Education not Legislation

February 20, 2020

by: Frank Tait

The DC project  has an outstanding approach to firearm safety - Education over Legislation.  PA 199 State Representative Barbara Gleim (first picture) hosted an educational event on Saturday February 15 in Carlisle PA to talk about firearms rights and responsibilities of gun owners that exemplifies this approach. 

Rep Gleim brought US Representative Scott Perry  (PA 10) (who helped author pro firearm right bills in PA before being elected to the US House of Representatives), Ron Anderson, the Sheriff of Cumberland County, Chief Deputy  Jody Smith, Steven Miller of the Carlisle Police Department and Kim Stolfer of Firearms Owners Against Crime (2nd picture) to present.

About 180 people came to learn and ask questions of the experts (picture 3).  4 anti's showed up to protest but did not interact with any of the attendees as far as I saw.  Attendees just ignored the protesters.

This is what a political town-hall is supposed to be.  Elected officials bringing experts in to address a topic of interest to her constituents.  The atmosphere was light and friendly.  While the topic was serious it was presented with good humor.  I contrast this with the town-halls that I've attended by anti-rights legislators where the atmosphere is tense and the panelists tell you what you should think.

First Deputy Jody Smith led off with a very clear explanation of the process to get a License to carry a firearm (LTCF) in the county and where a firearm may be carried. Participants with questions raised their hands and all questions were answered.  I contrast this with the anti-rights town-halls where questions have to be in writing and a 'moderator' decides which questions get asked (guess which ones never get asked.....)

Officer Miller reviewed firearm safety rules with clear examples of safe direction and trigger finger discipline. He covered responsible gun ownership and how to interact with law enforcement when carrying a firearm.  Again all questions were answered.

 Sheriff Anderson reviewed the process of checking firearms at the courthouses.  Again good humor with what to do and what not to do.  He also covered holsters and how to safely re-holster when wearing a jacket. Again all questions were answered.   

Kim Stolfer was the lead speaker and reviewed a wide variety of topics and reviewed the many inconsistencies in the PA laws that can trip up law abiding people - in particular PA's firearms transport laws for those that do not have an LTCF.  He noted that PA is the 45th WORST state in terms of transport laws.  At the root of these laws is that government officials do not trust the average person to exercise their rights.

Kim let us know that there are 5,000,000 gun owners in PA but only 1,190,000 of them have an LTCF.  At a minimum people need to get their LTCF to avoid the pitfalls of the transport laws (they are almost as bad as the NYC case that is in front of the Supreme Court).

He noted that universal background checks have been in place for handguns in PA since 1931. He also noted that studies are clear that registration of firearms has no impact on crime rates.  In PA, the average time from purchase of a firearm to it being used in a crime is 10.92 YEARS.  There were many questions for Kim and he answered them all.

Congressman Perry also took questions from the audience.  If someone raised their hand, the question was asked and answered.  This is a great example of what ALL elected representatives and Senators should be doing when they interact with their constituents.