Monday, August 27, 2007

Rights are rights -- always on -- never off. Any shutdown of rights is wrong. Your rights and mine are linked and the same.

The issue of gun rights are such that, as a topic, it does NOT really knock my socks off with excitement. But, as a principle, it is something to pay close attention to. Rights are rights and can't be messed with. It is wrong to start short-changing rights.

I hate the direction that the state is taking with this move. Now the state wants to suspend rights for four days. Later it could be for four months or four years.
Pennsylvania Bureaucrats to Suspend Gun Purchases

Individual rights downgraded by computer database upgrade

Press Release from the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania on August 27, 2007.

Harrisburg, PA - The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPa) strongly objects to a state plan to suspend self-defense rights for gun purchasers over the upcoming Labor Day weekend. The Pennsylvania State Police will be upgrading their computer database used for criminal background checks. During that time, estimated to be four days, they will not be able to perform criminal background checks, so gun purchases and gun changes of ownership will be suspended.

Michael Robertson, LPPa Chair, observed, "Inherent and indefeasible rights are not subject to suspension. The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State needs to be upgraded. The utter disregard of the Pennsylvania constitution should concern all Pennsylvanians, gun owners and non gun owners alike."

Official state bureaucrats have taken the defensive position that this outage is nothing to be concerned about and that only a few gun dealers and state lawmakers have complained. The reality is that this is a precedent where individual freedom has been sacrificed for the mere administrative convenience of state bureaucrats. The primary function of government is to protect our rights - not to disregard them at a whim so bureaucrats can function easier.

LPPa spokesman, Mark Crowley, added, "Ignore for the moment, the outrageous premise of suspending a constitutional right to simplify a bureaucratic chore. Credit cards issued from hundreds of banks will perform millions of transactions each and every day. But Pennsylvania will not be able to process about 4,000 gun purchases over four days? And this same government wants a greater role in dictating our health care, educating our children and spending our taxes."

The debasement of any individual right because of an administrative chore is a dangerous power to give any government because government incompetence becomes a justification for expanding that power. The LPPa urges Pennsylvanians to contact their state representatives and to strongly object that an individual right has been downgraded below the status of a computer database upgrade.

The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in both Pennsylvania and the United States. Nationwide there are over 200,000 registered Libertarians with organizations in all 50 states. Libertarians serve in hundreds of elected offices throughout the nation. Please visit or for more information.

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania, 3915 Union Deposit Road #223, Harrisburg, PA 17109. Call 1-800-R-RIGHTS. Email:
For more information contact: Doug Leard (Media Relations) or Michael Robertson (Chair) at 1-800-R-RIGHTS /


Anonymous said...

Sunday's Tribune Review's whispers:

compiled by the Tribune-Review staff
Sunday, August 26, 2007

A liberal conspiracy to subvert the Second Amendment in Pennsylvania?

That was the allegation leveled last week after the revelation that the state police plan to halt gun sales across Pennsylvania for four days next month. The reason: to upgrade the computer system that performs background checks on prospective purchasers.

State Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati, a Jefferson County Republican, asserted the temporary ban was little more than an attempt at gun control.

"I am concerned that this is just another attempt by liberals from Philadelphia to limit the rights of gun owners and those who wish to become a gun owner," Scarnati said in a prepared statement.

story continues below

The state's most powerful liberal from Philadelphia, Gov. Ed Rendell, immediately shifted into damage control mode. He formed a committee to review whether a better date exists to shut down the computer system.

Jumping to Rendell's defense, Democrat House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese of Greene County had a typically verbose response to Scarnati's charge.

"I would be stupefied if there was a sinister cabal within the Rendell administration to engender mischief," he told The Philadelphia Inquirer. DeWeese added that he believed Scarnati was "just enjoying what he considers a delicious opportunity to foment the 'L' word."

Anonymous said...

Pennsylvania Instant Check System Shutdown
Posted by: "Mark Crowley" mdc795
Fri Aug 31, 2007 6:29 am (PST)
I received the following legislative alert from the
Allegheny County Sportsmen's League. It details their
efforts to stop the PA Instant Check System shutdown. As a
last ditch effort, they and some interested parties are
going to court over this matter today (8/31/2007 at 10 AM).



----- Original Message -----
Subject: Pennsylvania Instant Check System Shutdown

***Allegheny County Sportsmen's League*** August 31, 2007


Issue: Pennsylvania Instant Check System Shutdown

Pennsylvania Instant Check System Shutdown:
Minor Inconvenience Or Nightmare With Long-Term Consequences?

Beginning in early August Pennsylvania firearms dealers began receiving
letters notifying them that the Pennsylvania State police intended to
shut down the Pennsylvania instant check system for five days beginning
on September 2 at 6 p.m. and concluding at 2 p.m. on September 6. An
uproar swept across the state from angry citizens and firearms dealers
who felt that not only was this sudden notice unwarranted but also that
the governor and the Pennsylvania State police were not complying with
Pennsylvania law in the method with which they were conducting this

There are three components to this situation. The first of which is
Constitutional: in its basic form a right delayed is a right denied.
The second is one of basic criminal law: the Pennsylvania uniform
firearms act which is contained within the Pennsylvania crimes codes,
title 18, specifies the procedure with which firearms sales are to be
handled when and if the computerized system becomes unavailable. The
Pennsylvania State police are not complying with the law and are
informing dealers that there is no way to sell firearms legally unless
they go through the state run instant check system. This is completely
false and an abrogation of their responsibility to comply with the law!
The third component is one of economic terrorism in as much as they are
using their power over the sale of a lawful product to financially harm
small business owners throughout the state. Every gun owner should
know that why you have a right to bear arms you do not have a right to
buy under the current structure. Pennsylvania has lost over 9000 gun
dealers since 1994 and the trend is one of a downward spiral. In fact
in Philadelphia County there are only 19 gun dealers currently in

Despite the unwillingness of the media to address the issues listed
above we are continuing to pressure the legislature and the governor in
every way possible to reconsider this approach to the sale of firearms.

**Shutdown Validates Gun Owner Concerns That State Run System Could Be
Used To Suspend/End Constitutional Freedoms
Beginning in 1995 through the introduction of the instant check system
in 1998 Pennsylvania grassroots gun owners and their organizations
continued to stress the concerns that we all shared regarding the
potential arbitrariness of a state run firearms instant check system.
Considering the past history of political intrigue and manipulation and
the unwillingness of the Pennsylvania State police administration to
abide by the law as commonly written in the uniform firearms act, we
believe that if there was to be an instant check system it should be
one centralized system that was uniform in its approach to all.

It was clear to us that despite all the rhetoric coming from the
governor's office regarding their position on the Pennsylvania instant
check system shutdown, the governor had his own agenda. The ad hoc
committee that convened on August 27 represented, in our view, a way to
deflect criticism until there would be no opportunity to respond. This
committee was comprised of administration officials, representatives of
the Pennsylvania State police, legislators, and sportsmen and gun
dealer representatives. Alternative dates for the needed upgrades and
system maintenance were provided to administration officials and
initially appeared that all parties agreed to a compromise approach.
However, a recent [erroneous] quote by the Rendell Administration
stated "In the end, the governor and the committee decided the options,
which included no shutdown at all or shutting down in October or early
January, would either be too costly or conflict with other scheduled
computer system upgrades." The committee did no such thing! That was
the Governor's conclusion, not the committee's conclusion. Again a
deviation from the truth!

The Allegheny County sportsmen's league legislative committee Chairman
Kim Stolfer consulted with the Allegheny County sportsmen's league
counsel, Rob Keenan, and league president Mike Maranche with regard to possible legal options should citizen outrage and legislative pressure fail. A course of action was agreed upon and contact was made with
George Romanoff who is president of the Pennsylvania licensed firearms
dealers Association in regard to their willingness to join with the
Allegheny County sportsmen's league in attempting to seek an injunction
that would prohibit the Pennsylvania instant check shutdown until the
procedures complied with Pennsylvania law. A joint action was prepared
and ready for use as a last-ditch effort to achieve satisfaction from
the governor and the Pennsylvania State police through the judicial

Since the negotiations with the governor's office achieved nothing, as
expected, our request for an injunction was filed on Tuesday, August
28. The hearing has been granted and will be held on August 31 at 10
a.m. in Commonwealth court in Harrisburg. We have numerous experts
lined up to testify including the former head of the national instant
check system and some of the best computer experts from the Pittsburgh

Perhaps it is time for every gun owner to finally consider that, like
other states have done, it is time to terminate the Pennsylvania State
instant check system and merge these duties with a national system.
Our freedoms should not be held hostage!


Kim Stolfer
Legislative Committee, Chairman
Allegheny County Sportsmen's League, Inc.
Legislative Committee, Vice-Chairman
Pennsylvania Sportsmen's Association