The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

State News

April 23, 2013

Gun rights supporters congregate

HARRISBURG — David Knight helped organize three busloads of people who got up in the middle of the night to make the long journey from Beaver County to Harrisburg in time for a 10 a.m. Second Amendment rally.

While speakers railed and flags and picket signs waved in the air, Knight sat on a concrete ledge at the base of the steps leading up to the Capitol and fumed.

“Pat Toomey is done,” he said. “I’d lay money on it.”

Knight helped organize the busloads of gun rights advocates through the Beaver County Sportsman’s Conservation League, a coalition of 14 clubs.

They were among the hundreds of protesters gathered at the event led by Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler. Metcalfe’s House Bill 357 would bar the state of Pennsylvania or its employees from complying with any federal laws that would further restrict gun rights.

The bill has 74 co-sponsors in a state House that needs 102 votes to pass a bill. Co-sponsors include: Reps. Michele Brooks, R-Crawford, C. Adam Harris, R-Juniata, Fred Keller, R-Snyder, Greg Lucas, R-Crawford, Kurt Masser, R-Northumberland, Bradley Roae, R-Crawford, Lynda Schlegel-Culver, R-Northumberland, and Dick Stevenson, R-Mercer.

Metcalfe’s bill took on greater urgency to gun rights advocates as debate in the Senate, led by Toomey, focused on a compromise that included universal background checks on gun purchases. Toomey’s compromise was rejected, but the fact that gun control has become a matter of national debate is alarming, protesters and speakers said.

Knight was not the only one to suggest that Toomey will face lasting political blowback for stepping forward as a voice of compromise on gun control.

“I don’t like him,” said Charles Stockunas, of Darlington, Beaver County.

Sen. Elder Vogel, R-Lawrence, said that it makes no sense to pass national laws on gun control because the interests and cultures differ across the country.

Laws that may be appropriate in New York or California will not work in Pennsylvania, he said.

Knight said that the discussion about background checks is overblown because almost all gun sales in Pennsylvania go through a licensed dealer. Background checks take place in sales conducted by licensed dealers. Only private sales of long guns can be completed without a background check in Pennsylvania.

Stockunas said he is an avid trapshooter and he is worried that the Obama administration will push to limit gun access. Stockunas pointed to the Boston Marathon bombings. Neither of the alleged terrorists had gone through background checks to obtain their firearms. And the bombs were made out of pressure cookers.

“I didn’t even know you could do that (with pressure cookers),” he said.

“Once you get to Harrisburg or Washington, you have to play by their rules,” Pat Cody, of Beaver County, said as he listened to speakers at the rally.

Not everyone at the rally was convinced that Toomey had betrayed his constituents.

Stan Zellers of the Susquehanna Valley Conservatives in Lewisburg said Toomey “was taking a middle of the road path to demonstrate reasonableness. I can’t fault him for that.”

Zellers said that he is more concerned about what the government does with information obtained through background checks. He was reassured that Toomey’s proposal explicitly barred the government from compiling background check information into any kind of database.

 

To read stories in their entirety, visit one of these links:

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State News
  • 2 arraigned, denied bail in deadly Philly carjacking

    Two men accused of carjacking a woman in north Philadelphia and plowing into a family selling fruit on a street corner, killing three children, have been ordered held without bail.

    July 29, 2014

  • PennDOT pushes ‘Yellow Dot’ vehicle stickers

    It’s the car sticker that could save your life.
    PennDOT’s “Yellow Dot” program has been around for several years, said Daniel Zakraysek, coordinator of the Cambria Allegheny Regional Highway Safety Network.

    July 28, 2014

  • Remembering elephant’s rampage

    The circus elephant paced the landing outside the Jaffa Mosque in Altoona.
    Police formed an uneasy line around the perimeter of the venue’s lawn, rifles at the ready.
    It was a cloudy, cold day in April 1993, and Tyke the elephant had just run around the circus ring, slapped a baboon and burst through a building’s front door, tearing off part of the wall above the door.

    July 28, 2014

  • State briefs 7/29/2014

    July 28, 2014

  • TSA finds gun, ammo in Pittsburgh airport carry-on

    The Transportation Security Administration says it found a pistol and ammunition in man’s carry-on bag as he passed through security at Pittsburgh International Airport.

    July 28, 2014

  • Youth pastor fired, jailed after teen-sex charges

    A youth pastor has been fired by a western Pennsylvania church and jailed on charges he performed sex acts with a 15-year-old girl in their church building.

    July 28, 2014

  • Luksik, Peg Independent hopefuls may widen gubernatorial field

    Just when Pennsylvania voters were getting used to the idea of a gubernatorial election showdown between Republican incumbent Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf, other hopefuls may soon be joining the fray. Johnstown resident Peg Luksik, who twice ran for governor as the Constitutional Party nominee, knows what it's like.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scaife remembered for strong convictions

    At a weekend memorial service, publisher Richard Mellon Scaife was remembered by the archbishop of Washington as someone who had the courage to stand “for things that mattered.”

    July 27, 2014

  • DePasquale Auditor: More Marcellus Shale well inspectors needed

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the past century.
    But boom times in the Marcellus Shale are bringing online thousands more wells that use a complicated process requiring more careful oversight.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Strained relationship between Corbett, Legislature not new

    Poking and prodding the Legislature to act on pension reform, Gov. Tom Corbett urged lawmakers to shorten their summer break and come back to the Capitol early.
    It’s a modest victory. The House will return to session Aug. 4, instead of the middle of September. And there’s little hint that lawmakers intend to knock themselves out trying to satisfy the governor.

    July 26, 2014

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads