Falls Township Rifle and Pistol Association

354 Newbold Road, Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania

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Category: Legislative

June 2016 Legislative Report

 

National

Senator Durbin (D-IL) Blocks Bill to Restore Rights to Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs has reported hundreds of thousands of veterans to NICS and prohibited them from possessing firearms if they had an appointed “fiduciary” to manage their benefits. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced an amendment to a Veterans Affairs Appropriation Bill that would have prevented the VA from reporting veterans without an adjudication that included a finding of dangerousness. Unfortunately, that amendment was blocked from being considered by Senator Durbin.

Social Security Rule Finalized

After President Obama issued executive orders on gun control, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began investigating the Department of Veterans Affairs program of NICS reporting as a potential model for the SSA. If implemented, anyone collecting Social Security using “designated payee” to manage that person’s finances would be put in the NICS system and prohibited from possessing firearms. The SSA has issued the final rule, and we’re fortunate it is not as bad as what was first proposed (but still bad). Under the final rule, the following all of the things below would have to be true before a person would be entered into NICS and prohibited from possessing firearms:

  • Has a designated payee who manages his or her finances.
  • Is a beneficiary disability payments, and not a retiree.
  • Filed for Social Security Disability under a mental health code.
  • Has attained the age of 18 (children automatically have a designated payee).

NRA has concerns because many mental health codes used by SSA don’t necessarily include a finding of dangerousness. Examples they used were “Sleep or Appetite Disturbance,” “Decreased Energy,” and “Inflated Self-Esteem.” There are other due process concerns as well, and whether this whole program is even legal, but the courts work slowly.

Pennsylvania

Sunday Hunting

Senate Bill 1080 and House Bill 1374 are still making progress in the Pennsylvania legislature. The bill would allow the PA Game Commission to permit hunting on Sundays. Delaware’s legislature just passed a similar bill which is now before the Governor. Right now our bill is still in the Game and Fisheries Committee.

PICS Repeal

Pennsylvania maintains its own background check system that is separate from the federal system. HB 921, which is coming up for a vote in the House Judiciary Committee, would eliminate PICS, allowing firearms dealers to use the federal NICS system in its place. PICS costs the state a considerable amount of money to run, and is considerably less reliable than the federal system.

New Jersey

Blocking Governor Christie’s Rule Changes to Make it Easier to Get a Permit to Carry

As those of you from New Jersey may know, Governor Christie signed a series of executive orders to redefine how New Jersey gun laws are interpreted, including easing laws that include transporting firearms and easing the requirement to justify being issued a License to Carry a firearm. Unfortunately, this made the Democratic-controlled legislature angry, and they’ve introduced bills to stop this, namely ACR 175 and SCR 101, and also AB 3689.

New Hampshire Licenses Again Available to New Jersey Residents

New Hampshire Licenses to Carry were available to New Jersey residents up until the N.H. Department of Safety ended up changing its rule and required non-resident applicants to have a permit from their home state before being able to apply. However, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled last week in Bach v. N.H. Department of Safety that the requirement went beyond the department’s powers. New Hampshire licenses will again be available to New Jersey residents for those who want to carry in states that recognize the New Hampshire licenses.

January 2016 Legislative Report

National

Obama’s Executive Orders on Guns

 We’ve known that the White House was preparing executive orders on guns for a while now, but last week the shoe finally dropped. I was expecting something more bold from the Administration than what we got, which was essentially just a restatement of current law, and a statement asking Congress for more funds to fund key programs like the National Instant Check System and ATF inspectors.

It had been rumored that the Obama Administration may have been planning to rework federal regulations to define a person “engaged in the business” of selling firearms (and thus requiring a dealer’s license) as someone who sells more than 50 guns in a year. That did not end up happening. The Department of Justice issued a guidance statement (which has no legal effect) essentially reminding people that there have been successful prosecutions for individuals selling as few as two guns, depending on the totality of circumstances.

The other issue was restructuring federal regulation to require “responsible persons” for corporations or trusts who acquire NFA firearms (machine guns, short barreled rifles and shotguns, silencers, or AOWs) to submit fingerprints and go through the same FBI background check as individuals. It was rumored that the Administration was also planning to require signoff from chief-law-enforcement officers (CLEO) for corporations and trusts, as well as individuals. It turns out that CLEO signoff requirement will be eliminated and replaced with a CLEO notification requirement. These regulation changes have not been published in the Federal Register, so are not yet finalized. ATF has been working on this for years, and due to complexities involved with these changes, it’s not sure when they will ever be finalized.

In short, Obama’s executive orders were essentially a lot of hot air.

Pennsylvania

You may have heard the news that the Mayor of the bankrupt City of Harrisburg was trying to extort money out of the National Rifle Association to the tune of a quarter of a million dollars if they wanted to have use of the city’s police officers for the Great American Outdoor show hosted at the Farm Show Complex February 6-14 this year. NRA’s bylaws essentially prevent it from approving extortion money, so they balked, causing the Mayor to take the fight to the media. Fortunately, police officers from areas surrounding Harrisburg offered to step up for NRA. As a condition of hosting the show, NRA agreed to allocate grants for the local region. Apparently Mayor Papenfuse believed that meant Harrisburg should get all the money, and threw a fit when he discovered other towns in the area would be getting grants instead.

New Jersey

The smart gun law is back. Several years ago, anti-gun legislators in the Garden State passed a law which stipulated that on the call of the Attorney General, once a smart gun was available on the market, they would be the only types of guns allowed to be sold in New Jersey. Realizing that this was causing resistance to the idea of anyone developing the technology, those same legislators have floated a bill, S. 3249 / A. 4717, which would repeal the mandate, and replace it with a new mandate that would require gun dealers to stock smart guns once they become available, whether they sold or not. ANJRPC is standing firm that only full repeal of the smart gun mandate will be sufficient to drop opposition, and is asking people to contact their lawmakers to oppose S. 3249 / A. 4717.

Don’t Forget to Vote Tuesday November 3rd!

NRA has endorsed candidates in the off-year elections tomorrow, November 3rd. It is very important for every gun voter to show up this year. PVF’s web site looks like it’s finally correct, and has all the endorsed candidates. FOAC also has their slate of candidates up, with some further local races you might want to pay attention to. We elect our judges in Pennsylvania, and that’s mostly what this election is about. The important statewide candidates:

Supreme Court

  • Anne Covey (R)
  • Michael George (R)
  • Judith Olson (R)

Superior Court

  • Emil Giordano (R)

Commonwealth Court

  • Paul Lalley (R)

August 2015 Legislative Report

Federal

Social Security Administration Proposes Stripping Gun
Rights for 4.5 Million Recipients

In response to President Obama’s executive orders directing agencies to look for ways they could implement “gun safety measures,” the Social Security Administration proposed a plan that would classify approximately 4.5 million recipients as unable to possess or purchase firearms. Under their proposal, any Social Security recipient who received his or her benefit through a “representative payee,” (meaning that someone else was managing their finances) would be classified as “mentally defective” and added to the National Instant Check System. The Veterans Administration has already been running a similar program, which declares veterans who do not manage their own finances as “mentally defective” under the Gun Control Act, and adding them to NICS.

A few days ago, Senator John Cornyn introduced a bill, S.2002 that would essentially rewrite the mental health provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968 to both prevent the Social Security Administration from implementing this proposal, and also stop the Veterans Administration program. It would force the Attorney General to send all veterans placed in the system a letter informing them of their status, their rights, and their ability to challenge their classification. The Attorney General would be required to remove veterans from the system where it is shown there were insufficient due process considerations.

Going forward, S.2002 would require that before anyone is “adjudicated mentally incompetent,” that they receive actual notice of a hearing where the individual would have a right to participate and have representation by counsel. It would require a finding that the person is dangerous to themselves or others. S.2002 would also end the practice of using observational (in Pennsylvania, a “302” commitment) or voluntary commitments as grounds for declaring someone mentally incompetent for federal purposes.

Please write to Senators Casey and Toomey, or for New Jersey folks, Senators Booker and Menendez, and ask them to co-sponsor S.2002

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