CLEARFIELD – Supporters of the Second Amendment were urged to “get a seat at the table” to fight gun control legislation and not to be “on the menu” of “gun grabbers” during a rally Saturday at Grice Gun Shop.
Owner Tom Grice hosted the Second Amendment rally in a storeroom and thanked the crowd of supporters. Last April, Grice hosted a rally to educate the local citizenry of their state and federal opponents and since then he said Pennsylvania has won a lot of Second Amendment battles.
“Our neighboring states – New York, Maryland and Connecticut – have not been so fortunate,” he said. “We need to continue to be vigilant and let our voices be heard. We need to oppose any new gun restrictions and get our community involved in our battle.”
U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson thanked Grice for supporting the Second Amendment 24-hours-per-day and 365-days-per-year. Many in Washington, he said, will use the Fort Hood shooting to push for gun control legislation when in fact it’s the mental health system that’s failing this nation.
Thompson told supporters when one looks across the gallery in Congress, there’s the face of Moses. “Our rights came from God,” he said. “God gave the law to Moses.” In addition, Thompson said this country’s forefathers wanted the people to have the rights to preserve their liberties against enemies both domestic and abroad.
According to him, Second Amendment opponents claim the right to bear arms was only meant for a militia and not for everyday citizens. During Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, he said Co-author, George Mason was quoted as saying, “I ask, sir, what is a militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”
Thompson said he doesn’t know how anyone could stand in the hall of Congress and argue for gun control legislation. He said President Barack Obama and Washington liberals want to take guns away from law-abiding citizens, but he will not allow it to happen.
He pointed out Chicago has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the United States. He believes that it’s directly correlated with its extremely high crime rate. He said gun grabbers there have taken guns away from the law-abiding citizens who now can’t protect themselves from the criminals who have them.
State Rep. Tommy Sankey said when sworn into office, you must put your hand on the Bible and take an oath to uphold both the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions. Anyone, he said, who thinks they can take the Second Amendment into their own hands and change it is a liar who doesn’t uphold their oath.
“They didn’t fight and shed their blood for it,” he said. Sankey said Second Amendment supporters need to fight gun control legislation and let their voices be heard. He urged them to make it an issue and let it be known they’ll get revenge against their opponents at the polls on Election Day.
State Rep. Matt Gabler said Pennsylvanians have to preach Article I Section XXI of the state’s constitution, which fits hand-in-hand with the Second Amendment. He said it gives citizens the right to bear arms in defense of themselves and it shall not be questioned.
“Politicians don’t get to ask why you need the gun. You’re allowed to have it. That’s how it is. We don’t get to ask why you need seven, eight, nine or even 100 bullets in a clip. We don’t get to ask. That’s up to you,” he said.
Gabler said he has authored bills to fight back against the gun grabbers and to protect law-abiding citizens from them. One, he said, is the Firearms Freedom Act, which says if someone has a firearm within the borders of Pennsylvania, then it’s “none of the fed’s business.”
“While we’re not like our neighboring states, which have passed ridiculous gun restriction laws, it’s not good enough to say at least it’s not getting worse. We have to make it better,” said Gabler. “We can’t sit back. We have to fight back. We need to be persistent, we need to be louder and we need to win.”
During the question-and-answer session, one attendee asked how officials in other states, such as New York, get away with trampling on the Second Amendment. Thompson explained that unfortunately, these matters fall on the courts and judges legislate from the bench when determining what is constitutional.
States like New York, he said, have legislators who “turn the blind eye” to the intentions of the U.S. Constitution. In Pennsylvania, he said the citizens need to be active and maintain its line of defense, which in turn means being actively engaged in the electoral process.
Gabler added that it was important to hold grassroots gatherings locally. “We need to get the citizens to stand up,” he said. “There’s no better combat.” Thompson agreed, adding it’s not good enough to just be a believer, and the citizenry needs to exercise its voice.
When asked about the views of the populations in the cities, Thompson said Second Amendment supporters need to reach out to these people. “It’s hard to talk to people who aren’t like-minded,” he said. “They are citizens from a different world, and that will be the heart of our challenge. We’re going to have to reach outside of our comfort zone.”
Those representing the city populations, Gabler said, suffer from groupthink and have the urban mentality. He said when something happens they are just so used to relying on the police. Second Amendment supporters, Gabler said, must find an effective way to present the message that they’re championing to prevent victims.
Attorney Kim Kesner said in Pennsylvania, its system flounders with appellate judges being elected from the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas. Although the language of the state constitution is crystal clear, he said these judges inject their personal opinions and carve out exceptions that don’t exist in the language. Instead of having statewide elections for appellate judges, Kesner suggested having them based upon districts, as it would be helpful for Pennsylvania to have judges from Clinton, Centre and Clarion counties.
Thompson said Kesner made some very valid points, adding they could even take the current 18 congressional districts and put two together to elect its judiciary. Sankey said Kesner’s idea made complete sense, and he requested to speak with him further about it.
At the close of the rally, Grice posed a challenge to attendees. He asked them to bring family members, friends and neighbors to the next one. “This whole room should be packed and the whole next room. The whole parking lot should be packed,” he said. “It should look like the fair is in town, because we need to stand up and fight.”