Lower Makefield Backs Down on Weakening Preemption
Yesterday afternoon, we passed on an alert from a local gun club to gun owners in the area of Lower Makefield Township in Bucks County via Facebook. It turns out that a January meeting of the Board of Supervisors featured an anti-gun advocate who pressed the Board to engage in a bit of anti-Second Amendment lobbying on “behalf” of the citizens of the town.
While the anti-gun advocate initially demanded that the town leaders lobby federal lawmakers to support a ban on semi-automatic rifles, the Board was apparently cautious about entering the federal debate. However, they instead decided to pass a resolution calling on higher level lawmakers to end Pennsylvania’s preemption statute.
Pennsylvania’s preemption law says that only the state can pass laws that regulate the use and ownership of firearms. Allowing local governments to create their own regulations would mean that licensed concealed carry holders or recreational shooters who travel the state to compete would have to memorize different regulations in every single one of Pennsylvania’s 56 cities, 958 boroughs, and 1,547 townships. In other words, we effectively could never leave our own towns with our firearms if we did not want to risk breaking a gun law.
Gun owners rallied. They emailed their supervisors and told them that this resolution was simply not acceptable. Many gun owners turned out to the meeting to let the township leaders know how unhappy they were with the resolution.
Oddly enough, it was actually through a verbal challenge by a gun control supporter that one supervisor, after acknowledging that the resolution was one of only two votes he has ever come to regret, made a motion to actually rescind the previous month’s resolution and lobbying request. After some additional discussion, the motion to rescind the anti-preemption lobbying resolution passed unanimously.
We covered the meeting live on the @PAGunRights Twitter account. This was a great example of how gun owners shut down their own local resources being used against them to lobby against important Second Amendment protections with just a few emails and by showing up one evening. Granted, those gun owners in Lower Makefield Township now know that they will have to keep an eye on these local lawmakers to make sure they don’t oppose our rights again, but at least they were able to succeed at home in this fight.