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'Regulatory Czar': 2nd Amendment Based on 'Fears,' Not Constitution
October 23, 2007: "My tentative suggestion is that the individual right to have guns as it's being conceptualized now is best taken as a contemporary creation and a reflection of current fears, not a reading of civic-centered founding debates. Modern gun owners who are invoking the Second Amendment on the basis of a principle they favor are perfectionists," now-Regulatory czar Cass Sunstein lecture.
DEP Says Thermostat Law, Recycling Effort Will Protect Pennsylvanians
Fewer Pennsylvanians will face exposure to a potentially dangerous neurotoxin now that Pennsylvania’s new Mercury-Free Thermostat Law is in place, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.
“This law is another means of protecting the health and welfare of our most vulnerable citizens – our children,” said Tom Fidler, the DEP’s deputy secretary for waste, air and radiation management. “Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that poses the greatest risk of nerve and brain damage to pregnant women, women of childbearing age, and young children.”
At The Hardware Center in Paoli, Fidler unveiled a statewide recycling program that will allow citizens to safely dispose of out-of-service thermostats containing mercury.
“In Pennsylvania, we are working to protect our citizens from all sources of mercury. From enacting the Clean Air Mercury Rule for power plants to making thermostat recycling more convenient, we are going to take all reasonable measures to protect Pennsylvania’s children,” he said.
Mercury thermostats contain the largest amount of mercury found in ordinary household products. A single mercury thermostat contains between 3 and 5 grams of mercury.
According to estimates by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, each year about 6 to 8 tons of mercury from discarded thermostats ends up in solid waste facilities and between 1 and 2 tons are released into the air.
Mercury can pose a long-term danger as it accumulates in the environment and remains active for up to 10,000 years. Waterways throughout Pennsylvania have been placed under fish consumption advisories due to high mercury contamination levels.
“Protecting our citizens and environment from mercury can be accomplished in partnership with industry,” Fidler said. “Governor Rendell’s administration worked with thermostat manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and installers, and the legislature to craft a cost-effective program that shares the responsibility for protecting the environment.”
The Mercury-Free Thermostat Law:
Bans the sale, installation and disposal of mercury thermostats effective Dec. 8, 2009;
Mandates that thermostat manufacturers establish and maintain a collection and recycling program for out-of-service mercury thermostats;
Requires that wholesalers who sell thermostats must participate as a collection site for mercury thermostats, effective Dec. 8, 2009;
Requires thermostat retailers or contractors to participate as a collection point or provide notice to customers that recycling of mercury thermostats is required under Pennsylvania law and identify locations of nearby collection points, effective Dec. 8, 2009;
Directs manufacturers and the DEP to provide education and outreach on the proper management of mercury thermostats and other products containing mercury, including maintaining a list of approved collection sites.
“The Mercury-Free Thermostat Law gives every citizen and every contractor convenient access to outlets for recycling of out-of-service mercury thermostats,” Fidler said. “They can drop off thermostats at retail and wholesale collection points in their communities virtually every day of the week.
“Retailers, such as The Hardware Center in Paoli, will be key to this effort for homeowners who can now recycle their old thermostat when they go to purchase a mercury-free thermostat.”
Thermostat retailers are not required to meet their responsibilities under the law for another year, but a number of wholesalers statewide voluntarily already are providing collections to the public and to contractors through a program created by the Thermostat Recycling Corp. The nonprofit group was founded in the late 1990s by three major thermostat manufacturers and has been operating successfully in Pennsylvania since 2000. Wholesalers may meet their obligations under the new state law by joining the existing program.
To find a participating wholesaler in your community, call the Thermostat Recycling Corp., toll-free, at 1-800-238-8192.
The Mercury-Free Thermostat Law is the latest of Pennsylvania’s aggressive efforts to reduce mercury releases into the environment. The Clean Air Mercury Rule will result in an 80 percent cut in mercury emissions from all Pennsylvania coal-fired power plants by 2010, and a 90 percent reduction by 2015.
The state is involved in a Great Lakes regional strategy for reducing mercury from industrial and non-industrial sources and it also participates in the National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program to recover mercury switches used in automobile convenience lighting.
Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards require that 18 percent of electricity sold in the state will come from renewable and alternative sources by 2021, leading to a significant reduction in mercury emitted from traditional power plants.
Making Homes Energy Efficient
With the cost of heating homes expected to hit record levels this winter, the Department of Environmental Protection is urging residents to make their homes as energy efficient as possible before the heating season begins.
Cooling and heating a home uses more energy than any other system in a house. The typical American family spends close to $1,862 a year on their home’s utility bills and the U.S. Energy Information Agency predicts residential heating costs will rise more than 30 percent in 2009.
Unfortunately, a large portion of that energy is wasted. By using a few inexpensive energy-efficiency and conservation measures, residents can reduce their energy bills by 10 percent to 50 percent.
Keep your thermostat at a low but comfortable temperature throughout the winter and opt to wear a sweater or use an extra blanket if you are chilly. You can also set the temperature lower on your thermostat when you are away from home for extended periods.
Close any vents or openings that you may have used in the summer. You can also close all windows and storm windows at the start of the heating season, but keep shades, blinds and curtains open to let winter sun in during the day, especially on the east and south sides of your home to create extra heat. Close coverings at night to slow heat escaping back out of the home.
Check furnace air filters each month, and clean or replace them as needed. Dirty filters block airflow through your heating and cooling systems, increasing your energy bill and shortening the equipment’s life. You should also avoid blocking warm-air supply and return registers with furniture, carpets or drapes.
Seal up your fireplace if not in use: Keep existing glass fireplace doors closed or seal-up the fireplace tightly with insulated foam board to help stop heat from being lost up the chimney. Remember to remove any insulation and open dampers next time you operate the fireplace.
Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120°F and wrap it with an insulation blanket.
More tips for energy conservation are available at www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Energy, then click on “Pollution Prevention/Energy Efficiency.”
Information is also available at www.StayWarmPA.com, including conservation tips and resources for getting financial assistance with utility bills and home weatherization.
On Sept. 11, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission kicked off its annual “Prepare Now” campaign to increase consumer awareness on rising energy prices, explore ways to reduce energy usage, educate consumers about the availability of low-income programs, increase awareness for safe home heating, and discuss potential policies and strategies. Visit www.puc.state.pa.us, and click on “Prepare Now” or call the PUC at 1-800-692-7380.
Source: PA DEP
Consumers Cautioned About Heating Fuel Contracts;
Consumers Urged to Report Problems
Attorney General Tom Corbett is cautioning Pennsylvania consumers to carefully review their options concerning any long-term heating fuel contracts they may have authorized.
"With the unusual swings in heating oil prices that we have seen over the past year, a growing number of consumers are questioning their long-term fuel delivery contracts," Corbett said. "It is important for consumers to understand the options and limitations of various contracts, and to report problems involving deceptive or misleading practices to the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection."
Corbett said that consumers who are concerned about the price they are paying for heating fuel should carefully review the details of any delivery contract they have signed.
Some contracts call for the delivery of a certain number of gallons of fuel, for a fixed price, which was set when the contract was signed. Other contracts set a maximum price that consumers will be charged for each gallon of fuel, but allow prices to adjust downward if the current price is lower. A third type of contract does not limit the price for fuel, but simply extends winter fuel bills over a 12-month period, allowing consumers to budget a fixed payment every month.
Corbett said that if the current price for heating fuel is lower than the price in your contract, consumers should carefully review the terms of their agreement to see if the price can be adjusted downward. Consumers may also want to contact their heating oil supplier to see if their contract can be re-negotiated.
Consumers who are having difficulties with fuel companies honoring delivery contracts, disputes over delivery prices and concerns about misleading or deceptive price advertising, should contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-441-2555 or file an online consumer complaint at www.attorneygeneral.gov.
Source: PA DEP
Anti Gun Rights Bills Summary as of April 2007
All of these anti-gun bills are falsely sold as a public safety package, and in reality they do nothing to ensure the security or safety of the law-abiding citizens of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Sponsors of these bills claim they will fight crime or prevent criminal behavior; however they don’t focus on criminal behavior. Instead, they focus only on the guns as the reason for crime in their neighborhoods. As an analogy, this line of thought would effectively ignore the fault of motor vehicle operators in any motor vehicle accident, and just blame the car or the auto dealers.
Truthful lawmakers will acknowledge that the problem is not the availability of guns on the street; it’s the failure to remove criminals from the street. Noticeably absent in any of these proposed bills is an initiative to build more prisons for repeat criminals and to prohibit early releases due to prison overcrowding. Also, these bills miserably fail to address the ongoing problem of criminal lawyers plea bargaining away already existing state law gun violations. District attorneys, prosecutors and judges willingly allow and condone this. It makes their jobs easier. Yet they scream the mantra: “We need more gun laws”. Currently, there are enough existing gun laws to resolve the so-called “gun crime” issue. Yet many present laws are not enforced.
As a whole, this barrage of legislation would accomplish only one thing: the elimination of Pennsylvania citizens’ constitutionally protected rights to legally bear arms. Certain lawmakers wish to ban our right to keep & bear arms, and in doing so, set a landmark precedent for other states to follow. Passing more useless laws against law abiding citizens, as a politically correct solution, does nothing to address the real problem of criminals on our streets: criminals preying on those law abiding citizens and putting police officers’ lives at risk.
FYI 1st degree felony: up to 20 years in jail & maximum $25,000 fine.
2nd degree felony: up to 10 years in jail & maximum $25,000 fine.
3rd degree felony: up to 7 years in jail & maximum $15,000 fine.
1st degree misdemeanor: up to 5 years in jail & maximum $10,000 fine.
2nd degree misdemeanor: up to 2 years in jail & maximum $5,000 fine.
3rd degree misdemeanor: up to 1 year in jail & maximum $2,500 fine.
Under current PA law, anyone using a firearm in the commission of a crime has an additional 5-year mandatory sentence that can be imposed on them if the courts do their job.
HB 18 - Ammunition, limitations on regulation, municipal powers (Amend 18 and 53 Pa.C.S)
INTRODUCED BY D. EVANS, JAMES, MYERS, PARKER, BISHOP, COHEN, CRUZ, CURRY,
FRANKEL, GALLOWAY, JOSEPHS, KIRKLAND, LEACH, M. O'BRIEN, PASHINSKI & ROEBUCK
This is a very bad idea. It will allow a county, a city, a township or municipality the
authority to establish it’s own firearm laws without the requirement of being uniform throughout the state!
In effect your local municipality could regulate the following:
1) Sales of firearms, and additional waiting periods & background checks
2) Possession of firearms or ammunition
3) Gun club firing ranges and the discharging of firearms
5) Storage of firearms and ammunition
6) It could limit you from possessing, carrying, or “manner of carrying” firearms reasonably around zones surrounding schools, playgrounds, universities, colleges, bars or other places of general public accommodations.
7) It could limit your ownership, possession, transfer, and transportation of so-called assault weapons. See HB 30 for assault weapon definition.
An individual’s constitutional right could be taken away by one simple majority vote on a referendum question!
In short this will open the door for every form of gun control that any anti-gunner could ever think of. Even worse, it could be enacted anywhere in the state. This would be a costly legal nightmare for gun owners in PA, to comply with the possibility of hundreds of local laws, not to mention that the laws can differ depending on which locale you reside in or travel through.
HB 20 – Mandatory Gun Storage within easy access to minors prohibited; penalties (Amend 18 Pa.C.S)
INTRODUCED BY D. EVANS, GERBER, CALTAGIRONE, JAMES, MYERS, WHEATLEY,
WILLIAMS, BENNINGTON, BISHOP, COHEN, CRUZ, CURRY, FRANKEL,
GALLOWAY, JOSEPHS, KIRKLAND, LEACH, M. O'BRIEN, PASHINSKI & ROEBUCK
This will place the legal burden and penalties on all gun owners to prevent minors from gaining access to all unsecured firearms without parental permission. Firearms will be required to be stored either a locked box or with a trigger lock. The only exemption would be while carrying a firearm, or keeping a firearm within close proximity, (only within “arms reach”).
HB 21 – Display or use of firearm, further providing for bail, governed by general rules (Amend 42 Pa.C.S)
INTRODUCED BY JAMES, D. EVANS, GERBER, BUXTON, MYERS, PARKER, STURLA,
WILLIAMS, BISHOP, COHEN, CRUZ, CURRY, FRANKEL, GALLOWAY,
JOSEPHS, KIRKLAND, LEACH, M. O'BRIEN, PASHINSKI AND ROEBUCK
Any person charged with the offense of “use or display of a firearm” as defined in 18 PA C.S. (relating to definitions) bail shall not be less than $50,000.
This would, of course, apply to anyone merely showing a weapon to ward off a would-be mugger.
HB 22 – Handgun purchases and sales, limit; Violence Prevention Fund, establishing; municipal regulation of firearms and ammunition (Amend 18 Pa.C.S)
INTRODUCED BY MYERS, D. EVANS, GERBER, JAMES, WILLIAMS, BENNINGTON
BISHOP, COHEN, CRUZ, CURRY, FRANKEL, GALLOWAY, JOSEPHS,
KIRKLAND, LEACH, M. O'BRIEN, PASHINSKI AND ROEBUCK,
This will mandate that no one could buy more than one handgun per month. It will, of course, require a massive database of all gun owners’ personal information to make it operational. This has been tried in other states with no reduction in crime. Again, the taxpayers and gun owners would be burdened with paying for the upkeep of this database registration system. This bill also creates a new anti-gun bureaucracy called the Violence Prevention Fund (another expensive program for us taxpayer to pay). This bill would also affect municipal regulation of firearms and ammunition.
HB 23 – Handgun and ammunition, regulation; limitation on municipal powers (Amend 18 and 53 Pa.C.S)
INTRODUCED BY MYERS, D. EVANS, GERBER, JAMES, WILLIAMS, BISHOP, COHEN, CRUZ,
CURRY, FRANKEL, GALLOWAY, JOSEPHS, KIRKLAND, LEACH, M. O'BRIEN, PASHINSKI AND ROEBUCK
This is a very bad idea. It will remove the uniformity of law throughout the state, letting a first class city limit purchase to one hand gun a month. Again this will require an expensive database of all gun purchasers to make it viable system. An individual’s constitutional right would be taken away by one simple majority vote on a referendum question!
HB 24 - Tracing Guns, illegal possession by anyone under 21 years of age (Amend 18 Pa.C.S)
INTRODUCED BY MYERS, D. EVANS, GERBER, BENNINGTON, JAMES, STURLA, WHEATLEY,
WILLIAMS, BISHOP, COHEN, CRUZ, CURRY, FRANKEL, GALLOWAY, JOSEPHS,
KIRKLAND, LEACH, M. O'BRIEN, PASHINSKI AND ROEBUCK
This bill will require firearm tracing from anyone under 21 years of age who illegally possesses a firearm. It will require all local police to trace any firearm recovered using the existing Federal National Tracing Center maintained by the BATFE and report all information to the PA state police. It will also allow the PA state police to “legally” create and maintain a database of firearms. It’s the same illegal gun owner database that the state police have maintained for many decades by diverting money away from crime fighting.
HB 25 – Firearms and ammunition, regulation; limitation on municipal powers (Amend 18 and 53 Pa.C.S)
INTRODUCED BY MYERS, D. EVANS, GERBER, JAMES, WILLIAMS, BISHOP, COHEN, CRUZ,
CURRY,FRANKEL,GALLOWAY,JOSEPHS,KIRKLAND,LEACH,M. O'BRIEN,PASHINSKI & ROEBUCK
Another bad idea. Removing the uniformity of law throughout the state by letting a first class city make it unlawful to own, use, possess or transfer a so called assault weapon or any accessory or ammunition for an “assault weapon”. See HB 30 & SB 48 for definition of assault weapons (basically it would be a BAN on all ammunition).
Again, an individual’s constitutional right could be taken away by one simple majority vote on a referendum question.
HB 28 - Persons prohibited from possessing, using, manufacturing, controlling, selling or transferring; carrying firearms on public streets or property in Philadelphia, prohibited (Amend 18 Pa.C.S.)
INTRODUCED BY WILLIAMS, D. EVANS, W. KELLER, MYERS, STURLA,
BISHOP, COHEN, CRUZ, CURRY, FRANKEL, GALLOWAY, JOSEPHS,
KIRKLAND, LEACH, M. O'BRIEN, PASHINSKI AND ROEBUCK,
This will allow Philadelphia to make its own guns laws. Citizens traveling thru any part Philadelphia from anywhere in PA, while in possession of a firearm or ammunition, will become criminals without their knowledge or intent to commit a crime. This would be a third degree felony, but if you possess a concealed carry permit it’s considered only a first degree misdemeanor. Subsequently, you stand a good chance of having your carry permit revoked.
HB 29 – Registry for lost or stolen, failure to report, State Police duties (Amend 18 Pa.C.S.)
INTRODUCED BY WILLIAMS, D. EVANS, GERBER, CALTAGIRONE, JAMES, W. KELLER,
MYERS, WHEATLEY, BISHOP, COHEN, CRUZ, CURRY, FRANKEL, GALLOWAY,
JOSEPHS, KIRKLAND, LEACH, M. O'BRIEN, PASHINSKI AND ROEBUCK
Failure to report lost or stolen firearms to the appropriate local law enforcement official within 24 hours is a summary offense punishable by a fine up to $500. A person intentionally failing to report a loss or theft of a firearm commits a misdemeanor of the third degree. A court, in addition to any penalty prescribed by law, may prohibit you from acquiring a firearm for a period of six months.
Allows PA state police to” legally” create and maintain a database of stolen firearms. It prohibits any law enforcement agency to create, operate or maintain any registry of firearm ownership. However, nothing in this purposed bill forces the state police to destroy the illegal gun owner database that the state police have maintained for many decades. (A database created by diverting money away from crime fighting.)
HB 30 - Assault Weapon Ban, prohibition, registration, penalties (Amend 18 Pa.C.S.)
INTRODUCED BY FRANKEL, D. EVANS, BISHOP, WHEATLEY, YOUNGBLOOD, COHEN,
BENNINGTON, GERBER, JAMES, MYERS, STURLA, WILLIAMS, CRUZ, CURRY,
GALLOWAY, JOSEPHS, KIRKLAND, LEACH, M. O'BRIEN, PASHINSKI AND ROEBUCK
This is an extremely bad bill. It will make it illegal to posses a huge number of common firearms now owned and used by gun owners in PA. This bill makes the following unlawful:
1) To own, use, possess or sell an unregistered “assault weapon”.
2) Any accessory such as any detachable magazine over 10 rounds, barrel shroud, folding stock, thumbhole stock, telescoping stock, muzzle break or muzzle compensator. These parts described above are defined as “conversion kits”. Possession of conversion kits or components carries the penalty of first degree felony.
3) To keep your “assault weapon” unless you register it with the state police every year, pay a registration fee every year and undergo a complete background check every year. You will be required to safely and securely store “assault weapons” pursuant to regulations. You will be legally permitted to use the “assault weapon” only on your property or duly licensed firing range.
When transporting an “assault weapon,” you will only be allowed to travel directly to and from certain locations (without intermittent stops) and with special storage requirements.
Your registered “assault weapon” will have zero resale value, as you will be banned from selling, trading or transferring it. Someone will be allowed to inherit it provided they comply with all the above requirements within 30 days. The only way to dispose of your “assault weapon” will be to turn it over to the state police for destruction or permanent disabling so that it is incapable of discharging a projectile. Note: the state police will be allowed to perform a compliance inspection at your home once a year to ensure that you are not violating any provision of this law. If you are found in violation, the penalty is a third degree felony.
HR 35 – Study new technologies to identify firearms used in crime.
This will require investigating new technologies that are designed to equip firearms with a microscopic array of characters that identify the make, model and serial number of the firearm on the empty cartridge when fired.
A huge expensive database will have to be created to pay for this experiment that in the long will do nothing to reduce or probably not be able to solve even any crimes. Sounds really good except it should have been a study of how many times criminals break existing gun laws and cases are plea bargained away or how the gun law violations are adjudicated away.
HB 73 – Cruelty to animals, live pigeon shoots prohibited (Amend 18 Pa.C.S)
INTRODUCED BY SHIMKUS, CARROLL, BUXTON, CURRY, JOSEPHS, LEACH, ROEBUCK,
SIPTROTH, BENNINGTON, BISHOP, CASORIO, DePASQUALE, FRANKEL, WALKO,
MANDERINO, MELIO, MYERS, M. O'BRIEN, TANGRETTI, CRUZ, COSTA, VITALI,
FREEMAN, CIVERA, COHEN, STURLA, CALTAGIRONE, MAHER, PRESTON, KULA
YOUNGBLOOD, W. KELLER, PAYNE, ROSS, SAMUELSON, RUBLEY, SWANGER AND MUNDY
Once they ban pigeon shooting, how soon will it be until they ban game preserves, live bird dog training, and dove, pheasant, grouse, duck and all bird hunting, by using this as the basis for subsequent law?
HB 277 - Ballistics ID of Bullets & Mandatory Use of Trigger Locks.
Again, another terrible bill. Every handgun except antique models shall be equipped with a trigger lock. No handgun may be sold or transferred unless a digitized or electronic image of its fired bullet and shell casing is placed in a qualified database along with make, model, caliber, serial number and ballistics identifier.
Other states have tried to implement similar programs with no reduction in crime and no appreciable increase in crimes being solved with this added information. A huge waste of our taxpayer money! Anyone who sells or has the intent to sell or transfer a handgun without a ballistics identifier will be subjected to a civil penalty of $7,500 to $15,000 and a fine from $500 to $1,000 for each handgun. Since criminals typically don’t buy handguns from dealers, this merely creates another burden for the law-abiding citizen attempting to purchase or sell a firearm. Note: over time, with use and wear of the firearm, all this information will become useless, yet still it is sold to the public as a crime fighting bill.
Once again, this is another intrusive law that imposes a greater burden on the honest citizen and violates his constitutionally protected rights. And it is yet another proposed law that does nothing to prevent a criminal from illegally using a firearm.
HB 291 – Handgun Safety, Testing & Certification; providing for implementation of personalized handgun requirements and forfeiture of certain handguns.
INTRODUCED BY YOUNGBLOOD,CRUZ,THOMAS,CURRY,WATERS,BISHOP,PARKER & JOSEPHS
This bill authorizes a new “safety standard” that only “smart guns” (personalized to a specific user) can be fired only by the authorized user or users. Four years after the adoption of this safety standard bill, all your handguns other than antique or “smart
guns” may not be sold, offered for sale, traded, or transferred, or possessed by you, under the penalty of a felony of the third degree. Additionally, such handguns may not be sold, offered for sale, traded, transferred, shipped or leased or distributed by dealers after four years from adoption of this bill.
In the simplest of terms, if the bill becomes law, whether the practical technology to manufacture a “smart gun” exists or not, all other handguns will be illegal to posses, own, sell or transfer. There will be no compensation for the taking of your private property. However, as it will be a crime to own a “dumb” handgun, your property will be worthless. This is another bill that makes criminals out of law abiding gun owners with no focus on criminals that happen to use a firearm to commit crime.