Democracy

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Testimony Submitted for the Record on Behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary – “Proposals to Reduce Gun Violence Protecting Our Communities While Respecting the Second Amendment“ February 12, 2013 Excerpts from the testimony: … “The tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, as well as many… Read more →

Aside

HB 80, the “Preemption Provision,” was passed by Pennsylvania House and Senate in a special last minute session just before the legislative recess. It was signed by Governor Corbett last week. The provision grants special standing to outside special interest groups such as the NRA, to sue local municipalities for enacting gun safety measures. The provision grants the award of attorneys’ fees and court costs to the victor, but only if the victor is the outside interest group. The provision penalizes already strained local towns, and further lines the pockets of the already wealthy and powerful NRA. The long term effect will be a disincentive to municipalities to enact gun safety legislation. Here is a letter to a State Representative upon the passage of the provision in the House:

Dear Representative,

Two of my children attend the parochial elementary school in your district. Today they had a lockdown drill, to prepare for the event of an armed intruder. The seventh grade class discussed the best places to hide in order to avoid being shot. As I am sure you understand, this is the most disgraceful thing I have ever had to discuss with my children.

I am very disappointed to learn that you voted “yes” to the bill which gives special standing to the NRA to sue local towns. I cannot see any grounds on which this can be justified. I am aware of all the arguments – this should be a statewide consideration; municipalities should not infringe on issues relating the Crimes Code, and the like. This bill will give the NRA the special power to bully local towns and prevent them from enacting sensible gun laws, and we the taxpayers are to pay for it, period.

I speak only for myself in writing this, but I do wonder how the other parents at my children’s school would feel if they only knew the full consequences of this legislation. My guess is that many would agree with me. How you reconcile your willingness to even consider this bill with your Catholic faith is beyond me. I suppose we all do what we have to do in order to sleep at night.

With the deepest disappointment.