Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
In our view
Wielding arguments that flog a horse dead and stuffed since Appomattox, some Pennsylvania legislators recently asserted the state's right to nullify any new federal gun law.
Sponsors of the Right to Bear Arms Protection Act include locals Bryan Cutler, Gordon Denlinger and Dave Hickernell.
The bill would block any federal law that "attempts to register, restrict or ban the ownership or purchase of a firearm, magazine of a firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition."
It would bar any federal employee from attempting to register, ban or restrict the purchase or ownership of a gun legal in Pennsylvania.
And it would commit Pennsylvania taxpayers to paying the legal cost to defend anyone in the state who wants to run out and butt heads with the feds over guns. So much for the people who want to let you keep your own hard-earned money.
Here's hoping this is the kind of stunt politicians pull to get an obstreperous base to simmer down so the pols then can proceed to adult discussion of serious problems.
Among the proposed new federal gun regulations are a ban on certain firearms, limitations on magazine sizes and a requirement of criminal background checks on all gun sales, including private ones.
Critics of gun control measures make points when they say such moves only heap more restrictions on law-abiding citizens while existing laws go unenforced. They can point to a long list of horrific mass shootings that would not have been prevented by anything now proposed in Washington.
But nullification is no answer. Pennsylvania used it vigorously once upon a time to thwart the federal fugitive slave laws and defy Washington. The war that ended slavery also closed that path of resistance.
It's silly season on gun issues nowadays, sadly. When celebrities such as Sylvester Stallone start weighing in publicly, the public probably would like to plug its ears.
Granted, with Stallone, they forgot to click the "adjust sharpness" button before they printed him, but even a movie actor ought to think before shooting off his mouth and recall that he owes his celebrity largely to images of himself, M60 machine gun in hand, mowing people down on screen and that he just released a movie called "Bullet to the Head."
Yet Stallone, like millions of other Americans, also sees the crux of the problem: "The biggest problem," he said, "is not so much guns. It's that the people that have done these things in the past 30 years are crazy."
Yo, Harrisburg. Guns + crazy = problem. Now do some serious work, please.
Here's hoping this is the kind of stunt politicians pull to get an obstreperous base to simmer down.