Tag Archives: PENNSYLVANIA

Elementary School Calls Police on Special Needs Kindergartner for Harmless Pointing Gesture

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There has always been ridiculous. But now there is Tredyffrin-Easttown School District ridiculous. READ MORE

cops at school

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

That’s because this Pennsylvania educational board currently tops all-comers in the hotly-contested race for the most counter-productive overreaction to a perceived “threat” from an objectively harmless student.

In this case, the victim was Margot, a 6-year-old kindergartner who has Down Syndrome.

Last November, according to a local CBS news report, “Margot became frustrated and made a gesture that sparked a disciplinary investigation.” The girl’s mother acknowledged that Margot pointed her finger at a teacher and said, “I shoot you.”

While that’s certainly inappropriate behavior, it’s also hardly beyond the pale of a young child who’s experiencing a moment of aggravation.

Notwithstanding Margot’s young age, developmental challenges, and obvious inability to discharge an actual projectile from her bare finger, school officials convened a “threat assessment.”

That process, Margot’s mother told the CBS reporter, determined that “nobody was in harm’s way” and that Margot “didn’t even really know what she was saying.”

Unfortunately, school officials then turned what could have been a teachable moment in the importance of choosing words and gestures carefully into a master’s class on bureaucratic rigidity and ineptitude.

Tredyffrin-Easttown School District policy calls for police to be contacted when a threat assessment is convened.

So school officials called the cops on 6-year-old Margot.

The police would not comment to the CBS reporter on what measures they took in response to the school’s report.

But Margot’s mother is upset that the little girl is now on file with local authorities as having “threatened” a school teacher.

The school district told the CBS affiliate that it had “agreed to review” its “school safety practices” in response to a parent having expressed concerns. But it defended them, insisting “the District worked collaboratively with parents, law enforcement and private safety/mental health agencies and legal consultants to ensure our safety measures reflected considerable input from both our local community and experts in the field of school safety.”

Margot’s mother said in another interview that her meeting with the district’s policy committee left her feeling “disheartened,” as she recognized that the process her daughter was subjected to was “intentional” and had in fact “worked as it was intended to.” “That should really frighten people,” she added.

She has also pointed out the harm these one-size-fits-all policies do to children like her daughter, telling the Washington Post that “nationwide data shows students with disabilities are disproportionately likely to be disciplined.”

Margot’s mother emphasized in a public Facebook statement that she does not blame the teacher or principal for what happened and that they “were merely following a policy in a manner in which they were directed to follow it.”

Her motive for going public after meeting with the district’s policy committee, she explained, “is about educating and informing our community about a policy that needs to change in order to protect all our students.” Her recommendations for reform are outlined in a detailed letter she submitted to the committee.

If this were an isolated incident, it could perhaps be chalked up to good intentions gone awry.

But anti-gun hysteria has grown so acute and pervasive in the public education system that no child is safe from potentially life-long consequences for what has historically been understood to be normal, if immature, behavior. These incidents should be kept in mind as policymakers debate the important issue of school safety.

Fortunately, Margot’s parents appear determined to do whatever is necessary to remove any effect the incident may have left on her record and to ensure other vulnerable students in the Tredyffrin-Easttown School District are spared a similar experience.

We wish the family well in righting a wrong that could have been avoided with a modicum of common sense and good judgment. In the meantime, we grade the district’s efforts at a rational approach to safety an F for FAIL.

 

Pennsylvania Attorney General Issues Opinion On Partially-Finished Receivers In Extreme Deviation From Federal Law

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Attorney General Josh Shapiro states controversial opinion regarding firearm classification. READ MORE

80 percent lower

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Once again, anti-gun officials contort case law and statute to undermine our Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Last week, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro issued a tortured opinion defining partially-manufactured receivers as firearms. This opinion flies in stark contrast to the current, and widely held, understanding that receivers that are unfinished and require additional work to operate as a functional frame or receiver are not considered firearms and therefore aren’t regulated as such.

Shapiro relies on two arguments to arrive at this absurd result. One, that unfinished receivers are “designed” to expel a projectile by action of an explosive. It doesn’t take a law degree to figure out how backward this thinking is. Partially-manufactured lowers are explicitly designed so that they are unable to expel a projectile by action of an explosive without further work. In other words, by their very nature, they are not firearms.

Two, Shapiro claims that these receivers “may be readily converted (to expel a projectile)” which he argues is analogous to the “may readily be restored” language of the federal National Firearms Act.

With this make-believe bridge, Shapiro then imports federal case law concerning the “may be readily restored” (to a machine gun) language to draw up extremely broad contours of what would be considered a firearm under state law. He uses extreme case law to lower the threshold for what constitutes a firearm to facilitate his anti-gun position and leanings.

Shapiro’s “theory” of treating non-functioning blocks of polymer, steel, or aluminum as “firearms” is the equivalent of calling a pile of aluminum tubes a bicycle or even considering a hickory or ash tree a baseball bat.

Make No Mistake — This opinion applies to much more than unfinished receiver kits!

Using the extremely vague description provided by AG Shapiro, almost any chunk of material (metal, polymer, etc.) could be considered a firearm and he and his anti-gun cronies can use this precedent to destroy our freedoms one step at a time.

 

Pittsburgh Mayor Declares Intent to Ban Guns in Violation of State Law

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Under the proposed semi-automatic ban, it would be “unlawful to manufacture, sell, purchase, transport, carry, store, or otherwise hold in one’s possession” a firearm defined as an “assault weapon.” READ IT ALL

pittsburgh mayor

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Last week, we reported that it was likely that sweeping gun control measures would be proposed in Pittsburgh. On December 14 Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto held a press conference to propose a trio of anti-gun city ordinances that, if enacted, would constitute a direct violation of Pennsylvania’s state firearms preemption law and Pennsylvania Supreme Court precedent. At the event, Peduto was joined by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, who benefitted from $500,000 in spending from Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety during his 2018 re-election bid, and City Council members Corey O’Connor and Erika Strassburger.

Not content to spearhead his own city’s violation of state law, Peduto called for municipalities throughout the country to ignore state statutes duly enacted by their residents’ elected representatives. A press release from the mayor’s office chronicling the conference explained, “Mayor Peduto has asked cities around the country to support Pittsburgh’s measures and/or introduce similar legislation to create nationwide momentum behind the critically needed gun changes.”

Councilmember O’Connor, who purportedly authored the anti-gun proposals, took a similar tack, stating that Pittsburgh “must seize the opportunity to make a real difference by partnering with other municipalities in the Commonwealth and cities across America to enact” gun restrictions. Councilmember Strassburger also encouraged the municipal lawlessness, stating, “I hope more cities across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the entire nation will join Pittsburgh in this critical effort.”

The three legislative proposals are a total ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms, a total ban on several types of common firearms accessories and standard capacity magazines, and the development of a procedure to confiscate an individual’s firearms without due process of law.

The legislation defines “assault weapon” by listing several models of commonly owned semi-automatic firearms, including the Colt AR-15 and certain configurations of the Ruger Mini-14. Moreover, the legislation goes on to add to the definition of “assault weapon” semi-automatic rifles, pistols, and shotguns that meet a certain set of criteria.

The prohibition criteria for rifles is the following:

a. The firearm is a semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least two of the following:

i. A folding or telescoping stock;

ii. A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;

iii. A bayonet mount;

iv. A flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor; and

v. A grenade launcher;

Pistols would be judged under the following criteria:

b. The firearm is a semiautomatic pistol that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least two of the following:

i. An ammunition magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip;

ii. A threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward handgrip or silencer;

iii. A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the firearm with the non-trigger hand without being burned;

iv. A manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded; and

v. A semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm;

The following shotguns would banned:

c. The firearm is a semiautomatic shotgun that has at least two of the following:

i. A folding or telescoping stock;

ii. A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;

iii. A fixed magazine capacity in excess of five rounds; and

iv. An ability to accept a detachable magazine;

The legislation would also prohibit the possession of machine guns lawfully registered under the National Firearms Act.

The legislative proposal targeting common firearms accessories would ban the possession of firearms magazines “that [have] the capacity of, or can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition.” The ordinance would also ban any semi-automatic centerfire rifle that can accept a detachable magazine and is equipped with either a pistol grip, thumbhole stock, folding or telescoping stock, or a forward pistol grip (among other items).

Both pieces of legislation impose severe penalties on those who refuse to submit to the city’s unlawful mandates. Those who do not comply “shall be fined $1,000 and costs for each offense, and in default of payment thereof, may be imprisoned for not more than 90 days.” Moreover, the proposals provide that “[e]ach day of a continuing violation of or failure to comply … shall constitute and separate and distinct offense.” Meaning that otherwise law-abiding individuals who fail to comply with the ordinances would face potential financial ruin.

The final proposal would empower law enforcement to search for and confiscate an individual’s firearms without due process. Acting on merely a petition offered by a law enforcement official or family or household member a court could issue an order for an individual’s firearms to be seized. The individual would have no opportunity to speak or present evidence on their own behalf prior to confiscation.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly has made clear that firearms laws are a state matter and that it is unlawful for the state’s political subdivisions to regulate firearms. 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 6120, concerning the “Limitation on the regulation of firearms and ammunition,” states:

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.

The language of the statute is crystal clear. Municipalities like Pittsburgh may not pass their own firearms regulations.

However, the simple statute wasn’t simple enough for the reading challenged lawmakers of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

In the 1996 case Ortiz v. Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania settled the question as to whether Pittsburgh and Philadelphia could restrict commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms. In finding that they could not, the court stated:

Because the ownership of firearms is constitutionally protected, its regulation is a matter of statewide concern. The constitution does not provide that the right to bear arms shall not be questioned in any part of the commonwealth except Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, where it may be abridged at will, but that it shall not be questioned in any part of the commonwealth. Thus, regulation of firearms is a matter of concern in all of Pennsylvania, not merely in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and the General Assembly, not city councils, is the proper forum for the imposition of such regulation.

Another portion of the opinion described Pittsburgh’s position as “frivolous.”

In the 2009 case National Rifle Association v. Philadelphia, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania came to the same conclusion after Philadelphia ignored the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s 1996 ruling and enacted a ban on commonly-owned firearms and a lost or stolen reporting ordinance. Citing Pennsylvania’s firearms preemption statute and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s decision in Ortiz, the Commonwealth Court struck down the local firearms ordinances. Philadelphia appealed the case to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and was denied.

In pursuing their local gun control ordinances, Peduto and his anti-gun allies have demonstrated an extraordinary indifference to state law, judicial precedents, and the taxpaying constituents who will foot the bill for this political grandstanding. NRA stands ready to use all available legal avenues to ensure that the residents of Pittsburgh are never subject to these unconstitutional and unlawful proposals.