County tough on gun control
BY STACI WILSON
With gun rights coming under fire across the border in New York State, the Susquehanna County Commissioners spoke out by resolution Wednesday in favor of the Second Amendment.
Republican Commissioner Michael Giangrieco said the issues in New York prompted him to address the matter on a county level.
He proposed a resolution stating that “any federal act, bill, law, rule or executive order that in any way infringes on our Second Amendment rights by attempting to reduce the private ownership of any firearm, magazine or ammunition shall be unenforceable in Susquehanna County.”
Those types of restrictions would be in violation of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania constitution, according to the resolution.
Commissioner Chair Alan Hall, also a Republican, seconded the motion; with Mr. Giangrieco, Mr. Hall and Democratic Commissioner MaryAnn Warren affirming their support of the resolution.
Mr. Giangrieco acknowledged the resolution by the county was largely ceremonial but said that he thought it was an important statement to make in response to the gun laws passed in January in New York State and current proposals in Pennsylvania.
Mr. Giangrieco did not elaborate on any of the proposed legislation in Pennsylvania.
“The Constitution is in place to protect us from the government. They’ve got it backwards,” Mr. Giangrieco said,
Attempts to reach Mr. Giangrieco Wednesday afternoon were unsuccessful.
One audience member voiced his support. “First they come for the guns,” he warned. “There’s an importance of what you’re saying about gun rights.”
Edna Paskoff of Montrose, agreed. “These things are important,” she said, adding that the importance was not just to Susquehanna County but also for the “rest of the country.”
Paskoff also said that a rally, in support of the Second Amendment, is being planned to coincide with the anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, on April 19, at noon, on the Village Green in Montrose.
In the county, the number of conceal-carry permit applicants rose sharply amid the gun-control talk that followed the mass shooting of school children in Newtown, Conn., and the government’s reaction to the tragedy.
In the first three weeks of January, about 175 gun permit applications had been filed in the county.
Sheriff Lance Benedict, who is in his 12th year as the county sheriff, said the number of gun permits sought in Susquehanna County ranged from 700 to 800 annually until 2010.
In 2012, 1,598 gun permits were issued in Susquehanna County, averaging about 133 each month; and the first three weeks of 2013 outpaced the 2012 numbers.