I was born and raised in Elk County, Pennsylvania, which is a rural county in Northwestern Pennsylvania, population of a little less than 32,000. For these hard working, blue collar men and women, hunting, fishing and trapping are, quite simply, common ways of life. In fact, we didn’t even have school on the first day of buck or doe seasons when I was growing up! Since moving to Southeastern Pennsylvania in 1995, I have continued to pursue such passions, albeit adapting to a much more suburban and restrictive environment.
When it came to guns, our families passed on firearms from generation to generation. My grandfather gave me my first guns when I was 5 years old as he lay on his death bed. He told me, “Tommy, these guns are now yours. Respect them. Don’t ever let anyone take them from you. When you have little ones, pass them on and teach them what you know.” Since that time, I have added to my collection of firearms and was blessed with a beautiful daughter who will enjoy her first hunting and trapping season this year.
We didn’t worry about government regulation of our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. We also trusted our local senators and representatives to keep us apprised of important issues before the legislature and protect our way of life. It was not uncommon for our legislators to stop by my family’s gas station for a Pepsi and some conversation. With the speed of life today, however, I highly doubt our representatives have the luxury to visit their constituents on such a personal level anymore.
This past weekend, I, along with my partner, Joshua Prince, had an opportunity to speak at the first meeting of the Constitutional Security Force, Inc. As I was searching a topic, I decided to research recent legislation introduced this year to either the Commonwealth House of Representatives or Senate. Much to my surprise, my initial search revealed 83 pieces of containing the word “firearm”. Some of these bills are pro-gun and some anti-gun. Some seek clarification or amendment of existing laws and some seek to establish new laws. All of which, however, could impact your rights as gun owners.
In upcoming blog articles, I intend to discuss several pieces of proposed legislation which will impact gun owners throughout the Commonwealth. Significant among such legislation are several bills which would restrict or adversely impact your right to own or use a firearm for ANY reason. Please don’t be fooled into thinking that such legislation cannot pass in Pennsylvania. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have heard comments such as; “not it PA” or “PA is gun-friendly” or “we’re a republican controlled state, it will never happen” or “the NRA will handle it”. Legislation impacting your right to keep and bear arms CAN and WILL be effected if we all do nothing.
I implore you to educate yourself about the legislation that is pending before our representatives and senators. I will do my best to offer an analysis of the various proposals and their status in this blog. However, I encourage you to visit www.legis.state.pa.us to stay apprised of developments on any legislation in the Commonwealth. Thereafter, write to your State Representative and Senator with your questions, concerns and opinions. You can locate your local representatives and senators on the website noted above. These men and women speak FOR us and need to know how we feel. Be courteous, polite and thoughtful in your letters. Remember, gun control and gun rights are hot issues today, and these politicians are faced with very difficult decisions. Your statement on these issues should be helpful and offer insight on your opinions. Simply chastising them will do nothing to champion our Second Amendment rights.
The war against firearms has spilled into every state legislature in the United States following the tragedy in Connecticut. Pennsylvania has not escaped this onslaught of legislation. You may be surprised to learn what could befall lawful gun owners in Pennsylvania if we simply wait and see.