Like countless grassroots activists in other states, Second Amendment activists throughout Pennsylvania are pressing county and municipal leaders to enact “Second Amendment Sanctuary” resolutions to keep the state government from shoving gun control down their throats.
However, the president of a notable gun rights group in Pennsylvania does not agree with this strategy.
“I personally believe that these things are misguided,” stated Kim Stolfer of Firearms Owners Against Crime, based in southwestern Pennsylvania. “And it flaunts the law.”
Stolfer argued that the campaign for local Second Amendment Sanctuary ordinances would present numerous problems for gun rights in Pennsylvania.
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He said he worries it would encourage counties and municipalities to pass their own gun restrictions — something his group has successfully fought in court.
“We believe it (would) send the wrong message,” he stated.
Gun Owners of America, America’s original “no compromise” gun lobby, has provided a template of the ordinance to Second Amendment activists across the country.
These proposals would keep counties from enforcing any “Unlawful Act.”
In this case, Unlawful Act refers to an infringement on a person’s “constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”
The ordinance template provides seven examples of what the group views as illegal laws, which include laws authorizing law enforcement to confiscate guns.
Val Finnell, the Pennsylvania director of Gun Owners of America, claimed that the ordinances are directed at new gun laws coming out of Washington, D.C., or Harrisburg.
The gun rights ordinances GOA is proposing go beyond symbolic resolutions given that they have the force of law.
Republican legislations State Representative Stephanie Borowicz and State Representative Aaron Bernstine have publicly supported these ordinances. In a letter directed to local elected officials, Bernstine asserted that the ordinance would defend people from “overreaching politicians and bureaucrats in Harrisburg and Washington … .”
However, Stolfer has as different take on these resolutions.
Stolfer believes these proposed ordinances would be in violation of preemption laws which give state elected officials — not local government leaders — the authority to regulate guns.
Stolfer commends the passion behind individuals promoting Second Amendment Sanctuary ordinances, but he believes these efforts are misguided.
He still thinks that the power to implement gun laws should be confined to state lawmakers in order to avoid creating “a patchwork quilt” of gun laws across Pennsylvania.
Stolfer is also of the opinion that local communities don’t have the experience and expertise needed to tackle complex gun laws.
“Without that kind of focus and specialization in this area of law, mistakes can be made and these mistakes can be very costly and unfortunate,” Stolfer claimed.
On the other hand, Finnell, argued that Second Amendment Sanctuary activists attempted to draw up the ordinance so that it could potentially stand up in court.
He sustained that the ordinance would uphold “the higher law of the Constitution of the commonwealth, the Constitution of the United States.”
It’s time to start dispensing with conventional political activism that goes according to the rules.
With how centralized both state and the federal governments have become, rural people will have to turn to sanctuary resolutions as a means of securing of their gun rights.
They will never be able to attain majorities in the state legislature, let alone in Washington, D.C.
The days of normal politics are over and certain segments of gun owners will have to use different political strategies to defend their rights.