket to (much more frequently) an AR-15 military-styled rifle—without undergoing a background check; background checks on every gun sold in Pennsylvania are long overdue. HB 2060 is the House version of SB 501, the bill that closes dangerous loopholes in Protection from Abuse and other domestic violence laws that passed the state Senate earlier this year. HB 1872 would ban bump-stocks—like those used tragically in last October’s Las Vegas shooting–and any other trigger-enhancing devices that can easily allow criminals to convert otherwise legal semi-automatic weapons into unlawful fully-automatic weapons. HB 273 would allow Pennsylvania citizens to, completely on their own accord, place themselves on a list prohibiting them from owning firearms. And HB 2266 and HB 2267 would both considerably aid in the sharing of vital mental health and substance-abuse-related information between our courts and state law enforcement.

We support HB 2227, our legislature’s “red flag” law, in either its current form, or with amendments A07721 or AO7718 attached; HB 2227 would save countless lives by—at long last—providing family members with a legal path to successfully (and temporarily) remove firearms from an armed fellow family member in crisis, through the issuance of a temporary (and then final) Extreme Risk Protection Order. Seeing as the NRA has just changed its position from neutral to “opposed,” we are supporting it, but proceeding with caution.

We remain neutral on HB 2275, which would expand the list of crimes that preclude firearms ownership to include associated criminal conspiracy crimes.

And lastly, we have concerns about HB 2463, which could potentially weaken restrictions that keep firearms out of the hands of those who have been adjudicated to be threats to themselves or others, but will be watching what happens with the other votes tomorrow and with the amendment process before taking a formal position on it.

We at CeaseFirePA will keep you posted regarding future actions and the legislature’s progress following the Judiciary Committee’s meeting tomorrow. As always, thank you for your support.

Posted in CeaseFirePA News, General Interest, Legislation, Reports & Hearings | Tagged , , , , |
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