Pennsylvania, land of giants

That this is the reaction here in Pennsyltucky does not surprise me:

Pennsylvania gun owners threatened to boycott the state’s largest hunting and fishing expo Tuesday after organizers announced that they would ban the display and sale of assault rifles at this year’s show.

Reed Exhibitions, a British-based company that runs the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show in Harrisburg each February, notified vendors of the change in policy over the last several days, a company representative confirmed to The Inquirer.

The presence of so-called assault weapons and high-capacity magazines might have served as “a distraction” from other aspects of the event in the wake of the recent school shootings in Newtown, Conn., and the ensuing national debate about gun policy, said Ed Several, a senior vice president for the company’s North American operations.

“Given the current climate with those products right now, we thought, ‘Let’s take a break for a year,’ ” Several said. “There’s so much more to the show.”

The decision came two months after the company announced that this year’s expo would feature several tactical-firearms vendors for the first time.

By late Tuesday, a news release on the show’s website was replaced with a statement explaining the organizer’s change of heart.

As news leaked out earlier in the day, it angered gun-rights advocates.

“I’m outraged that the show would just roll over when it comes to the Second Amendment,” read a comment on the show’s Facebook page. “We will probably be seeking a refund.”

Another comment: “Sellouts! Say goodbye to my family and money.”

Many called for a boycott.

Mind you, this was a marketing decision. As in, “Geeze, people look at this assault weapons and see 20 dead little kids, maybe it would be smart to skip the controversy until the heat dies down.” But the fevered dreams of Fox News Nation see government takeovers wherever they go (thanks to the many subscription newsletters they get through Newsmax). Oy.

Sandy aid amendment passes, but…

You know nothing happens in the Republican-controlled House out of altruism (unless it’s giving a targeted tax break to a big donor), so while it’s good that the Hurricane Sandy aid was approved, it’s very depressing that Republicans have to chip away at plans to prevent similiar damage from happening again:

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s (R-NJ) amendment to complete the Hurricane Sandy recovery and resiliency package just passed the House by a 228-192 vote. It adds $33.7 billion to the underlying $17 billion aid bill sponsored by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY). The final package passed by a vote of 241-180. Only 49 Republicans, mostly from the Northeast, voted for final passage. These measures, along with prior flood insurance funding, would provide close to $60.4 billion in aid.

This critical victory comes attached with some unfortunate strings, including Republican-backed legislation that will cut hundreds of millions of dollars in coastal rebuilding. In addition, a measure was passed to prohibit the Agriculture and Interior departments from acquiring federal land using supplemental Sandy funding, inhibiting coastal restoration efforts. Luckily, other destructive amendments failed including an attempt to cut $13 million in funding for National Weather Service and an attempt to offset $17 billion of Sandy aid with discretionary spending cuts.

NY passes major gun control law

There’s such a split in how urban and rural dwellers experience guns. It’s probably hard for rural gun supporters to understand just how common it is for city residents to be hit by stray gunfire — often, when they’re home sleeping in their own beds. They can’t relate to the sense of violation and outrage, because they rarely experience anything like it. But both factions in the New York state house managed to come together long enough to put aside those differences and pass a comprehensive gun bill yesterday. Congratulations! We don’t see much real bipartisan cooperation these days:

New York lawmakers on Tuesday approved the toughest gun control law in the nation, expanding the state’s existing assault weapons ban and addressing gun ownership by those with mental illnesses in the first major legislative action in response to the Newtown, Conn., school massacre.

The measure passed the state Assembly 104-43 after passing the state Senate 43-18 Monday. Gov. Andrew Cuomo quickly signed the legislation on Tuesday.

“This unfortunately required tragedies and loss of life to actually spur the political process to action,” Cuomo said in remarks minutes before signing the bill.

“This will be the toughest gun control package in the nation,” Sen. Jeffrey Klein, leader of the Independent Democratic Conference that shares majority control with Republican senators, had told The Associated Press. “All in all, it is a comprehensive, balanced approach that will save lives.”

In a statement Tuesday, the National Rifle Association said it was “outraged” and called New York’s gun control bill “draconian.”

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