It seems a definitional change has taken place somewhere recently. Apparently scofflaw local governments are now the “little guys” and law-abiding citizens who just want their local governments to obey state laws are the “big bullies.” At least that’s the way Susan Winston sees things at HuffPo with her piece “David Vs. Goliath, or Do You Really Want Someone Totin’ a Gun in Your Park?” She’s talking about Pennsylvania’s over 40-year-old preemption law which, after being more and more blatantly ignored by cities and municipalities across the commonwealth was finally given teeth in this past legislative section . . .
Those teeth aren’t particularly sharp, mind you; no mayor or city council member is going to jail for ignoring state law. But what they are going to have to do is pay the “reasonable expenses” of plaintiffs when they lose.
Naturally Susan is appalled:
Unless you live there, you have probably never heard of Lower Merion Township in Pennsylvania. … Nice homes, friendly shopping, parks for families and especially children. … It’s a place where you feel safe. Or are you? Would you feel safe knowing that there are people walking around the parks your kids play in carrying a gun?
Safer or not safer with permit-holders around … Hmmm, let’s think about that. In Florida between 10/01/1987 and 02/28/2015 the state issued over 2.7 million concealed weapon licenses and revoked (without reinstatement) 8,690. This means that over those 27+ years an average of 317 permit holders lost their license each year. That is twelve thousandths of one percent.
Next let’s look at Texas; according to An Analysis of the Arrest Rate of Texas Concealed Carry Handgun License Holders as Compared to the Arrest Rate of the Entire Texas Population (as quoted by GunFacts, available here) permit-holders in Texas are 5.7 times less likely to be arrested (not convicted, just arrested) for violent offenses and 13.5 times less likely to be arrested for non-violent offenses than is the general public.
Yeah, not only do I feel safer, I actually am safer with “people walking around … carrying a gun.”
Next Susan throws in a little ad hominem snark:
Well the NRA thinks that is a good idea but then again, they harken back still to the days of gunslingers and cowboys and seem to not recognize the need for change.
It’s not that they hanker for the ‘good old days’ so much as the fact that the NRA pays attention to, you know, facts. Actual unadulterated, non-twisted-definition numbers. No calling 18- and 19-year-olds “kids” or “children”; no making up your own categories for “gun crime” so you can pad the number of permit-holders that fall into it; no counting permit-holder suicides as a “concealed carrier killing.” Just the facts, ma’am.
But this is not your usual call for the NRA to hang up their holsters. No, this is about the little guy, a commissioner of the township, who has the trigger finger to put the finger on these gun-totin’ lunatics.
Taking that last point first, “lunatics” i.e. those who have been adjudicated a danger to themselves or others, are already prohibited by Federal law from owning or even possessing firearms. Second, not to put too fine a point on it, but huh? What in the hell does “the trigger finger to put the finger on” someone even mean? Third, the commissioner of a township with a 2014 budget (all funds) of $173,195,959, protected by a police department with 155 full-time personnel is the little guy in this equation? Desperate much?
But let’s pass lightly over that incomprehensible gibberish to get to Susan’s real point:
A guy named Daniel Bernheim is standing up to the NRA and their threat of a lawsuit as he challenges a code, which would regulate gun activities in the parks.
I think what Susan meant is that Dan is standing up to the NRA as they challenge the city’s unlawful code regulating guns in parks. One tiny little problem, though; the NRA isn’t involved in the suit. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Firearm Owners Against Crime and two individuals; FOAC President Kim Stolfer and gun owner Joseph Abramson. And no, I am not playing semantic games; FOAC is not an NRA affiliate, they are a non-partisan, non-affiliated PAC.
But what sort of horrifically dangerous behavior does this vital local ordinance prevent?
The current code states, “No person, except members of the Police Department, shall carry or discharge firearms of any kind in a park without a special permit, unless exempted.” The NRA believes it is “exempted.”
Again it isn’t the NRA but we’ll just substitute reality for Susan’s bogeyman and point out that the plaintiffs do not believe that they are “exempted” they believe that the law violates 18 Pa.C.S. § 6120 and Article 1, Section 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, and according to the Prince Law Firm’s press release, Township Manager Ernie McNeely has admitted that it does, and the town’s solicitor advised them to repeal it.
The Firearms Consulting Group had an attorney send threatening letters warning of potential challenges to this ordinance stating it would make municipalities liable for all legal costs if a challenge is successful.” As a result, many potential lawsuits have been rescinded for fear of financial retaliation.
Susan seems to have a bit of trouble identifying the actual actors in this little drama; it is the Firearms Industry Consulting Group (a division of Prince Law Offices) which sent the letter. A letter which a reasonable person might view not as a threat but as a courtesy, informing the town council of that their local ordinances are in violation of § 6120 and giving them the opportunity to remedy the situation by repealing them.
As for FICG “mak[ing] municipalities liable for all legal costs if a challenge is successful” it is actually the Pennsylvania Legislature’s amendment of § 6120 which makes municipalities liable for those costs, a measure made necessary by the fact that there were and still are municipalities in the state that refuse to comply with § 6120 before those costs were attached to their non-compliance. Indeed, if I am decoding Susan’s prattle correctly her last sentence makes that very point.
Until they were threatened with having to pay a plaintiff’s court costs and reasonable expenses, municipalities were perfectly happy to ignore the fact that their local ordinances violated state law. I have heard that in some cases, townships would lose in court, repeal the law and then pass a virtually identical law in its place, serene in the knowledge that plaintiffs would eventually run out of money while the city’s pockets were much deeper.
Ultimately, though, Susan lets the cat out of the bag:
As Commissioner Bernheim said, “This is not about gun ownership, it is about the safety of our children.” Well Commissioner, I wish you had said it was about gun ownership also because I don’t want a bullet in my back because I hit a tennis ball out of the court and some NRA dude or dudette got angry and decided to exercise the 2nd amendment right.
And there we have it; Susan wants to keep guns out of parks because she is projecting her sociopathy onto others. Reasonable people do not want to commit murder because someone hits a tennis ball at them or takes “their” parking space, or plays a stereo too loud. And reasonable people don’t expect others to do so. People like Susan Winston, however, don’t appear to be very reasonable.
And finally Susan, the Second Amendment protects the natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil and Constitutional right to own and carry the weapon of your choice, not the right to murder someone because they irritate you. Just so we’re clear.
 As of 1/2011 they stopped breaking down revocations by type, so it is no longer possible to track how many were revoked for misuse of a firearm.
 William E. Sturdevant, PE, September 11, 1999
 Which were actually pretty awful in a lot of ways; call me effete but I like indoor plumbing.
 Oh, and nice compassion for people who are suffering from mental illness Susan. Tell me, do you trip blind people when you see them walking down the street too?
 Jeez, lady; take rhetoric lessons or get a proofreader, please!
 As stated in their mission statement, available here.
 See “Raging Against Self Defense” by Sarah Thompson, M.D. at Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
I think what she’s getting at is she want’s to ensure if she or the other privilaged upper class persons has a tantrum nobody (unwashed masses) will have a gun in their pocket and might be off their meds that day as well. You’ve seen these idiots. They FEAR us….. not the criminals.
No, they don’t fear us, they fear what we represent. They project their own self-hatred, their lack of self-worth due to a feeling of incompetency. A feeling that is based in being powerless, helpless and defenseless. What they see in us is none of that, and it terrifies them. And it ANGERS them, and in that raging self-hatred, they want to kill. And if they had a gun, in this maelstrom, this miasma of impotent rage, they feel like they could kill at the slightest insult.
This is why they spew their vitriol, it is fueled by this self-hatred.
This is why most of the mass shooters in this country have been leftists.
I have to disagree somewhat to your initial premise. I believe they do fear us; individually and collectively. That is in addition to what we represent. Everything else is spot on – especially the resultant anger.
Regarding that anger, that personal fear also contributes to it. In addition, their anger is also fueled by the fact that it is the second amendment that is the single greatest threat to their ideology. It is Progressive ideology that drove 10’s of millions people to buy 10’s of millions of guns in the last 6 years, alone. It is Progressive ideology that has helped create the largest armed body of people the world has ever seen (yes, we had a lot of gun owners before Obama, but he’s added 10’s of millions to those numbers). It is Progressive ideology that has put hundreds of thousands of trained soldiers and officers into those civilian ranks.
Let’s be honest, people weren’t buying AR platform rifles for hunting or conceal carry. Progressives heard that unspoken message loud and clear. They fear what we represent and what we are and they hate us for it. They know where those guns will be pointed if they are ever pointed together in anger. Their hate almost betrayed them. They moved too fast and too aggressively and poked the sleeping bear. Most of what they are doing now falls more than anything into trying to manage the backlash without losing ground.
More precisely, they fear lessor classes having freedom. They fear individualism, independent thought, and our ideas of limited government. They fear that we will not quietly accept tyranny.
Just your run-of-the-mill statist idiot writing a “think of the children!” scare piece. I don’t think they’ll go away anytime soon, but I do think the only people that believe this crap anymore are the same vein of irrational “lunatics” as Susan.
I notice that nowhere does she cite ANY statistics on the frequency anywhere, not only Pennsylvania, of legal concealed carry holders, or even open carriers, for that matter, randomly or with little provocation shooting at children or their parents in a public park.
Susan’s just much happier knowing that only violent criminals are carrying weapons in the park…
I suspect that the dog $hit, human feces, and needles that have been used more than once, are a far greater hazard to your children than a couple of serious mom packin’ heat to protect her kids are.
Hey, see that guy over there?
He might have AIDS.
That’s sooo dangerous. He could bleed on a CHILD. We have to do Something! We need more laws to keep AIDS carriers away from our schools. The risks are just too great.
One “AIDS-FREE ZONE” sign comin’ up!
Please introduce her to Mike Weisser, ’cause they both need a little companionship. If you get my drift.
“Would you feel safe knowing that there are people walking around the parks your kids play in carrying a gun?”
Yes. Very much so.
Unless they were cops, you mean.
Nice piece, Bruce. One thing to add: Another tactic favored by lawless townships and cities was to push prosecution as far as they knew they had favorable (lawless) judges, then drop the charges right before it was clear a judge was about to rule that the law under which the victim was being prosecuted was itself illegal. Then, the victim would be stuck with all costs up until then, often with a couple of nights in jail thrown in. That and the victim’s reputation damage from having been arrested and prosecuted for a weapons charge. Thus, the vic would suffer considerable harm, but the judge would not have ruled on the legality of the ordinance.
Im not sceeeead by guns in the parks. Should I be?? I feel much safer with my gun when in a park.
I know its for the childrens……………again for the childrens.
Im so sick of “for the children”. Its almost as bad as “reasonable” and “common sense”..gun laws.
These folks need some new lines for heavens sake.
“Reasonable, common sense gun laws for the children!”
There, Jay, Fixed it for ya.
Jay. JAY? Are you ok, Jay?
Im just fine now thanks for the reassurances Dick.
Now I can sleep at night knowing Im safe at the park next to my house. And so are the childrens. Who shouldn’t even be in the park at night. Its just common sense after all and reasonable too.
I’m really starting to like the word “Libtard”.
The ‘ole ‘shoe that fits’ analogy certainly applies…
Unfortunately, it insults and taints the intellectual disability crowd with the stigma of association with Liberals. Libturd is better, but alas, redundant.
I like “progtard”…I never use liberal for left-wing…
As for me, I prefer to refer to them by their formal name: Members of the alien species “Liberal-us Progress-EVIL-us” and their highbred sub-species and followers, The “Sheeple-People”.
Gun control: Because hoplophobic psychopaths like Susan Winston actually believe that they are morally superior to the woman who punched a hole in her would-be rapists’ brain pain with her sidearm if they simply “gave them what they wanted”, especially if they were killed in the process.
Gun control advocates are objectively pro-rape, ipso-facto.
More like because hoplophobic psychopaths like Ms. Winston have so little self-control that they would shoot someone over an errant tennis ball, and they think everyone else is just as pathological as they are.
I see that HuffPo no longer lets a person comment without embracing FlakeBook, so I’ll put my comment to Susan here:
– – – – – – –
I once had a gun in a park. Darned good thing, too — it allowed me to stop a pervert from molesting a youth group I was shepherding.
So, from my POV, Susan, you’re on the side of the perverts.
Given that the law was passed by the PA legislature only last year, it seems fair to say that it represents the legislative consensus in the Pennsylvania of today, and not just of 40 years ago. One of those things.
Preemption of local firearm regulation has been the law for decades in PA. The only thing that changed recently was broadening those who had standing to sue over violations of the statute and the addition of the recovery-of-costs provision.
A law that’s been on the books for 40 years is not guaranteed to pass again if voted on at the present time. E.g., try passing a preemption law in California today – it’s there only because it’s been on the books for quite a while. The fact that the strengthened preemption became law in PA only last year, and did so by comfortable margins in both houses (if I remember it right), shows that preemption very much remains the legislative consensus in PA even today.
So, this was less a fisking, and more of a complete, line-by-line editorial rewrite necessitated by a complete failure of the original author to grasp any of the expository facts.
The menopausal set is projecting again. They know they would draw down with the slightest provocation, so they fathom the rest of us must be a surge of dwindling hormones as well. A good percentage of the people I know carry in city/county/state parks here in Florida. Not one of them has had a spazz attack and decided to punch someone’s ticket.
Susan Winston, you should probably stick to commenting on issues you are qualified to comment on. Firearms policy and existing in the real world are clearly not your strong points. Wave the bloody t-shirt some more and kowtow to your Mistress Arianna.
Why the nerve of government being forced to give in to the will of the people. The next thing they will demand is that we hold elections.
TV producer, writer, psychotherapist. And that qualifies her as what??? Guess she associates with crazy people most of the time with that background. Must rub off. I am sure you noticed that with the exception of one un-indicted co-conspirator, all the comments to her HuffPo article were strongly negative.
Funny thing, only kid I’ve heard about being shot in the park was shot by a cop.
I just have to laugh. I live in this township, Lower Merion. I’m mystified that a minor and polite demonstration in a small park here should attract the attention of a left-wing social worker (oops, psychotherapist…) and writer living in LA. She understands neither the township, our state laws, nor the politics of our township commission. LA has had murders this month. We haven’t had a murder in years. Winston should write about something she knows. Otherwise her time is better spent doing her normal job, counselling those people put out of work by jobs that high California taxes have driven away.
We have a very large and well-trained police force in Lower Merion not because our residents are violent scofflaws, but rather because as a rich township on the border of Philadelphia, we are all too frequently the target of out-of-the-township burglars, mostly trying to steal things they can sell in order to buy drugs, or so our magistrates believe. Our crime rate is low, but we would like it to be even lower.
I’m encouraged when I realize that some of our law-abiding residents take the trouble to discretely carry a pistol, whether when walking in the parks or going about their business. I doubt, though, that this news cheers the burglary-and-muggings crowd.
All criminals are for gun control.
It makes their work safer. I understand OSHA is working on an “anti-workplace gun violence” regulation that will assure the safety of criminals “on the job”!
The U.S. Labor Department, at the direction of the President is drafting similar workplace “rules”.
It really does often times seem that the “gun control” crowd is just trying to restore value to the now-deprecated goon with a blackjack, the mob enforcer, and the street crews that used to reliably feed the under-bosses or assure election success to the ward leader. The old ways to control, terrorize, the ordinary folks, men and women, really have been undermined by the ability to tell the criminals of all these sorts to take a hike…thanks to Colonel Colt. The political left hates that reality.
When we see all the media attention focused on the guns of the middle class and the very sad but very rare attacks on suburban school kids….and see the ghettos practically ignored…it’s a clue that it isn’t about ending criminal violence, violence by whatever means. No. They’ve already got the ghetto votes locked up, got those voters believing in ever more government…at someone else’s expense. No, it often does seem to be about regaining the ability to instill fear in the middle class, the fear that made them accept years ago that only ever more government could keep them safe from…. the very underclass that the government sponsors, feeds, shelters, and encourages and which, if in short supply, can simply and quickly be augmented by the encouragement of illegal migration.
We are safe. We can help our neighbors stay safe, too. It doesn’t require SWAT and 24/7 surveillance to achieve that. That safety could be true of every neighborhood, even those that are financially poor. Cooper had it right: “If you take away all the guns, you will still have a crime problem. If you lock up the criminals, you cannot have a gun problem.”
As a nation we are 18-trillion dollars in debt. We need to seek efficiencies wherever achievable. Making violent crime an extremely risky business at the neighborhood self-help level is one of those efficiencies. We cannot export the jobs and simply print dollars and hire ever more police and social workers to keep the peace temporarily….and expect it to work. That is simply a recipe for impoverishing the nation quietly, the recipe that handed us the 18-trillion in debt.
What does any of this have to do with a demonstration in Lower Merion and the scribblings of Mz. Winston? Guns. The left in the township, mainly academics and urban transplants, worships a delusion, that they are safe because they need nothing but a good PD to control crime. No. They are safe because guns, quietly in the hands of citizens, not merely police, and state troopers, kept and do keep the uneducated and uncooperative hordes of thieving criminals from preying upon the township. Ask the criminals…. And yes, we have excellent police. And schools. And libraries. And parks. And people.
Excellent essay, Ropingdown, Excellent!
If Maryland anti , Marcus Brown becomes confirmed as head of Pa. State Police , he will be in lock step with this ” feel good ” view. Several Senators have called for his ouster.
we need to have more discussions about projection. Cause this always seems to be the reasoning. They aren’t all conspiring against us, some of them really believe that a person will have a ballistic melt down. They scream at the cashier at Gamestop who wont sell their 10 year old GTA, then blame the game for their kids’ attitude. They make a scene at McD’s when their 10 pc. McNuggie only has 9, and then have co-workers fired, and passer-bys escorted away for mentioning they have a weight problem.
One day a CCW’er will kill someone in anger. Our numbers are on the rise, and every group has bad apples. We have to be ready for that days shitstorm of bad press, and we have to make these people believe the simple truth. The truth we’ve been saying for decades. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. And removing the guns from the situation doesn’t remove the kill.
As long as we are all being painfully honest, it’s not like someone with a CCW permit hasn’t already done something stupid with their firearm. There’s a whole series on TTAG of that very thing. It’s no secret that lives have been taken that should not have been by people otherwise carrying legally.
What we have going for us though is the fact that such an event is an anomaly, and not the norm.
Yessiree, we’re all living rent-free in this woman’s head….or somebody she thinks is us, anyway. Isn’t it telling how people like Susan can so adeptly turn humans into politically convenient straw-men to be easily knocked over? So many in this crowd claim to be humanists, but they don’t ever seem to show it, quite the opposite. What sort of live can live with such unreasoned anger, fear, and contempt for others? Geez, grow up, get a life.
I always carry when I’m at the park or play ground with my kids, and I’ve made other dads carrying as well. Damn strait I feel safer knowing others with guns are around me, junkies and the insane don’t stand a chance.
I carry on my hip when I do conservation work, and that’s in a park (okay, it’s a natural area, several miles long and between an eighth of a mile to a mile wide, but it’s legally a park). And the only comments I’ve ever gotten from parents with small kids is approval that someone is ready to stop dangerous wildlife from attacking dogs or kids. I have to assume they feel safer knowing someone responsible is keeping a lookout.
Oh — and after my explaining why, one dad and another mom asked if they were allowed to follow my example (which they are, just no high-powered rifles, and that’s because there are residential areas within striking distance of stray bullets).
Yeah, not a valid statistical sample — but it tells me that Susan here is out of touch, because some parents not only feel safer but want to carry as well.
In a park.
Isn’t it ironic that she uses the “David vs. Goliath” meme to describe the effort to restrict the right of smaller people to employ projectile weapons in their defense against much larger people? (1 Samuel 17:49-50)
Susan is a typical snob. She lives a refined lifestyle. The finer things of life, wine turtlenecks and expensive sweaters are the order. I’m certain she has a shoe for every dress, or pair of pants. She can’t comprehend nor has the depth of thought or greater wisdom to recognize a gun-totin’ person in the park, a legal person, is not the person you best worry about. Honestly I sort of feel sorry for Susan, but not much, because she is all the things I despise in an American female. Self-important, arrogant, and the wisdom of a clam.
“the trigger finger to put the finger on”
I love those resist-we-much moments.
For those that don’t know it’s a quote from Al Sharpton. A local radio show lives to pull this clip out which is good I know of it.
“But resist, we much… we must… and we will much… about… that… be committed.”
I think it’s worth putting this woman’s ramblings into context. First, the “article” is shorter than a lot of comments you’ll find on this site. It’s one small step above a facebook update. Second, go to HuffPo’s front page and see if you can find it from there without using the search tool and very specific search terms. Can’t be done. Chalk this article up in the same column as the garbage you’ll find in the CSGV facebook comments, it carries just as little weight and involves just as little thought.
I know this is HuffPost, but I can’t believe they actually published this. This is a complete disaster.
Now this was a BK smack down worthy of the legacy.