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Josh First Responds to CeaseFirePA Questionnaire

PO Box 5128
Harrisburg PA 17110

March 21, 2012

Max Nacheman, Director
111 S. Independence Mall East, Suite 966
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Dear Max,

Below is my written response to the questionnaire that CeaseFire sent to me. Because the questionnaire posed complex questions, and yet solicited a simple Yes or No response, I believe it is in the best interest of all parties to explain my positions in writing.

Question 1: Requirement for reporting stolen or missing firearms. I am against a requirement to report lost or stolen firearms, because it creates a situation where the victim becomes a potential criminal. Your definition of “reasonable” probably differs from mine. Under your proposed law, as soon as someone reports a lost or stolen gun, they can and probably will become the subject of an investigation: When did the victim know the gun was missing? Why did they wait “so long” to report it? Next thing ya know, the guy who is missing a gun becomes the subject of a criminal investigation. No way. That’s crazy. But if your goal is to make gun ownership difficult, that’s what you’d do. I am against it.

Question 2: Local community control of gun laws. I am adamantly opposed to allowing Pennsylvania to become a crazy quilt of different gun laws, where one community allows a certain gun but another one arrests the gun owner as a felon for possessing the same gun. Laws must be uniform or they are unfair.

Question 3: Stronger penalties for illegal gun possession. Yes, I support stronger penalties for illegal and criminal use of firearms. Weak enforcement has resulted in weaker disincentives to criminals getting and using firearms.

Question 4: Philadelphia Gun Violence Task Force. I support funding any project that focuses on illegal and criminal use of firearms, instead of pursuing and limiting the legal acquisition, possession, and use of firearms.

Question 5: PICs vs. NICS. I dislike redundant government. I dislike clunky, unresponsive government. PICS has been identified as being redundant, clunky, and unresponsive. If NICS can be improved, then improve it. But get rid of PICS.

Question 6: Gun dealers are not law enforcement officers. The NICS and PICS systems notify authorities when someone fails. That is the process. Making dealers potentially culpable for not reporting when they might have, say even five minutes later, means that the dealers then become subject to scrutiny. Forget it. It’s not their job. It’s law enforcement’s job to stay on top of liars.

Question 7: No, I oppose background checks for private sales of long guns. I am not thrilled with the background check required for handguns, but it is law and I’ll leave it alone.

Question 8: I don’t see how it’s fair that the mere accusation of abuse can justifiably result in the loss of a Constitutional right. And even if the PFA is based on domestic abuse, why should private property be given over to the government or a dealer? This makes no sense. Once someone is adjudicated and has had the benefit of due process, then you might make a case. But you are jumping the gun here. If someone is afraid of another person who is armed, then they ought to get a gun and defend themselves. Pennsylvania now has the Castle Doctrine, so the potentially abused should now do well in defending themselves both in person and in court, if need be. Few things make gun owners happier than reading about how bad people get shot by their intended victims.

Question 9: I believe that owning and carrying a gun is an individual Constitutional right. I am against government meddling in any Constitutional right. Reciprocity among states honoring driver’s licenses, marriage licenses, and gun carrying licenses is an important part of a harmonious and functioning America. You might have some kind of a compelling argument about Florida if you could demonstrate that these purported loopholes in reciprocity are actually resulting in crime. My bet is that you are sitting around your office all day, trying to think up yet more reasons why guns should not be in the hands of free citizens, and that you are stumped because there is no demonstrated problem with actual data.

Question 10: I don’t know why our state records are not part of the federal NICS. Might be a logistics issue. Might be a money issue. Might be a question of standards, as in Pennsylvania’s mental health records would be used to unfairly disqualify citizens from owning guns. I don’t know enough about this subject to render a yes or no answer, but I am willing to bet that the problem with merging PA’s mental health records with NICS is related to the issues I listed above.

In conclusion, I wish CeaseFirePA abject failure in all of its endeavors. You are making war on the greatest of our Constitutional rights. The Second Amendment is the one right that guarantees all the others. Please take up another prohibitionist cause, like ending world hunger.


Josh First Signature

Josh First, Candidate
PA Senate District 15

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