Awesome activist Adam from PA-13 has once again put a candidate who wants to be your Governor on the record with Castle Doctrine. In today’s live chat, Adam posed questions about the issue to Senator Anthony Williams of Philadelphia:
[Comment From Adam Z]
Hello, Could you please state your stance on Gun Owners Rights? For example, there is a current piece of legislation in the PA House – HB 40. Here is a summary of the bill, as a reference point…”Short Title: An Act amending Titles 18 (Crimes and Offenses) and 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing, in general principles of justification, for definitions, for use of force in self-protection, for use of force for the protection of other persons and for licenses to carry firearms; providing for civil immunity for use of force; and further providing for sentences for offenses committed with firearms. ” In other words, this is a type of “Castle Doctrine” legislation where someone would be protected legally if they were defending themselves not only in their homes, but also out in public. This legislation would stipulate that the person defending themselves could not be the agitator or instigator of said event and also not engaged in any type of illegal activity. Also, it would protect individuals in civil court from being sued from families of criminals during the process of roberry or some sort of criminal acitivity. Could you please explain your stance on this piece of proposed legislation and your opinion on rights of Gun Owners in general?
Anthony Hardy Williams: I fully respect those who adhere to the Second Amendment. It is one of our many birthrights as Americans. However, I do not support House Bill 40. We have laws on the books that allow you to protect yourself in your home and outside your home currently. Police officers across the Commonwealth have openly opposed this type of legislation and said that it doesn’t make any individual or community safer. In fact, it erodes the quality of life in such communities.
Most of Pennsylvania is quite happy with the quality of life they enjoy compared to Philadelphia’s crime problems. As the source of most of the Commonwealth’s criminal activity, many gun owners would like the be secure in their right to defend themselves.
In addition, Williams was asked to comment on municipalities who violate state law by passing local gun control. NRA has sued the city of Pittsburgh for their violation of state law and the Supreme Court decision in Ortiz v. Commonwealth.
[Comment From scott]
In PGH, the NRA is suing the city for requiring people to report lost or stolen guns within 24 hours. They say it requires an inventory. The suit got tossed on technical grounds (no standing) and now the NRA is appealing.Where do you stand on this issue?
Anthony Hardy Williams: Scott, I am a candidate in this race that recognizes that Pennsylvania is the No. 1 state for homicides among young African-American men, as a consequence of guns. For those who are not concerned about that, they should be concerned about commerce being able to operate effectively in Pittsburgh or as a visitor to the city, visiting the arts community on a night out, or an athletic event, or being outsides, as matters of safety. So it would seem that the NRA’s position on this is contrary to the Pittsburgh and Allegheny County’s larger interests of an ability to have a flourishing, commerce and a safer community.
I created an illegal gun task force in Philadelphia County, which has removed thousands of weapons from the streets and arrested hundreds of people. Pittsburgh deserves one and needs one from the next governor. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and other communities affected by illegal gun trafficking should be supported by reasonable gun legislation such as New York State’s.
As we reported in the fall, 56% of Pennsylvanians oppose overturning this decision because it would mean a heap of differing gun laws in each township and boro across the Commonwealth. However, Sen. Williams has been on the record supporting such a change. It would mean Philadelphia could ban lawful concealed carry, Pittsburgh could ban the guns you use to hunt, and your local town could write transportation laws which would make traveling to the gun club unbearable.
However, considering Sen. Williams considers New York as a great model for gun control, gun owners should be concerned.
Finally, another commenter questioned the strategy of using gun control as an issue outside of Philadelphia:
[Comment From Bruce]
I have a question regarding your media strategy. You are running ads in the western part of the state talking about taking our guns. Do you think this is a good strategy and if so why?
Anthony Hardy Williams: Bruce, I don’t run any ads talking about taking guns away from anyone who LEGALLY owns a gun. But if you are an illegal gun owner, or distributor, you need to go run and hide.
Actually, Sen. Williams went on the record recently demanding that Philadelphia should have the right to revoke the Second Amendment on a discretionary basis for any resident of their city. He also calls for local communities to have the power to ban lawful carry and ownership within their borders. It really sounds like LEGAL gun owners might also want to run and hide from his campaign.