The Supremacy Issue
Numerous attorneys and others wrote to challenge my position in Page Nine
#63 http://www.gunlaws.com/Page9Folder/PageNine-63.htm that Mr. Obama's
run-around gun treaty could conveniently bypass the legislative process and
the Constitution, like John M. says here:
"While your item in "Page 9" about Congress and the Obamanation Administration using an Inter-American Treaty on 'arms trafficking' to do an end-run around the Second Amendment is certainly scary, I'm not ready to concede (as you appear to do) that a treaty supersedes the Constitution under Article VI." He goes on to describe why Art. VI and other safeguards will protect us.
Many people went into greater detail. Cases were cited (Reid v. Covert; Missouri v. Holland; Whitney v. Robinson; Cherokee Tobacco). One high-placed lobbyist felt fairly safe because, "While an international treaty bypasses House consideration, it requires two-thirds of the Senate for ratification - a tall order even in ObamaNation."
Other people were less sure, like Chuck G. here: "I'm still up in the air about it as I've heard all my life exactly what you stated."
I too always heard what he had heard -- treaties supercede the Constitution -- and always thought it odd. Go read Article VI, cl. 2 yourself. The language is crystalline. One attorney at a high-profile think tank believes, "The federal government will have arguable legal authority to seize our guns and ammunition if this treaty is signed." So...
1. Opinions on the supremacy issue are inconsistent (though often adamant).
2. People who say the treaty won't be a problem point to a number of SCOTUS decisions, and perhaps stare decisis. Maybe that makes those folks fully comfortable with where Mr. Obama is heading on this. Less so for me.
3. SCOTUS precedents are increasingly ignored by those in power, with groovy rationalizations each time. And SCOTUS decisions have so eviscerated key elements of the Constitution, my faith there is shaken, not stirred.
4. The courts, which should provide more balance, a) don't, b) are run by the very people they're supposed to balance, and c) all too often use the completely worthless rational-basis test, knowing it's worthless, to allow every short-of-insane law to stand.
5. Given a choice of support for gun-rights or outright gun bans, we know which way this administration will go.
6. Four of the current SCOTUS Justices have expressed interest in defining U.S. law from foreign sources, leaving us one vote away from a new understanding of the supremacy clause.
7. Perhaps the biggest issue, though, making all else moot, is that new regs you can easily forecast coming from this treaty will be portrayed as a) required by international law so we're only doing what's right, b) required by Article VI however you like to read it, c) consistent with precedent, and most of all, d) not violative of the Second Amendment so no big deal.
After all, if, for instance, every home reloading enthusiast simply has to get a government license, pay an annual tax called a "fee," pass a test, accept "routine" BATFE searches without notice like FFLs must, and keep detailed records so government can fulfill its obligation to track all guns and ammo, backed up with threats of prison time for paperwork errors or a miscount of a single round, what's wrong with that?
Besides, you have an attorney general to protect you who's on record saying a ban on any working firearm in your own home is acceptable under 2A, so, what me worry?
You have a choice: assume the treaty won't be a problem, the supremacy clause will void any abuse and just let Mr. Obama enact the treaty, or remain a bit more skeptical of this man's motives. Choose wisely.
P.S. If Mr. Obama is indeed a Marxist at heart as so many people fear and some evidence tends to support, a debate over constitutional principles would be pointless.
2. Amend Constitution by Statute, Using EPA Laws
"The National Parks Service has announced it will not challenge a court order that temporarily stops the late-term Bush administration policy of allowing CCW-permit holders to carry in National Parks."
That's the news media's backwards way of saying the bureaucrats running the National Parks are delighted they don't have to allow CCW-permit holders to exercise their civil rights in the parks, at least for now.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issued a temporary injunction, favoring a lawsuit brought by gun-control and environmental activists. She gave the Interior Dept., which runs the parks, until April 20 to respond.
The idea that parks must first undergo environmental-impact approval before partially honoring the right to keep and bear arms is a complete subterfuge and extremely dangerous on several grounds.
Most obvious, there is NO environmental impact of carrying an unfired gun in a park or elsewhere. Even fired, at the rate CCW permitees fire their guns, the impact is so small it is essentially unmeasurable. The District Court/EPA/Brady effort is a transparent deception, used by hoplophobes and gun banners, to stop a ruling that would restore limited civil rights (for government permitees only) and could save lives and deter crime.
The original 25-year-old ban was created during the Reagan era, reversing the right to carry that existed on these public lands since the nation's founding.
A bigger problem however is that, if EPA can be used to stop mere concealed carry on the basis of enviro-impact, what does that say for any form of outdoor marksmanship? The impact difference between carry and use is obvious. If the precedent of allowing EPA to regulate CCW stands, this invites the wholesale destruction of any outdoor target practice on public land. Officials know this. Nationwide, public land is a mainstay of
open-air exercise of the right to bear arms -- for practicing for proficiency and safety.
Using environmental threats to deny the civil and human right of self defense and the constitutional right to keep and bear arms is environmental terrorism.
The biggest problem though is that this repugnant scheme uses a statute and its regulations -- the EPA machinery -- to suppress the Constitution itself, namely the Second Amendment.
An ongoing and increasing problem, EPA and numerous other federal agencies, FHA, FCC, FTC, FDA, TSA, EEOC and others have suppressed First Amendment free-speech guarantees for decades. Now, using EPA legislation, people in charge are making inroads into infringing RKBA out of existence. Such activity is patently illegal. The terms of the Constitution can only be changed by amendment, as described in the Constitution itself, and not by law making from Washington or anywhere else.
People suggesting or implementing such actions should be quickly removed from office for violation of their oath, and brought up on charges of denial of civil rights and abuse of power. That had better happen soon, because we are reaching a tipping point. How many abuses and usurpations need we endure before people take to their pitchforks?
3. National Ammo Shortage Is Suspicious
Call me skeptical, but something doesn't smell right about the length and severity of the ammo shortage in America. We're not short of ammo, we're out. Since November. This is the end of April. WalMart shelves are bare. Big 5 Sports here in Phoenix got its weekly truck and it had 3 boxes of .38s (150 rounds), no 9mm, no .357, no .380, no .45. Dealers I've asked uniformly say their orders are just not being filled, and they get no word
on what or when they'll get more.
Anyone with DIRECT connections to ammo makers is encouraged to ask questions, get names, and let me know what you hear. I've seen the unsubstantiated rumors on the web that there's a conspiracy, but the talk sounds wacky and the parts don't make sense. Why would for-profit companies voluntarily cut back production in hard economic times when demand has exploded?
That said, note that most American gun owners are not short of ammo. They have plenty socked away. They just can't buy more, or replace supplies used at the range and elsewhere. The situation is most acute however for newcomers, of which there are hundreds of thousands scared into buying their first gun, who learn quickly that a new gun without some shells isn't much of a good deal.
Also note that this panic/obsessive buying is a shot across the bow for the temperature of America -- what would it take to trigger similar runs on supplies of toilet paper, bottled water, tobacco, liquor, batteries, light bulbs, canned goods, coffee, medicines and any other commodities people depend upon. If ammo, a minor niche product is any gauge, we live in delicate times.
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Pittsburgh Public Schools Students Get Closer to Nature
The grounds of all Pittsburgh Public Schools soon will be greener and more inviting, with help from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s new School Grounds Greening Initiative. Thanks to a $1.5 million grant from the Grable Foundation, students and faculty alike will enjoy greener school grounds and will have more opportunities to interact with nature.
The project will add sustainable, low-maintenance greenery to all 66 Pittsburgh Public Schools over the next four years. WPC staff members will carry out the project in close collaboration with the Pittsburgh Public Schools' Chief Operations Office.
Features to be added to the school grounds include:
- Quiet spaces with plants and seating for students and teachers
- "Green" fences and walls enhanced with vegetation
- Raised beds for school-initiated planting projects
- Active play spaces with natural surfaces
- Additional trees
“Studies show that nature and green spaces foster children’s intellectual, social, emotional and physical development, so this gift to Pittsburgh Public Schools represents an important investment in our children’s futures,” said Superintendent Mark Roosevelt.
Funding for the initiative was secured in November 2007 and planning work began immediately thereafter. WPC completed greening projects at 12 schools during 2008 and plans to complete approximately 18 projects annually from 2009 until 2011.
“WPC, together with various community partners, is improving the school experience for children and their families,” said Gregg Behr, executive director of the Grable Foundation, a local charity dedicated to improving the lives of children. Recent contributions to the Pittsburgh Public School System by the Grable Foundation include awards to The Pittsburgh Promise and the Fund for Excellence in Pittsburgh Public Schools.
According to recent studies, children who experience school grounds with natural areas are more physically active, exhibit higher creativity, and even show a reduction in discipline and classroom management problems. Proximity to natural areas also increases students’ ability to focus while reducing stress. Futhermore, connecting young people with nature may benefit the environment as many authorities believe that the window of opportunity to form positive attitudes about the natural environment happens during early and middle childhood – and requires frequent interaction with “nearby” nature.
“We are honored to play a role in improving students’ learning environments through the School Grounds Initiative, and we thank the Grable Foundation for making this project possible,” said Tom Saunders, President and CEO of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
To learn more about the School Grounds Greening Initiative, visit our website. http://www.paconserve.org/
Source: Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
PA State Police (aka Rendell) to DEMAND
AR-15 Rifle Registration
The situation with AR-15 rifles is as follows: over the past several months I've been informed by gun dealers across the state of Pennsylvania that the Pennsylvania State police have been informing them that they must now register AR-15 rifles and other identifying information on the record of sale form just like they do with handguns. The interesting part of this is that they are failed to provide anything in writing. As time has progressed the Pennsylvania State police have been informing dealers that the release of this radical, illegal shift in policy would be forthcoming in the FFL dealer’s newsletter in mid July.
Fast forward to this week; two days ago I was informed by George Romanoff of Ace Sporting Goods and a representative of the National Shooting Sports Foundation that gun dealers would be notified of this new policy within two weeks.
The essence of this argument is that Pennsylvania law does not allow them (meaning to do it is ‘against’ the law) to demand this information and specifically excludes long gun, rifle and shotgun, from the requirement to complete the record of sale form for these purchases. Pennsylvania firearms dealers who comply with this policy dictate could, technically, themselves, be guilty of violating Pennsylvania law (which is a misdemeanor 1 crime-see section 6119) along with the Pennsylvania State police. PA Law (Title 18) States in pertinent part (see below):
§6111. Sale or transfer of firearms.
(1.4) Following implementation of the instantaneous records check by the Pennsylvania State Police on or before December 1, 1998, no application/record of sale shall be completed for the purchase or transfer of a firearm which exceeds the barrel lengths set forth in section 6102.
"Firearm." . . . .any shotgun with a barrel length less than 18 inches or any rifle with a barrel length less than 16 inches, or any pistol, revolver, rifle or shotgun with an overall length of less than 26 inches.
As you can see from the above sections of law, the Pennsylvania State Police have NO authority or justification for this new policy. Frankly this is a war that is being conducted and waged against gun owners in this state that originates directly from the executive office mansion and Ed Rendell.
It is, and has been, our position that the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) is an anachronism and an unnecessarily expensive distraction in this modern age and needs to be disbanded. We can turn over the functions of firearms instant checks to the National Instant Check System (NICS) which will not only do it for free but with far less complications to the gun buyer as well as the FFL dealer. The national instant check system is utilized by 38 states without any demonstrable problems.
There will be much, much more coming out in the next several weeks and I ask for your help in notifying gun owners about this problem. I know gun owners will wonder why this is a problem but let me give you an example of a situation that could be encountered by any owner of these firearms. If you are traveling home or to a range and get stopped by a police officer for any reason and during the course of this stop he sees that you have firearms in your vehicle. It is more than likely that he/she will decide to run each firearm against the Pennsylvania State police record of sale database (you know that illegal one that they continue to maintain at a cost to PA Taxpayers of over $500,000 a year). When the report comes back to the officer in the field that your favorite AR-15 is not registered in this Pennsylvania State Police Gun Registration System then in all likelihood what you will face is arrest and seizure of your property until "legal ownership" can be established, even though no crime has been committed other than the prejudice demonstrated by the particular law enforcement officer question. I know, when talking to gun owners, what you will encounter is that they will say this can't happen. Let me tell you I have in my files dozens of incidents (from ALL over the state) where gun owners encountered this very kind of attitude and even worse treatment than mentioned in my simple explanation.
As Dirty Harry would say, “do you (we) feel lucky”?
Two Great Pro-gun Amendments In The Senate -- But Harry Reid stands in our way
Thank you for all your activism so far!
Senator John Ensign of Nevada offered his amendment to repeal D.C.'s draconian gun ban today.
But Senators John Thune of South Dakota and David Vitter of Louisiana have also stepped up to the plate. They filed an amendment that would result in REAL national concealed carry reciprocity -- without adversely affecting no-permit states like Alaska and Vermont.
So now the battle lines are drawn! By the end of the week, the Senate will vote on whether to rule these two pro-gun amendments out of order.
The vote could come on a so-called "cloture" motion to cut off debate (and thus kill the Ensign and Thune/Vitter amendments). Moreover, if the underlying bill is then passed, the virulently anti-gun jurisdiction of the District of Columbia will be rewarded with a voting member of the House of Representatives.
But first, a little background on the two amendments:
You've all heard of the various "microstamping" proposals crafted by the anti-gunners to ban guns and ammunition nationwide.
The anti-gunners would do this by serial number "microstamping" requirements which are so onerous that guns (or ammunition) would become prohibitively expensive in all 50 states.
In the wake of the Heller case, the District of Columbia's reaction to the Supreme Court's decision declaring its gun laws unconstitutional was to pass legislation which will, as a practical matter, continue its current policy of denying gun licenses to its citizens. But, to add insult to injury, it added a whole bunch of additional anti-gun provisions.
One was a requirement that most guns used for self-defense be capable of "microstamping" a cartridge with a unique serial number.
Aside from being useless for identifying any criminal who pockets his spent brass, this provision would, even if it were technologically possible, make guns so expensive that no one would buy them.
If a few more liberal jurisdictions follow suit, this could start a chain reaction so that gun manufacturers will eventually be forced to manufacture ALL guns to meet the new microstamping standards.
The Ensign amendment would completely repeal D.C.'s gun ban and, in the process, help stave off the push for microstamping.
Next, the Thune/Vitter amendment on concealed carry reciprocity is an idea whose time has come. Why should your right to self-defense stop at the state line?
But it must be the right kind of national reciprocity. It must protect states like Alaska and Vermont which do not require a permit to carry concealed at all and it must be done in a Constitutional manner that protects State's rights.
The Thune/Vitter amendment would do these things -- it is REAL national reciprocity.
But the problem is this: Nevada Senator Harry Reid has moved to cut off debate on the D.C. bill -- using a parliamentary maneuver known as a "cloture" petition -- for the sole purpose of ruling such pro-gun amendments out of order.
You see, Barack Obama and the liberals who run Congress hate guns. They hate guns so much that they would probably be willing to kill the District's voting representative in order to preserve the District's gun ban.
The next two days are crucial. While there will be votes in the Senate throughout the day on Thursday -- which may include either of the two pro-gun amendments -- it is likely that the true focus will be on Friday's cloture vote.
ACTION: Contact your two Senators and urge them to vote AGAINST cloture on S. 160 until the Senate has had an opportunity to vote for all pro-gun amendments. As usual, you can use the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center at http://gunowners.org/activism.htm to send your Senators the pre-written message.
Obama’s USA Service Website Hosts Gun Buy Back Event
The usaservice.org website was originally set in place to facilitate Obama’s “call to service” on the national Martin Luther King Day of Service, a federally mandated “holiday” cooked up by Congress and Bill Clinton in 1994. “Individuals, businesses, non-profits, and churches from Baptist to Mormon to Scientologist are employing the site to publicize events and recruit volunteers,” writes Mark Bergin for World, a Christian magazine. “In many ways, such online organizing and activity is a picture of compassionate conservatism: privately initiated and funded opportunities to render social services.”
As it turns out, usaservice.org is being used as a platform for activity that is anything but the picture of compassionate conservatism. In the Health & Public Safety section of the website, there is a post for a gun “buy back” event that was presumably held in Chicago on Sunday, February 15. Bryan Garcia, host of the event, offered to pay $1,500 per gun and $6,000 for four guns. “We will prevent hundreds of people being shot from gang violence and other forms of gun violence,” writes Garcia. “The money given these anonymous gun donors has to be high, high enough to outweigh the need for gun owners.”
Illinois has some of the most restrictive firearm laws in the country. In order to possess or purchase firearms or ammunition, Illinois residents must have a Firearm Owner’s Identification card, which is issued by the state police. In Chicago, it is required that all firearms be registered with the local police department. Handguns are strictly outlawed and in Cook County so-called “assault weapons” and magazines that can hold more than ten rounds of ammunition are banned.
Earlier gun “buy back” programs in Chicago resulted in a record number of residents turning in guns for far less money. Reportedly 6,705 weapons were turned in for a “no questions asked” program in 2007. In 2008, Mayor Daley told Chicagoans that having a gun in their homes is “like having gasoline sitting in your home, sitting there, and you’re lighting a wick every night and you’re wondering whether or not it’s going to go off, and it goes off like that in your hand.” Daley’s irrational propaganda campaign resulted in the collection of 6,000 guns.
It is safe to say the gun buy back event posted on Obama’s USA Service was vetted by the moderators of the site. It is no secret that Obama and his supporters are militantly opposed to gun ownership and the Second Amendment.
“As a general principle, I believe that the Constitution confers an individual right to bear arms,” Obama said during the election campaign. “But just because you have an individual right does not mean that the state or local government can’t constrain the exercise of that right,” an obvious reference to Chicago’s anti-gun legislation. In 1996, when Obama was running for the Illinois state Senate, he supported a ban on the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns, a ban on “assault weapons” (that is to say all semi-automatic weapons), and mandatory waiting periods and background checks.
Earlier this week, Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, said “there are just a few gun-related changes” the Obama administration wants to make, including a reinstitution of a ban on the sale of assault weapons. Holder insisted restricting the Second Amendment would “have a positive impact in Mexico,” where drug cartel violence has taken a high toll. In 1994, president Clinton signed a law outlawing so-called assault weapons with a clause requiring congressional reauthorization after ten years. Congress allowed the legislation to expire in 2004.
During his confirmation hearings, Holder said he favors outlawing certain kinds of firearms and ammunition.
“Last week, over 50 Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to President Obama urging him to enforce a ban on importing assault weapons, citing rising gun violence in Mexico,” CBS News reports. “The Sinaloa Cartel, which Holder was discussing at yesterday’s press conference, is involved in drug and weapons trafficking in the U.S. and Mexico.”
Obama has pledged to make the assault weapons ban permanent and promised to push for childproofing guns. He said he wanted to close the gun show loophole, which permits sales of firearms at gun shows without requiring a background check.
Many Americans know the election of Obama and Democrat domination of Congress will translate into more restrictive gun laws. After the election, firearm dealers reported sharply higher sales. According to FBI figures for the week of November 3 to 9, the bureau received more than 374,000 requests for background checks on gun purchasers, a nearly 49 percent increase over the same period in 2007, CNN reported. Many stores ran out of models deemed to be “assault weapons,” including the AR-15 rifle.
USA Service’s posting of a gun “buy back” event is yet another indication that Obama and his supporters will continue their assault against the idea of gun ownership and the Second Amendment. If Obama, AG Holder, and the Democrat dominated Congress have their way, the entire country will resemble Chicago, where handguns are illegal and other firearms are strictly regulated.
In the book “Lethal Laws,” published by Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership, we learn that authoritarian governments invariably disarmed their citizens. “The recipe for accomplishing this goal went as follows: demonizing of guns, registration, then banning and confiscation, and finally total civilian disarmament. Enslavement of the people then followed with limited resistance, as was the case in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Red China, Cuba and other totalitarian regimes of the 20th century,” writes Miguel A. Faria Jr.
The demonizing phase of this process is already in effect, as demonstrated by Bryan Garcia’s post on the usaservice.org website. Garcia assumes that the mere possession of firearms will result in murder and mayhem. Obama, Holder, and the Democrats are now pushing for the registration and banning of firearms. Confiscation and total disarmament will soon follow.
Allegheny County District Attorney Refuses to Act to END ‘Illegal’ Pittsburgh Gun Ordinances
In a letter to the Allegheny County District Attorney dated January 12, 2009, the Allegheny County Sportsmen’s League respectfully requested the intervention of this office against the individuals responsible in the city of Pittsburgh Council for the enactment of the “lost or stolen” gun control ordinance.
Previously D/A Zappala had stated publicly in local newspapers that the actions of the city of Pittsburgh city council to enact this ordinance was clearly not legal. Yet when challenged by the ACSL to act and enforce Pennsylvania criminal law he refused saying that this area of law continues to be unsettled. This is in direct defiance of the Ortiz decision from 1996, the Home Rule Charter and a court order signed by the city of Pittsburgh specifically agreeing to abide by Pennsylvania law. The District Attorney responded on January 20 with the above conclusions.
It is the height of arrogance and hypocrisy for a sitting District Attorney to clearly and flagrantly ignores statutory law and adopts a double standard for the enforcement of it. Especially when it involves Pennsylvania firearms law and the message it sends to all citizens that there is a double standard for those in a position of authority.
We will continue to press this case and try to arrive at some semblance of sanity in the way these issues are addressed. If it cannot come through solicitation by citizens for the enforcement of law to those charged with this authority than it will have to come in the form of redirection by the legislature to these individuals who are turning a blind eye to blatant criminal acts.
Lawmakers in 20 states move to reclaim sovereignty
Obama's $1 trillion deficit-spending 'stimulus plan' seen as last straw
Posted: February 06, 2009-By Jerome R. Corsi
NEW YORK – As the Obama administration attempts to push through Congress a nearly $1 trillion deficit spending plan that is weighted heavily toward advancing typically Democratic-supported social welfare programs, a rebellion against the growing dominance of federal control is beginning to spread at the state level.
So far, eight states have introduced resolutions declaring state sovereignty under the Ninth and Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, including Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Washington.
Analysts expect that in addition, another 20 states may see similar measures introduced this year, including Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nevada, Maine and Pennsylvania.
"What we are trying to do is to get the U.S. Congress out of the state's business," Oklahoma Republican state Sen. Randy Brogdon told WND.
"Congress is completely out of line spending trillions of dollars over the last 10 years putting the nation into a debt crisis like we've never seen before," Brogdon said, arguing that the Obama stimulus plan is the last straw taxing state patience in the brewing sovereignty dispute.
"This particular 111th Congress is the biggest bunch of over-reachers and underachievers we've ever had in Congress," he said.
"A sixth-grader should realize you can't borrow money to pay off your debt, and that is the Obama administration's answer for a stimulus package," he added.
The Ninth Amendment reads, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
The Tenth Amendment specifically provides, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
Brogdon, the lead sponsor of the Oklahoma state senate version of the sovereignty bill, has been a strong opponent of extending the plan to build a four-football-fields-wide Trans-Texas Corridor parallel to Interstate-35 to Oklahoma, as WND reported.
Rollback federal authority
The various sovereignty measures moving through state legislatures are designed to reassert state authority through a rollback of federal authority under the powers enumerated in the Constitution, with the states assuming the governance of the non-enumerated powers, as required by the Tenth Amendment.
The state sovereignty measures, aimed largely at the perceived fiscal irresponsibility of Congress in the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, have gained momentum with the $1 trillion deficit-spending economic stimulus package the Obama administration is currently pushing through Congress.
Particularly disturbing to many state legislators are the increasing number of "unfunded mandates" that have proliferated in social welfare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, in which bills passed by Congress dictate policy to the states without providing funding.
In addition, the various state resolutions include discussion of a wide range of policy areas, including the regulation of firearms sales (Montana) and the demand to issue drivers licenses with technology to embed personal information under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and the Real ID Act (Michigan).
Hawaii's measure calls for a new state constitutional convention to return self-governance, a complaint that traces back to the days it was a U.S. territory, prior to achieving statehood in 1959.
"We are trying to send a message to the federal government that the states are trying to reclaim their sovereignty," Republican Rep. Matt Shea, the lead sponsor of Washington's sovereignty resolution told WND.
"State sovereignty has been eroded in so many areas, it's hard to know where to start," he said. "There are a ton of federal mandates imposed on states, for instance, on education spending and welfare spending."
Shea said the Obama administration's economic stimulus package moving through Congress is a "perfect example."
"In the state of Washington, we have increased state spending 33 percent in the last three years and hired 6,000 new state employees, often using federal mandates as an excuse to grow state government," he said. "We need to return government back down to the people, to keep government as close to the local people as possible."
Shea is a private attorney who serves with the Alliance Defense Fund, a nationwide network of about 1,000 attorneys who work pro-bono. As a counter to the ACLU, the alliance seeks to protect and defend religious liberty, the sanctity of life and traditional family values.
Republican state Rep. Judy Burges, the primary sponsor of the sovereignty resolution in the Arizona House, told WND the federal government "has been trouncing on our constitutional rights."
"The real turning point for me was the Real ID act, which involved both a violation of the Fourth Amendments rights against the illegal searches and seizures and the Tenth Amendment," she said.
Burges told WND she is concerned that the overreaching of federal powers could lead to new legislation aimed at confiscating weapons from citizens or encoding ammunition.
"The Real ID Act was so broadly written that we are afraid that it involves the potential for "mission-creep," that could easily involve confiscation of firearms and violations of the Second Amendment," she said.
Burges said she has been surprised at the number of e-mails she has received in support of the sovereignty measure.
"We are a sovereign state in Arizona, not a branch of the federal government, and we need to be treated as such, she insisted.
DCNR Warns Of Spring Wildfire Danger
As Conditions Worsen, Forest Visitation Climbs
The abundant sunshine and warm temperatures that are forecast this weekend are luring many into the state's forests, prompting the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to warn citizens of the heightened risk of wildfires.
"With the weekend wildfire danger expected to spike as the weather turns warm and dry, our Bureau of Forestry is bracing for what could be another very busy weekend," said Acting DCNR Secretary John H. Quigley. "We are asking people to be especially cautious as they hunt, fish, hike and enjoy the outdoors."
Campers and other state forest visitors are reminded open fires are forbidden in state forestlands March 1 through May 25, and when the fire danger is listed as high, very high, or extreme.
Acting Secretary Quigley noted woodlands quickly could become tinder dry at a time when anglers and hunters are out fishing for trout or hunting for spring gobblers. Also, warm weather brings out gardeners and other landowners who often burn to clear their land of garden waste, leaves and storm debris.
"Although we have had rain in recent days, it's very important to remember a little rain does not completely eliminate the threat of wildfires at this time of the year," said Acting Secretary Quigley.
Bureau of Forestry records show that more than 370 wildfires have already been reported across the state this spring, burning more than 1,500 acres. The most severe included an April 18 fire that burned 300 acres in Blair County, and another blaze the same day that destroyed two cabins in Centre County.
"We know people are responsible for causing 98 percent of Pennsylvania's wildfires and a mere spark can start a devastating and, possibly, deadly forest blaze," Acting Secretary Quigley said. "Forests are a renewable resource, but they quickly can be endangered by acts of carelessness."
Lack of green foliage in the early spring, combined with scant rainfall and sunny, windy days rapidly increases chances of forest and brush fires, Acting Secretary Quigley said.
Nearly 10,000 acres of forestland in the state are burned by wildfires each year and nearly 85 percent of all fires in Pennsylvania woodlands occur during the months of March, April and May.
Wildfires are so named for their rapid spread through bare vegetation when dry, windy conditions prevail. They are especially troublesome in the spring when wind, dry weather, direct sunlight through bare trees, and abundant dead undergrowth all can lead to rapid fire spread.
State forestry officials urge landowners to recycle, if possible, and if they must burn, to use extreme caution with trash and debris fires—one of the most common causes of wildfires—and obey local open-burning bans.
Residents are advised to create "safe zones" around homes and cabins by removing leaves and other debris from the ground and rain gutters; stacking firewood away from structures; and trimming overhanging branches.
DCNR's Bureau of Forestry is responsible for the prevention and suppression of wildfires on Pennsylvania's17 million acres of private and state woodlands. The bureau maintains a fire-detection system, and works with fire wardens and volunteer fire departments to ensure they are trained in the latest advances in fire prevention and suppression.
For more information, call the Bureau of Forestry at 717-787-2925 or visit the DCNR Forest Fire Protection webpage.
Source: PA Environment Digest
Fish for Free Days Set for May 23 & June 7
Have a little free time on your hands? Grab a friend or family member and try some free fishing. Thanks to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), the only thing you’ll have to spend is some quality time together.
The PFBC has designated Saturday, May 23, and Sunday, June 7, as Fish For Free Days in the Commonwealth. Fish For Free Days allow anyone – not just license holders or youth under the age of 16 – to legally fish in Pennsylvania. From 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on both days, no fishing license is needed to fish in Pennsylvania's waterways.
“Fish For Free Days provide an opportunity for active anglers to introduce a friend or relative to the lifelong sport of fishing,” said PFBC Executive Director Douglas Austen. “It's also a great way for families to have fun, create new memories and spend quality time together.”
The May 23 Fish For Free Day was specifically designated to coincide with the Memorial Day weekend, a traditional time for families to gather, and the unofficial start of many outdoor recreational activities in the state. The June 7 date is part of the observation of National Fishing and Boating Week, June 6-14.
To make it even easier to get started – or restarted – in fishing, visit the PFBC’s web site at www.fishandboat.com and select “Fish” from the left-hand navigation bar. From the drop-down menu, select Fishing Fundamentals.
For more information, visit the PFBC’s web site at www.fishandboat.com. The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities.
Source: Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
Constitutional conventions being planned across America
Certain powerbrokers and entities within the United States government as well as in state governments throughout the nation are attempting to renew calls for federal and/or state constitutional conventions.
The push for these comes in a troubling time for our nation as the mechanisms contained within the varied constitutions empower delegates to these conventions to make sweeping changes in the form and structure of government. While the founding fathers did provide this mechanism it, like the use of a firearm in a deadly force situation, is only meant to be used in the gravest of circumstances when no other options exist. That, sadly, is not the case and we do not question the powers enumerated in the Constitution but we do question the intent of those making these calls and the basis of which they are being made.
On the federal level there are arguably 32 states that have a standing call for a constitutional convention. The threshold for holding one under this section, article V, of the United States Constitution is 34 states.
Here in Pennsylvania the past legislative session had a Bill debated, Senate Bill 1290, which would have provided for the creation of a constitutional convention here at the state level. This legislation has been shown to be extremely flawed and would have presented more problems than the drafters apparently considered. We can be sure that we will see something along these lines reintroduced in the upcoming legislative session.
While no one can say that change is not needed it is apparent that politicians who favor this approach have a different agenda because they already retain the power necessary to make the changes that they publicly have decried as their reasoning for holding a constitutional convention. So why are they doing this? No one really knows all the reasons but we will track it nonetheless.
New Electronic Gadgets Galore!
But What should you do with the Old Stuff?
Contact Information: Donna Heron, 215-814-5113 or email@example.com
The holidays are behind us and gifts of new electronic devices ranging from cell phones to televisions are making us smile. This year as broadcast television switches to an all digital broadcast format, TVs were at the top of many gift lists. Now what do you do with those old electronics?
Don’t put your old electronics out with the trash! Think Green and recycle ‘em! Rather than making products from scratch, recycling electronics -- also known as e-cycling -- keeps harmful toxins out of the waste stream, recovers valuable materials that can be reused, conserves virgin resources, and results in lower emissions (including greenhouse gases).
Many people want to know how their families can help protect the environment. Recycling electronics makes a significant contribution -- recycling just one computer CPU and one monitor is equivalent to preventing 1.35 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from being released. Recycling one television prevents four to eight pounds of lead from the CRT glass from being added to the waste stream.
By banding together, we can accomplish truly impressive results:
* Recycling one million desktop computers prevents the release of greenhouse gases equivalent to the annual emissions of more than 17,000 passenger cars.
* Recycling one million cell phones saves enough energy to power more than 19,000 U.S. households with electricity for an entire year.
Here’s how you can become an e-cycler:
* Visit your new product manufacturer’s website to see if they have a recycling program. Some will recycle your old electronic equipment for free or a small fee.
* Contact your local city, municipality, or solid waste district to see when they will be sponsoring collection events for electronics. For contacts in the mid-Atlantic region, go to: www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/eCycling/index.htm
* Find recyclers and collection sites near you by checking websites like:
http://www.earth911.org/, or by calling 1-800-CLEANUP, to find collection sites and events in your ZIP code.
http://www.eiae.org/– The Electronic Industries Alliance - To locate e-cyclers in your state.
http://www.techsoup.org/– TechSoup for information on computer reuse.
http://www.rbrc.org/- To locate cell phone and rechargeable battery collection sites at a retailer near you.
For more information on E-Cycling go to: http://www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/eCycling/index.htm
Source: U.S. EPA
Interior okays CCW in national parks
by Dave Workman, Senior Editor
Barring a court challenge to block its taking effect, a new rule by the Department of Interior that allows the carrying of concealed handguns by licensees inside national parks will take effect in about two weeks.
Anti-gunners are furious and had threatened legal action prior to the holidays.
Bill Wade, president of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, was quoted by The Salt Lake Tribune stating, "This regulation will put visitors, employees and precious resources of the National Park System at risk. We will do everything possible to overturn it and return to a common-sense approach to guns in national parks that has been working for decades." -
Under the rule change, announced by Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Lyle Laverty, citizens who possess valid concealed carry licenses or permits that are recognized by the state in which the park is located are essentially "good to go."
For example, if a national park is located in Washington State, residents of states whose licenses are honored by Washington statute should be able to carry while visiting Mount Rainier or Olympic National Park.
And, according to Interior Department spokesman Chris Paolino, if a state has a regulation such as Washington's, which allows unlicensed concealed carry for persons engaged in legitimate outdoor activities including hiking, camping, fishing or horseback riding, it should apply within the national parks there.
What this regulation will not allow is hunting, target shooting or casual plinking on national park lands. Open carry will not be allowed, nor may armed citizens enter park buildings with their concealed handguns. That applies to visitor centers, ranger stations and even restrooms.
The same rule will apply to national wildlife refuges, with the exception that hunting is already legal on refuges, and that will not change. Opponents of the rule change had campaigned against it by asserting that parks would become venues for careless shooting activities.
Opponents of the original proposal were quick to react. Scot McElveen, president of the Association of National Park Rangers, was quoted by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution suggesting that this change will be bad for wildlife in the parks.
The rule was also opposed by the National Parks Conservation Association and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, After the rule change was announced, Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke went on the attack, calling the change a "parting gift for the gun lobby" from the Bush Administration.
"We urge the proper authorities to use common sense," Helmke said in a press release, "and stop this senseless rule."
However, gun rights organizations- were supportive of the rule change.
"No longer will American citizens be required to leave their right of self-defense at the gates of a national park," said Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. "This common-sense change in regulations reflects not only changes in the laws of 48 states, but more importantly the Supreme Court's ruling in June that upheld the individual right to keep and bear arms that is protected by the Second Amendment."
Chris Cox, head of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, issued a statement noting, "We are pleased that the. Interior Department recognizes the right of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their families while enjoying America's national parks and wildlife refuges."
Philip Van Cleave with the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a grassroots group that had also been actively pushing for the change, called the decision "a big win for gunowners."
"This victory has been years in the making," Van Cleave told Gun Week, "and VCDL is proud to have played an important role in expanding our freedoms."
An assistant US attorney in Seattle, WA, told Gun Week that in the event of a self-defense shooting in a national park, the FBI would investigate. Self-defense guidelines are essentially the same on federal land as they are on state land. That is, the validity of a self-defense claim is determined under what is generically called the "reasonable man doctrine." That is, what would any reasonable person do under the same circumstances, knowing what the shooter knew at the time?
As part of the instructions to a jury under a model from the 9th US Court of Appeals, when determining whether someone acted in self-defense, a jury would be told the following: "Use of force is justified when a person reasonably believes that it is necessary for the defense of oneself or another against the immediate use of unlawful force. How- ever, a person must use no more force than appears reasonably necessary under the circumstances.
"Force likely to cause death or great bodily harm is justified in self-defense only if a person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm.
"The government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in reasonable self-defense." The New GUN WEEK, January 1, 2009
Creating a Better Environment Inside your Home
You and your family probably spend most of your time indoors and the air you breathe may put you at risk for health problems. EPA studies show that air pollution inside homes is often two to five times higher than outdoor levels.
Your home, however, does not have to be an unhealthy home. Indoor air PLUS qualified homes are designed for improved indoor air quality, compared to typical new homes, by helping to protect you against indoor air pollutants such as gases, chemicals, pests, carbon monoxide, radon and mold.
Indoor airPLUS qualified homes can help in protecting your family from health problems caused by indoor air pollutants, and they can be more comfortable and energy-efficient living spaces.
Source: US EPA
PA State Police (aka Rendell) AR-15 Rifle Registration
The current situation with AR-15 rifles is as follows: Rep. Martin Causer responded to the state police letter justifying their position on AR 15 rifles and has been joined by 28 other members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in direct opposition to the state police interpretation of Pennsylvania and federal law. The letter demands that the Pennsylvania State police clarify exactly where in the law they receive the authority to make this determination. In fact one paragraph, reproduced below, demonstrates the level of frustration in the legislature with the rogue actions of the Pennsylvania State police hierarchy:
I suppose that the legislature could amend the UFA to reverse this ill-conceived policy. But, I wonder whether the legislature should be put in the position of having to amend clear and unambiguous statutory language. In your opinion, would adding the phrase "and this time we really mean it," to the end of the definition of the term "firearm" in §6102 be sufficient to clarify the intent of the law for you?
As you can see from the above representatives believe the meaning and language of Pennsylvania law is clear and unambiguous.
Subsequent to this letter being sent on July 17 to the Pennsylvania State police Commissioner of firearms unit of the PSP has sent a dealer newsletter out with the following statement as to how to handle receivers for AR 15’s:
SALE OF A FRAME OR RECEIVER = ROS FORM
Please be advised that an Application/Record of Sale form must be completed for the sale or transfer of all frames and receivers. Section F. Firearm Information, shall be completed as follows:
Dealers should write Other" in block 50.
The make, model and serial number shall be included (blocks 51. 52. 55).
Block 54 shall be completed with the term "frame" or receiver as applicable.
Please ensure your employees who transact in firearms are aware of this information. You may also refer to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms'
Open Letter to All Federal Firearms Licensees, dated July 7, 2009 for information on this subject.
Just to restate the essence of this argument is that Pennsylvania law does not allow them (meaning to do it is ‘against’ the law) to demand this information and specifically excludes long gun, rifle and shotgun, from the requirement to complete the record of sale form for these purchases. Pennsylvania Law (Title 18) States in pertinent part (see below):
§6111. Sale or transfer of firearms.
(1.4) Following implementation of the instantaneous records check by the Pennsylvania State Police on or before December 1, 1998, no application/record of sale shall be completed for the purchase or transfer of a firearm which exceeds the barrel lengths set forth in section 6102.
"Firearm." . . . .any shotgun with a barrel length less than 18 inches or any rifle with a barrel length less than 16 inches, or any pistol, revolver, rifle or shotgun with an overall length of less than 26 inches.
There is another dimension to this entire issue and that once a record of sale form is completed the assumption is that it fits the definition under Title 18 §6102 meaning that it is either a handgun or a short barreled rifle or shotgun (a short barreled rifle or shotgun is a NFA weapon). With this being said there is a potential conflict here in that the federal government holds that once a firearm is constructed as either a handgun or a rifle they can not be modified or changed into the other category. For it will be illegal to change a rifle into a handgun by replacing the barrel or vice versa. Our question is does this policy of registering (isn't this already illegal?) a frame or receiver as a handgun plays the owner in jeopardy of violating federal law should they want to use that receiver or frame to create a rifle?
Please stay tuned as there is much more coming in these areas and our freedoms have turned Pennsylvania into a battleground state.
House Bill 97 Moved Back to Committee
In the continuing effort to put a stranglehold on the poaching of Pennsylvania game animals House Bill 97 was hurriedly voted out of committee and rushed to the floor of the House of Representatives two weeks ago.
While no Sportsman or Sportswoman supports poaching in any way shape or form, this legislation contained language that could have been ‘easily’ misinterpreted in the field. These misinterpretations would have carried significant penalties for the unintentional violator.
We have been working with this legislation, and the sponsor, throughout several sessions in an attempt to refine this language so it is more clearly directed at the perpetrators. While the concept of "civil asset forfeiture" has been removed from this version and the fines and punishments have been more refined there still exists a wide chasm of concern.
As this legislation was debated last week the Allegheny County sportsmen's league the National Rifle Association and the Pennsylvania sportsmen's Association and the Pennsylvania Federation of sportsmen's clubs came together to express our concerns to members of the House of Representatives.
The result of this was that by a vote of 194-1 this Bill was sent back to the house game and Fish committee. There a package of 21 amendments awaits it, along with other needed revisions to current game code.
It is important to point out that during the past week when this Bill was brought to the floor even the animal rights groups like Humane Society of the United States and the notorious Peta were campaigning for this legislation's enactment. The fact that animal rights groups see the potential problems this legislation could raise for sportsmen should make all outdoors enthusiasts concerned.
We are hoping that the Pennsylvania game commission leadership will decide the bargain in good faith this time so that we can narrow the focus of this legislation away from the possibility of terrible consequences for the unintentional violator. Time will tell if we can be successful with this effort and it will be up to sportsmen to open their eyes and ears up and pay attention to this debate and this issue for otherwise the consequences could be devastating to each of us.
GIANT HOGWEED CONFIRMED IN BUTLER COUNTY
Noxious Weed Found in Forward Township, Evans City
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is warning residents of Forward Township in Evans City, Butler County, that Giant Hogweed, a noxious and invasive weed that can cause blistering and scarring on the skin of susceptible people, has been confirmed in their area.
Located along the Pittsburgh/Buffalo railroad tracks at the intersection of Spithaler School and Ash Stop roads, and at the intersection of the tracks and Ash Stop Road, the area with Giant Hogweed has been identified and marked with Department of Agriculture signage.
Citizens with suspected sightings of the plant are asked to call the Giant Hogweed Hotline at 1-877-464-9333. Brochures to aide in identification are available at the Forward Township Municipality Building or online at www.agriculture.state.pa.us under “Plant and Animal Health.”
“Thanks to a tip on the Giant Hogweed Hotline, the department was able to quickly and accurately identify the infestation,” said Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff. “We encourage local residents to stay away from the infested area as treatment continues, and to report any new sightings so we can act swiftly to stop the spread of the weed.”
Department of Agriculture field staff developed a control program for these areas and treated the plants with an herbicide. Staff will be available to visit with property owners to identify suspected plants present on their land.
Giant Hogweed is spread naturally by seeds, which can be windblown and scattered or carried by water. Because of the close proximity to the railroad tracks, agriculture staff believes the seed heads were carried and dispersed by passing trains, and possibly through a nearby landscape plant dumping site.
In 1999, Giant Hogweed was discovered about 14 miles west of Evans City in Fombell, Beaver County. Property owners with land adjacent to the railroad tracks between Fombell and Forward Township’s Reibold Road, including along the northern and southern track spurs that connect to the main railroad track in Forward Township, are encouraged to learn how to identify the poisonous plant.
This invasive weed spreads rapidly once established in the area between land and a stream, making prevention of seed production critical to limiting the spread into Forward Township’s nearby Connoquenessing stream.
Agriculture department staff will continue to monitor the sites in Beaver and Butler counties during the next several weeks and continue to treat any new plants that may have emerged.
Since 1985, 477 Giant Hogweed sites have been confirmed in Pennsylvania. Since then 203 sites have been eradicated.
As the regulatory agency for the treatment of Giant Hogweed, the Department of Agriculture has been supported by the Governor’s Invasive Species Council of Pennsylvania, an inter-agency council created by Governor Edward G. Rendell in 2004 to help develop and implement invasive species management plans for the commonwealth.
For more information on Giant Hogweed and other noxious weeds in Pennsylvania, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and click on “Animal and Plant Health,” or call 717-787-7204.
Source: Pa Dept. of Agriculture
CAMPING GOES ‘GREEN’ AT STATE PARKS
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has developed guidelines and a demonstration campsite that can help campers reduce their impact on the environment, Bureau of State Parks Director John Norbeck said.
“Normally we think of tent camping as a fairly natural activity, but there are things that campers can do differently to limit the impact they have on their outdoor surroundings,” Norbeck said. “Using a ‘green’ approach to camping it is not only good for the environment; it also can reduce your costs and make camping more enjoyable.”
The demonstration “green” campsite is being set up at state parks across the state this summer as a weekend program for visitors. It features a tent and sleeping bag made from recycled materials; fuel efficient cooking stove; an LED flashlight; solar charger and reusable batteries; re-usable cook set; solar camp shower; non-toxic bug repellant; bear-proof food container; a clothes line; and reusable marshmallow sticks.
Park staff will also provide outdoor recreational, amphitheater, and family and children’s programs that tie in with the “green” theme.
“We hope that after seeing the demonstration, visitors to our campgrounds will practice at least one of the techniques during their stay and share their experience with others,” Norbeck said.
Some tips for green camping include:
Look for a campsite that is already established, more than 200 feet from a water source, and stay off plants as much as possible.
Use re-usable plates instead of paper. Store them with your camp gear so you always remember them.
Take along re-usable water bottles. If you use commercial bottled water, make sure to recycle the bottles.
Use biodegradable camp suds for dishes and your body.
Avoid dumping soapy water on plants because the soap could kill them.
Recycle aluminum cans because burning them in a campfire will release chemicals that pollute the air.
Leave in place any plants, fossils, flowers or other things that you find.
Keep campfires in rings or use a cook stove instead.
Use local firewood instead of carrying it with you as some unwanted invasive pests might hitch a ride.
Tie a clothes line from tree to tree; bring along hot dog sticks instead of breaking off tree branches; set your lantern on the table instead of putting a nail in a tree to hang it.
Do not feed wildlife.
Dispose of trash properly or take it with you when you leave and recycle it when you get home.
Be considerate of other campers with music, cell phones and other noise.
The demonstration locations for the rest of the summer are:
Aug. 14- 17: Worlds End State Park, Sullivan County
Aug. 21-24: Hickory Run State Park, Carbon County
For more information about Pennsylvania’s 117 state parks, visit the DCNR Web site at www.dcnr.state.pa.us.
Local Governments Continue Vigilante Acts in Defying State Law
Pennsylvania continues to be a major focal point of the national gun control debate and as an example the issue of local municipalities defying Pennsylvania law in the enactment of "lost or stolen" gun legislation. Behind the scenes the manipulation of these issues is the group called cease-fire PA and Mayor Bloomberg's anti-gun mayors against guns coalition.
Joining the ranks of previously lawless acts against Pennsylvania law and the home rule charter is Harrisburg and Lancaster which both recently enacted lost or stolen legislation. Despite the fact that the Pennsylvania House of Representatives debated this issue and found it to be lacking in its value to societal safety the same rhetoric is being used as an excuse to justify the worth of having this as a tool and yet when you examine this rhetoric you can see what the true purposes. The quote below is from a recent article about the enactment of this legislation in Lancaster:
ཉ After the unanimous vote, Brown said, "Handguns and the illegal use of guns has been responsible for an exorbitant amount of crime . . .
ཉ So we thought that, since our city was considering passing this legislation to make gun owners more accountable, it was important for our young people to speak."
ཉ Joe Grace, executive director of the Philadelphia-based CeaseFirePa, commended Council for its action, calling it "another step forward for sanity in terms of a simple handgun safety reform."
ཉ "This is not about the lawful possession of a gun," Grace said. "This is about reporting a stolen gun to the police. It's a simple question of responsibility."
Grace said 13 police officers have been shot and killed in Pennsylvania in the last four years by criminals using illegal guns, with the most recent being state Trooper Joshua Miller, who died in a gun fight near Easton on Sunday.
As you can see from the above they are using the emotional heartstrings approach to try and obfuscate the real issues and are ignorant of the ramifications to the average gun owner. The conflicting points about "making gun owners more accountable" and then saying that this measure is not about the lawful possession of a firearm undermines the entire approach as well as justifying the fact that the state has withheld any authority in this area from local municipalities who are easily manipulated.
The facts are that enacting this legislation is a crime and the old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions is truly applicable however it is time to recognize these acts for what they are and hold those accountable who have sworn oaths to abide by the very laws they're breaking.
Mine Subsidence Insurance to Become More Affordable for
Homeowners, Businesses on Jan. 1
Beginning Jan. 1, homeowners and commercial building owners can take advantage of substantially lower rates for mine subsidence insurance, making it more affordable to protect against catastrophic damage should an abandoned mine beneath their property collapse without warning.
Effective the first of the year, annual premiums for residential mine subsidence insurance will decrease by 25 percent. Insurance rates for commercial structures will drop by 60 percent.
Acting Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said this affordable coverage can protect an investment and provide peace of mind to a home or business owner in Pennsylvania’s anthracite and bituminous coal regions.
Most homeowner policies do not cover damage caused by mine subsidence,” said Hanger. “More than 1 million Pennsylvania homes sit on top of abandoned mines, yet most homeowners in mining regions do not have this most basic coverage. The department has taken several measures to make Mine Subsidence Insurance even more affordable and easier to purchase, and it has expanded available coverage to include sidewalks, driveways, retaining walls, in-ground pools and other types of property.
“Starting in January, the average premium for mine subsidence insurance for residential property owners will be less than 70 cents for $1,000 of coverage,” said Hanger. “Homeowners can purchase up to $250,000 of coverage for only $157 per year, or slightly more than $13 per month, and business owners can get the same coverage for $314 per year. For that relatively small investment, they’ll get peace of mind knowing that their homes and businesses are covered in the event of mine subsidence on their property.”
Pennsylvania’s Mine Subsidence Insurance program is a non-profit fund administered by the Department of Environmental Protection that provides coverage of up to $250,000 for homes, businesses and attached structures in the event of subsidence from abandoned coal and clay mines.
The average residential policy is valued at $130,000 at an annual cost of $85, or just more than $7 per month. A 10 percent discount is also offered to persons 65 years of age and older for residential policies.
“Property owners can now purchase mine subsidence insurance by phone, through their local insurance agent or online with a credit card,” said Hanger. “There’s really no excuse for not purchasing this vital coverage to protect your home and property.”
Property owners can apply for mine subsidence insurance directly from DEP by phone at 800-922-1678 or online at www.pamsi.org. The Web site contains a wealth of information on subsidence issues and program coverage, and features an interactive map program that lets property owners see if their home or business sits atop an abandoned mine.
“This rate reduction is the first offered by the program in 45 years and is a result of sound long-term administration and claims management practices,” Hanger said.
The Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund paid out more than $1.3 million for 29 claims during the past fiscal year and has settled more than $23 million in claims since the fund was created in 1961.
Source: PA DEP
Was Senate reciprocity vote political 'cover?'
by Dave Workman, Senior Editor
With the failure by two votes—both marginal liberal Republicans—of the Thune Amendment that would have provided almost nationwide concealed carry reciprocity, conjecture has been rampant that the requirement for 60-vote approval gave several Democrats an opportunity to support an amendment they knew would fail for "political cover."
Even The Washington Post's Dana Milbank suggested that the whole thing had apparently been carefully choreographed to allow some senators to vote for the amendment, thus giving them a chance to get a better grade from the National Rifle Association (NRA) on this issue.
Voting against gun rights and their own caucus, Republican Sens. Richard Lugar of Indiana and George Voinovich of Ohio held the final tally two votes short of the required 60 to pass legislation sponsored by Sen. John Thune of South Dakota. His amendment to the defense bill would have required full recognition of concealed carry permits between the states, a proposition that brought every anti-gun organization, including the Mayors Against Illegal Guns and International Association of Chiefs of Police, out of the political woodwork.
What the amendment would not have done, contrary to assertions by opponents, is force any state to change its existing concealed carry statutes.
Thune hinted to The Washington Post'that the measure might be introduced.again later this year. Various newspaper reports, and the Associated Press, characterized the issue as having a strong majority of support, but not enough to meet the 60-vote requirement.
Emotional testimony from anti-gun Sens. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Dianne`Feinstein and Barbara Boxer of California, and Charles Schumer of New York asserted that passage of the measure would have allowed "gun traffickers" to bring "concealed assault weapons" into states that have banned such firearms. Proponents of the measure, including Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, called such assertions nonsense.
"The reality of that particular situation is the gang members already have their guns," Webb observed at one point. "The people who need this bill are the ones that the gang members might be threatening."
With the exception of Lugar and Voinovich, every other "nay" vote came from a Democrat, or in the case of Senators Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernard Sanders of Vermont, both Independents. Thirty-eight Republicans were joined by 20 Democrats, while West Virginia Democrat Robert Byrd, the ailing Massachusetts Democrat Edward M. Kennedy and Maryland Democrat Barbara Mikulski did not vote.
Joe Waldron, legislative director for the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, suggested in an e-mail exchange with Gun Week that "this was purely cover for rural state Democrats."
"Most of those 'Ds' are not our friends," he observed.
Leading the opposition, Feinstein, Schumer and Lautenberg not only argued that the legislation would have allowed gun traffickers to bring concealed semi-auto rifles into states with bans, they also professed outrage that this bill violate states rights.
In the aftermath, gun rights activists quickly pointed to various national laws that the anti-gunners had supported, including the Clinton-era ban on so-called "assault weapons," Lautenberg's ban on gun ownership by anyone ever convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, the Brady Law and National Instant Check.
Following the narrow defeat, newspapers ridiculed Thune's proposal, and even criticized the South Dakota senator for suggesting during debate that New York's Central Park might be safer if armed visitors from his state were able to walk through the huge park while visiting the Big Apple. The New GUN WEEK, August 15, 2009
Gun Law Update: Obama Gun Treaty Skirts Congress
Gun Law Update
by Alan Korwin, Author
Gun Laws of America
April 24, 2009
--Trouble reading this? See it on line:
1. CIFTA Gun Treaty Removes Congressional Oversight
2. Amend Constitution by Statute, Using EPA Laws
3. National Ammo Shortage Is Suspicious
Permission to circulate this report granted.
1. CIFTA Gun Treaty Removes Congressional Oversight
(Note: How this treaty can overrule U.S. law or the Constitution itself is
discussed at the end, after the treaty analysis below.)
I've completed my review of the South America gun-control treaty that Mr.
Obama wants to get ratified.
It is known as CIFTA, the Inter-American Convention Against The Illicit Manufacturing Of And Trafficking In Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, And Other Related Materials. It can be found here verbatim:
-- EVERY aspect of the treaty introduces major required gun controls, most of which will affect average citizens (as well as the targeted criminal syndicates, dictators and other bad actors).
-- The controls go way past anything EVER attempted by gun-control groups in the United States.
-- NONE of the proposed gun controls are likely to pass by themselves through Congress. If the treaty is enacted they don't have to – they become law when the treaty is ratified.
-- Virtually NO PROTECTIONS FOR RKBA are to be found, and the wordings are loose enough to allow all sorts of attacks on gun rights American enjoy today.
-- The U.S. government under this treaty GAINS POWER to manage firearms almost any way it would like to, without checks and balances.
-- Once signed, many of the restrictions and government intrusions become MANDATORY, and the full Congress, already cut out of ratification (only the Senate approves treaties) would be cut out of the implementation process entirely.
-- Top to bottom registration of all firearms, ammunition, ammunition components and other related materials is required if they are "in transit" and records must be kept indefinitely. This vague language, and the requirement to comply are a gun-banner's dream and a rights advocate's nightmare.
-- "Transit licenses or authorizations" for transfers of firearms are required for imported firearms, and loose language could include the same for all domestic firearms.
-- Lengthy recordkeeping is required that directly conflicts with U.S. law, and would be left up to bureaucrats and arbitrary controls and implementation.
-- Home reloading of ammunition would become illegal and subject to severe sanctions, without government licensing that is undefined and could include almost any conditions, taxes and limitations, including scrupulous inventorying, recordkeeping and unscheduled audit searches of people who reload.
-- Similar licensing and controls will be required on anything made "that can be attached to a firearm," known as "other related materials." This includes components, parts, replacement parts and such items as wood or composite stocks, slings, bayonets, bayonet lugs, sights, scopes, rails, lasers, grips, flash hiders, suppressors, muzzle brakes and other
paraphernalia. Attaching any such parts without a government license would be "illicit manufacture," a criminal act with undefined penalties.
-- Record sharing requirements ensure that any gun-owner data that must be destroyed under current U.S. law can be easily stored abroad, and can be retrieved at will as required under various international "cooperation" clauses.
If I were advising Mr. Obama IN FAVOR of using this treaty for gun control -- here is what I would suggest.
This creative vantage point helps me to underscore the serious threat the treaty presents. I DO NOT approve of any of the anti-rights suggestions, easily drawn from the treaty language -- they merely show you what Americans face. Everything I outline below comes directly from the treaty itself. Be sure you're sitting down.
Alan Korwin, Author Gun Laws of America
To: Barack Hussein Obama, President of the United States
From: (As if written by the anti-gun-rights lobby)
Re: CIFTA Treaty
Dear Mr. President,
We commend your common-sense support of the CIFTA Treaty for reducing illicit arms manufacture and gun trafficking. This is a brilliant stratagem in the exhausting effort to rid our country of the scourge of gun violence.
With the treaty in place and ratified by the Senate, you will be obligated to take certain steps with regard to private ownership of firearms that we have never been able to move through the houses of Congress. Further, you will be able to take these actions unilaterally, making swift change possible and, under international obligation to act you are insulated from direct criticism.
Our attorneys assure us the steps we outline here are in full compliance with international law and the terms of the treaty itself. Article VI of the U.S. Constitution unambiguously gives such a treaty a degree of supremacy over the nation, its laws, the states and the public (even though some in the powerful gun lobby deny this or point to questionable court precedents). This is especially useful as we adapt to a global economy, world courts, an empowered U.N. and environmental concerns on a planetary scale.
In addition, we know that if a law can be interpreted to either spread or curtail the proliferation of arms in the hands of average people, the common-sense interpretation must be to curtail arms whenever possible. CIFTA provides the perfect platform for this very reasonable approach.
There will be little disagreement that CIFTA's surface goal of keeping arms out of the hands of dictators, tyrants, terrorists, violent criminal cartels, syndicates and gangs, insurgents, non-state actors, and genocidal regimes is a worthy goal. The value for domestic gun control here and abroad is equally worthy, and lies in virtually every measure required to track and control arms. We are eager to see your signature on this
important step forward for the safety of Americans.
[Language from CIFTA appears in brackets.]
Statement of Purpose
["...the urgent need to prevent, combat, and eradicate the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials, due to the harmful effects of these activities on the security of each state..."]
Note that "trafficking" is not explicitly limited by "illicit" and this is critical. It is perfectly reasonable to bring all firearms trafficking under control to properly manage the portion that is illicit or undesirable. This construction is precise and appears throughout the treaty.
["give priority... because of the links of such activities with drug trafficking, terrorism, transnational organized crime, and mercenary and other criminal activities"]
The unconditional inclusion of "other criminal activities" assures a broad jurisdiction for every facet of existing and not-yet-defined gun crime, even minor and paperwork violations, if so desired.
["international cooperation... appropriate measures at the national, regional and international levels... pertinent resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly on measures to eradicate the illicit transfer of conventional weapons and on the need for all states to guarantee their security... support mechanisms such as the International Weapons and Explosives Tracking System (IWETS) of the International Criminal Police
The emphasis on globalization dovetails smoothly with current plans. Potential exists to wed NICS and IWETS functionality.
["a 'know-your-customer' policy for dealers in, and producers, exporters, and importers of, firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials is crucial for combating this scourge"]
Firearms dealers are specifically included in the web of CITRA.
["to eradicate illicit transnational trafficking in firearms is not intended to discourage or diminish lawful leisure or recreational activities such as travel or tourism for sport shooting, hunting, and other forms of lawful ownership and use recognized by the States Parties]
This is one rare spot where "trafficking" and "illicit" are connected, and then only for transnational acts. We do not expect this to inhibit any reasonable domestic gun-control activity associated with CIFTA. The sapient inclusion here of "acceptable" gun activity is neatly compartmentalized and removed from the ability to apply controls.
["this Convention does not commit States Parties to enact legislation or regulations pertaining to firearms ownership, possession, or trade of a wholly domestic character"]
While the treaty doesn't seem to require Parties to enact domestic gun laws, the careful wording does not prevent Parties from enacting domestic gun laws either. And it additionally requires that the parties "will apply their respective laws and regulations in a manner consistent with this Convention," binding future actions into compliance, while giving a comfortable appearance of autonomy. Our attorneys were impressed with how
well this is drafted.
Article I, Definitions.
The definitions are suitably robust and need little description here.
However, "Illicit manufacture" includes any ammunition made, "b. without a license from a competent governmental authority of the State Party where the manufacture or assembly takes place;". This unequivocally places dangerous homemade "reloading" operations under any reasonable controls deemed necessary. Such controls are not optional. Any so-called hobbyist operating outside a yet-to-be designed licensing scheme would be in violation. Penalties are to be independently determined by the Parties.
Also note that "an accessory that can be attached to a firearm" is included as "other related materials," and also subject to illicit manufacture rules. This provides the broadest controls over anyone making, transporting, possessing or transferring such items as wood or composite stocks, slings, bayonets or bayonet lugs, sights, scopes, rails, lasers,
grips, flash hiders, suppressors, muzzle brakes and other paraphernalia. The tax dollars from this new revenue source is not determined but believed to be potentially large.
Article II, Purpose.
Reiterates introductory remarks, promotes exchanges of information.
Article III, Sovereignty.
Ensures that territorial jurisdictions and a nonintervention policy are maintained.
Article IV, Legislative measures.
["States Parties that have not yet done so shall adopt the necessary legislative or other measures to establish as criminal offenses under their domestic law the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials... the criminal offenses established pursuant to the foregoing paragraph shall include participation in, association or conspiracy to commit, attempts to commit, and aiding, abetting, facilitating, and counseling the commission of said offenses."]
Once the treaty is signed, laws (if needed) or "other measures" (regulations, memoranda of understanding, policies, operations manuals, AG opinions, basically any legal construct without limitation) are required to implement the terms of the treaty. This is excellent for our purposes. We believe the legal framework exists to handle most if not all the requirements outside cumbersome legislative channels, facilitating easy adoption of the treaty's conditions.
Some objections may be raised by opposition leaders or the gun lobby, but the signed treaty puts this game well into the home stretch by the time such annoyances arise.
Article V, Jurisdiction.
["Each State Party shall adopt such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offenses"]
CIFTA doesn't even contemplate statutes, just "measures" for establishing jurisdiction, including rules for extradition.
Article VI, Marking of Firearms.
Serial numbers and similar markings already required on firearms by U.S. law become an international standard, and now include place of manufacture and name and address of importers, plus special marks for arms retained for official use. There is no enforcement mechanism for rogue nations that do not comply.
Article VII, Confiscation or Forfeiture.
["States Parties shall adopt the necessary measures to ensure that all firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials seized, confiscated, or forfeited as the result of illicit manufacturing or trafficking do not fall into the hands of private individuals or businesses through auction, sale, or other disposal."]
The treaty, when signed, will once and for all end the intolerable practice of returning guns and accessories back to the public after they have fallen into police hands. Our legal opinion is that even recovered stolen guns would also be unreturnable, since these have been illegally trafficked as defined. State laws allowing gun resales and auctions will
become null and void, under the U.S. Constitution's supremacy clause. This may impact some police departments that have come to rely on such revenues, but the net gain in public safety and gun control is more than worth the small loss, which could perhaps be mitigated through use of bailout funds or other government monies.
Article VIII, Security Measures.
["States Parties, in an effort to eliminate loss or diversion, undertake to adopt the necessary measures to ensure the security of firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials imported into, exported from, or in transit through their respective territories."]
It seems clear that the only way to effectively meet this common-sense security obligation (eliminate loss or diversion of firearms and related supplies) is to have universal registration and tracking of all firearms in the country. This long-sought elusive goal now within reach. The phrase "in transit" effectively touches every firearm, all ammunition and related gear.
Article IX, Export, Import, Transit Licenses Port of entry and exit requirements already in place cover this section.
Article X, Strengthening Controls at Export Points
Same as above.
Article XI, Recordkeeping
["States Parties shall assure the maintenance for a reasonable time of the information necessary to trace and identify illicitly manufactured and illicitly trafficked firearms to enable them to comply with their obligations under Articles XIII and XVII."]
This provision provides clear authority to establish large scale comprehensive gun-registration databases. The "reasonable time" for recordkeeping had been determined by the FBI, under former AG Reno, as permanently.
We do anticipate some political objections to this provision, since U.S. laws place some restrictions on firearm recordkeeping on the public. However, as we learned under Attorney General Janet Reno, during the original implementation of the NICS background checks, government systems can be set up in any manner desired with little effective oversight, and only after prolonged and arguable challenges need the systems be changed. The true nature of such complex systems remains difficult to ascertain, is difficult to monitor on an ongoing basis, can be modified in future iterations to more closely reflect desired policy without raising warning flags, and system backups maintained by allies do not fall under the same controls as domestic versions.
A review of the remaining 19 Articles of the treaty will be provided shortly. These are minor and deal largely with exchange of information among the parties, cooperation, training (for which the U.S. can play a significant role by financing and controlling programs among the Parties), mutual legal assistance (another area where the U.S. can exert significant influence), "controlled delivery" or sting operations, extradition of U.S.
citizens, and structural elements such as a consultative committee, periodic meetings, ratifications, withdrawal, effective dates and dispute settlements.
An interesting "Annex" exempts certain items from the definition of explosives, including:
["compressed gases; flammable liquids; explosive actuated devices, such as air bags and fire extinguishers; propellant actuated devices, such as nail gun cartridges; consumer fireworks suitable for use by the public and designed primarily to produce visible or audible effects by combustion, that contain pyrotechnic compositions and that do not project or disperse dangerous fragments such as metal, glass, or brittle plastic; toy plastic
or paper caps for toy pistols; toy propellant devices consisting of small paper or composition tubes or containers containing a small charge or slow burning propellant powder designed so that they will neither burst nor produce external flame except through the nozzle on functioning; and smoke candles, smokepots, smoke grenades, smoke signals, signal flares, hand signal devices, and Very signal cartridges designed to produce visible effects for signal purposes containing smoke compositions and no bursting charges."]
END OF ANALYSIS
Pennsylvania Winter Recreation and Museum Ideas for Families
Visiting Pittsburgh with Kids
Pittsburgh offers a number of entertaining activities for families with children during the winter months. From museums to outdoor fun, this western Pennsylvania city has more than enough options for kids of all ages.
There are a number of Pittsburgh area museums that offer exhibits, classes, and more for kids. These include specialized museums that focus on natural history, art, science, children’s play, and local history.
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History: Located in the Oakland area of Pittsburgh, this museum offers a variety of permanent and special exhibits covering the natural world and human existence. Kids will enjoy the igloo in Polar World, the Hall of Native American Indians, and of course the dueling T-rexes in the dinosaur display. Young children will also love "digging" for fossils in the Bonehunters Quarry.
The Frick Art and Historical Center: Visit the former home of industrialist Henry Clay Frick for a trip back in time as well as to view a fantastic collection of artwork. This museum offers a variety of programs for kids and families of all ages.
The Carnegie Science Center: Experiment with water, sound and more during a visit to this North Side attraction. Young kids will have a blast in this science center’s unique water table area, while older kids can delve into the science behind robotics, weather, and even food.
The Mattress Factory: As contemporary art space, this museum offers a number of permanent and special exhibitions. Look for special youth and children’s programs that may fit with specific family interests.
Winter Outdoor Recreation in Pittsburgh
A mid-winter vacation to Pittsburgh can be filled with fun outdoor recreational activities. Local and nearby parks and resorts provide a variety of offerings such as skiing, ice skating, and sledding or tubing.
For low cost outdoor recreation visit one of the many public parks in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas:
Pittsburgh Parks: Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park (located near the campuses of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University) offers an outdoor ice skating rink that is open to the public seven days a week.
Allegheny County Parks: Allegheny county offers multiple parks with a variety of outdoor winter recreation opportunities. South Park (located in Pittsburgh’s South Hills area of Bethel Park) offers outdoor ice skating, a nature center with children’s and youth outside activities, and hiking. North Park (in Pittsburgh’s North Hills area) has outdoor ice skating and hiking. Boyce Park (in the Monroeville area just outside of Pittsburgh) offers snowboarding, skiing, and snow tubing.
For families looking for more of a resort option, these attractions are located within a fairly close proximity to the Pittsburgh area. Call first for specific rates, activities, and accommodations.
Source: By Erica Loop
Hillary takes our guns away without a vote by Supreme Court
International treaty may be used to suspend your rights!
Obama Finds Legal Way Around The 2nd Amendment And Uses It.
If This Passes, There Will Be WAR
On Wednesday the Obama administration took its first major step in a plan to ban all firearms in the United States. The Obama administration intends to force gun control and a complete ban on all weapons for US citizens through the signing of international treaties with foreign nations. By signing international treaties on gun control, the Obama administration can use the US State Department to bypass the normal legislative process in Congress. Once the US Government signs these international treaties, all US citizens will be subject to those gun laws created by foreign governments. These are laws that have been developed and promoted by organizations such as the United Nations and individuals such as George Soros and Michael Bloomberg. The laws are designed and intended to lead to the complete ban and confiscation of all firearms.
The Obama administration is attempting to use tactics and methods of gun control that will inflict major damage to our 2nd Amendment before US citizens even understand what has happened. Obama can appear before the public and tell them that he does not intend to pursue any legislation (in the United States) that will lead to new gun control laws, while cloaked in secrecy, his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is committing the US to international treaties and foreign gun control laws. Does that mean Obama is telling the truth? What it means is that there will be no publicized gun control debates in the media or votes in Congress. We will wake up one morning and find that the United States has signed a treaty that prohibits firearm and ammunition manufacturers from selling to the public. We will wake up another morning and find that the US has signed a treaty that prohibits any transfer of firearm ownership. And then, we will wake up yet another morning and find that the US has signed a treaty that requires US citizens to deliver any firearm they own to the local government collection and destruction center or face imprisonment.
This is not a joke nor a false warning. As sure as government health care will be forced on us by the Obama administration through whatever means necessary, so will gun control.
U.S. reverses stance on treaty to regulate arms trade
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States reversed policy on Wednesday and said it would back launching talks on a treaty to regulate arms sales as long as the talks operated by consensus, a stance critics said gave every nation a veto.
The decision, announced in a statement released by the U.S. State Department, overturns the position of former President George W. Bush's administration, which had opposed such a treaty on the grounds that national controls were better.
View The Full Article Here
West Mifflin Borough Council Members
3000 Lebanon Church Rd.
West Mifflin, PA 15122
Re: Enactment of an ordinance known as Mandatory Reporting of Lost or Stolen Firearms
Attention: Mayor John Andzelik, Council President William Welsh and West Mifflin Council Members
This evening the West Mifflin Council will consider enacting an ordinance requiring the Mandatory Reporting of Lost or Stolen Firearms. We have researched the issues in this matter and wish to apprise the Council and Mayor of these results.
We assert that the enactment of this ordinance will be a direct violation of Title18 PA Crimes Code, §6120. Limitation on the Regulation of Firearms and Ammunition (see copy in your packet):
(a) General rule.--No county, municipality or township may in any manner regulate the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by the laws of this Commonwealth.
Click here to read the entire document
Clean Boats Campaign
Clean Boats Mean Healthy Waters
The connection between cleaning your boat and protecting your waters is clear. Aquatic invasives are plants and animals that don’t belong in our waters and cause a lot of damage. Many invasives arrive via international shipping or the pet trade, and are then unknowingly spread by boaters and anglers between waterways.
Safe from the predators and diseases of their native habitat, they reproduce uncontrolled. Once established, aquatic invasives can cause many problems. They can:
Reduce game fish and other native wildlife populations
Ruin boat engines and jam steering equipment
Make lakes and rivers unusable by boaters and swimmers
Increase the operating costs of drinking water and power plants
Affect human health
Reduce property values
Overall, non-native species cost the U.S. $127 billion each year.
In most cases, the best way to manage aquatic invasives is to halt their spread into new areas. That’s why cleaning your equipment every time you leave the water is so important.
You Can Help Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers
It only takes a few minutes to inspect and clean your boat and other equipment each time you leave the water. Knowing how to do this properly will save time and ensure that your efforts protect our waters from plants and animals that don’t belong. This site will teach you everything you need to know to protect your lakes and streams from harmful aquatic hitchhikers.
How to Clean Your Equipment Properly
Here are a few precautions that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Coast Guard recommend to protect your favorite fishing and boating spots from an unwanted invasion. It is important to follow these procedures every time you come into contact with any body of water. Even if you think the waterway is pristine, there may be an invasive species that has not yet been discovered. There are hundreds of different harmful species ranging from plants, fish, amphibians, crustaceans, mollusks, diseases or pathogens. Some organisms are so small, you may not even realize they are hitching a ride with you.
Remove any visible plant matter, animals, mud, and dirt from your boat, trailer, boots, waders, decoys, and all equipment that was exposed to the water. Even plant fragments and dirt may contain tiny hitchhikers.
Empty water from motors, jet drives, live wells, boat hulls, canoes and kayaks, scuba tanks and regulators, boots, waders, bait buckets, etc. Please do this before you leave. If you wait until you get home to empty water, it is likely to run down the gutter into a storm drain, which could contaminate local waters.
Clean your equipment, including your boat’s engine cooling system, live wells, and bilge with hot tap water (at least 104° F). If hot water is not available, spray equipment such as boats, motors, trailers, anchors, decoys, floats, and nets with high-pressure water.
Make sure that your boat and other equipment is allowed to dry for at least 5 days before using it in other waters.
For equipment that cannot be exposed to hot water, either dip it in vinegar for 20 minutes or in a 1-percent saltwater solution for 24 hours.
If your dog gets into the water, wash it with warm tap water as soon as possible, brushing its coat thoroughly.
Do not release unused bait into the waters you are fishing. Dump any unused bait into a trashcan. Be aware of any bait regulations, and do not use live bait in waters where it is prohibited.
If you need to get rid of your aquarium fish or aquatic pets, do not release them into or near a body of water or a storm drain. If you cannot find another home for them, bury them. Dump the aquarium water in the toilet or in your yard, far away from any storm drains.
You can find out more about aquatic invasives and how to prevent their spread by visiting the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers Web site at www.protectyourwaters.net. Even if you don’t own a boat, you can help protect the waters of your state by contacting your state and federal legislators and asking them to support Great Lakes restoration. New legislation is needed to put in place a long-term restoration strategy for the lakes and to prevent the further spread of invasive species. Visit the Healing Our Waters Coalition at www.restorethelakes.org to find out how you can help ensure that your waterways are protected from the threat of aquatic invasives.
Source: The Izaak Walton League of America
GAME COMMISSION URGES HUNTERS TO CONSIDER SHARING VENISON
Hunters who are successful in the upcoming deer hunting seasons are encouraged by the Pennsylvania Game Commission to consider participating in the state’s Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) program, which channels donations of venison to local food banks, soup kitchens and needy families. Pennsylvania’s HSH program is recognized as one of the most successful among similar programs in about 40 states.
“Using a unique network of local volunteer area coordinators and cooperating meat processors to process and distribute venison donated by hunters, HSH has really helped to make a difference for countless needy families and individuals in our state,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. “Pennsylvanians who participate in this extremely beneficial program should be proud of the role they play. HSH truly does make a tremendous difference.”
Started in 1991, HSH has developed into a refined support service for organizations that assist the Commonwealth’s needy. Each year, Hunters Sharing the Harvest helps to deliver almost 200,000 meals to food banks, churches and social services feeding programs for meals provided to needy Pennsylvanians.
“This program is all about the generosity of hunters and their desire to help make a difference,” Roe said. “It’s a program that many hunters have become committed to and enjoy supporting. After all, what is more gratifying than providing needed food to families?”
As part of the program, hunters are encouraged to take a deer to a participating meat processor and identify how much of their deer meat - from an entire deer to several pounds - that is to be donated to HSH. If the hunter is donating an entire deer, they are asked to make a $15 tax-deductible co-pay, and HSH will cover the remaining processing fees. However, a hunter can cover the entire costs of the processing, which is tax deductible as well.
HSH established a statewide toll-free telephone number – 866-474-2141 - which also can answer hunters’ questions about where participating meat processors can be found or other general inquiries about the program.
To learn more about the program and obtain a list of participating meat processors and county coordinators, visit the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), click on “Hunting” and then select “Hunters Sharing the Harvest.” Information also can be found on the HSH website (www.sharedeer.org).
Source: PA Game Commission
PA Gun Owners Facing MANY Challenges & Hidden Dangers
While the PA budget dilemma dominates public media and the attention of many, seething beneath the surface of PA politics is a rapid undercurrent of anti-gun efforts to strip citizens of their freedoms.
From the PA State Police Commissioner openly writing to Mayors in the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Bloomberg group encouraging them to enact laws prohibited by PA’s preemption law to the legislative attempts to enact even MORE anti-gun laws to cover up the failure to prosecute criminals, we are faced with MANY concerns.
In addition a very small minority of state legislators, led by Reps. Caltagirone, Evans & Levdansky, continue to stymie efforts to enact pro-gun legislation like the Castle Doctrine (HB 40) and others that would actually save lives and restore Freedoms.
The old saying is appropriate here that the ONLY thing necessary for ‘evil’ to triumph is for good men (and women) to do nothing. With over 2 million gun owners in PA it is TIME to reassert ourselves in much greater numbers than ever before!
Great Outdoors America Report Arrives on Capitol Hill
A wide-ranging review of how Americans engage with and value the nation’s land and water resources and its outdoor recreation assets calls for a comprehensive overhaul of programs and policies to safeguard these resources for future generations and to meet the needs of a growing population.
The report by the private, bipartisan Outdoor Resources Review Group (ORRG) is being presented today (July 6) at a Capitol Hill briefing to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), who served as honorary co-chairs of the project.
In its report, the task force analyzed efforts to conserve and protect the nation’s outdoor heritage — including parks, wildlife refuges, and open space. The report draws a strong link between the availability and quality of these resources and the health of Americans, the economy, and communities nationwide. It also points to the tremendous hurdle in securing adequate funding for parks, recreation, and related purposes at the state and local levels, which are on the front line in providing these services.
In the foreword to the report, Senators Bingaman and Alexander said, “Americans all across the country, of all backgrounds and of all political views, care deeply about the health of our land and water resources – the wildlife, parks, forests, farms and ranchlands, and historic places that have sustained and enriched us as a people over generations….We are past due for a serious look at where we stand as a country in achieving our goal of safeguarding these resources…. Today, with a new President and a new Administration, we have the opportunity to put our conservation efforts on solid footing for generations to follow.”
“Healthy, productive land and water resources, wildlife habitat, parks and open space, culturally and historically significant landscapes, and available and accessible recreation lands are fundamental to the American way of life and our future prosperity,” the report notes. “At stake now and for future generations is the health of our people, our economy, our communities, and the lands and waters on which we depend, in short, the quality of life we enjoy in our cities and towns and rural places.”
Needed: Sustainable Funding Stream
A key proposal in the report, which is flagged for further study, is the development of an independent conservation trust within the federal establishment, with dedicated and sustained funding reaching $5 billion annually. One potential funding source, the report suggests, could be a percentage of royalties and revenues collected from development of new renewable and conventional energy resources and transmission capacity on public lands and on the outer continental shelf. The report anticipates conflicts over specific projects if a substantial push is made to develop energy resources on public lands that are valued as wildlife habitat or for recreation. It also calls for a national climate program to help fund the adaptation of land and water resources in a warming world.
The ORRG report is the first major assessment of outdoor resources since the President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors in 1987.
In the more than 20 years since that study, a wide range of outdoor pursuits — including such activities as bird watching, water-related sports, rock climbing, mountain biking, and off-road vehicles — have grown in popularity, even as more traditional activities such as hiking, camping, hunting, and fishing retain strong core followings. The report recommends creating a new nationwide system of “Blueways” and water trails to energize grassroots activity to improve water quality and water-related recreation opportunities.
The 17-member ORRG task force was organized by Henry Diamond, partner at Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., an environmental law firm headquartered in Washington,
and former commissioner of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation; Patrick Noonan, chairman emeritus of The Conservation Fund; and Gilbert Grosvenor, chairman of the board of the National Geographic Society.
The panel’s findings and recommendations were informed by analysis from a year-long research effort by Resources for the Future (RFF) examining trends in recreational land use and new issues affecting recreation, conservation, and open space. RFF is releasing its research report later this year.
Trends and Changes Affecting Outdoor Resources
The ORRG report identifies a number of recreational trends, policy failures, and technological changes that have affected outdoor resources. Among the findings and recommendations:
- The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), created in 1965, has declined in significance and utility, a victim of undependable appropriations. This has made it difficult for public agencies to plan for and develop needed park and recreation lands and related facilities for outdoor use. The group recommends funding LWCF at its highest authorized level, adjusted for inflation, that is, at $3.2 billion a year, with a share guaranteed to the states and, in turn, to urban areas. By 2015, when the fund’s statutory authority expires, a new funding mechanism will be needed to ensure that demand can be met, including for a projected population increase of 100 million more Americans by 2040.
- Federal, state, and local funding and planning for conservation goals is fragmented and inefficient. Better coordination among numerous programs and jurisdictions is needed to meet recreational priorities. New technologies, such as geo-spatial mapping tools, offer a proven way to array large amounts of information to aid in planning and to provide transparency for outdoor resource investments.
- Both children and adults are struggling with obesity and related health problems. Participation in outdoor recreation activities is fundamental to overcoming these problems, but modern lifestyles, reduced vacation time, changing family structures, and a lack of parks and recreation areas near where people live have made such participation more difficult. More attention to these problems is needed, including vigorous promotion of outdoor activities, especially in schools, to reconnect individuals at an early age to nature and physical pursuits.
- Public / private partnerships offer a proven way to protect land and water resources and advance outdoor recreation. Entrepreneurial land trusts in states and localities have protected millions of acres of land and wildlife habitat, according to the Land Trust Alliance. Local conservancies have protected and restored parks and open space for public use. Such efforts can supplement governmental programs, particularly when public budgets are insufficient.
- Development of outdoor recreation facilities, it appears, has not kept pace with population growth, demographic changes, and participation rates. Moreover, trends in technology and travel that could not have been forecast a generation ago — including such activities as ecotourism and geo-tourism — require further analysis of the implications for the supply of and demand for outdoor resources.
Financial support for the ORRG work was provided by the Laurance S. Rockefeller Fund, the American Conservation Association, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The project also worked closely with The Conservation Fund and the National Geographic Society, which provided additional resources and support.
Source: Outdoor Resources Review Group
U.S. Senate Voted to end debate/Supports Anti-Gun Regulatory ‘CZAR’
The U.S. Senate ended debate on the nomination of one of the most outspoken animal rights, anti-hunting, and anti- Second Amendment individuals to a high government position. By a 63-35 vote, cloture was invoked and debate stopped on the nomination of Cass Sunstein to serve as the head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).
Of the 63 senators that voted in favor of Sunstein (see the attached roll call vote), an anti-hunter, 22 were members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, or 42 percent. (See the GOA analysis of this later in this report)
Unfortunately BOTH PA Senators voted for this disaster. Please voice your Disapproval and ‘demand’ an answer in writing and if you could be so kind as to forward a copy by e-mail or fax to us me for their permanent record I would greatly appreciate it!
For more information on Sunstein go to this link: http://www.thefoxnation.com/czars/2009/09/08/regulatory-czar-2nd-amendment-arguments-based-fears-not-founding-fathers
ACSL Archives 2009
PLEASE NOTE: We have tried to maintain links where possible, but due to the archival nature of these articles, some links may have changed or be otherwise unavailable.