At WCCC discussion, 200 speak against gun control
By Renatta Signorini
Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
George Wilson of Rostraver simply enjoys target shooting with his son.
He doesn't intend to hurt anyone with his “more than two” guns and thinks disarming law-abiding citizens “is, at best, foolish and folly.”
He and 200 others spoke out against gun control Wednesday and threw their support behind Westmoreland County Sheriff Jon Held who organized a town hall meeting at Westmoreland County Community College.
“It's not what's in your hand that makes you a killer, it's what's in your heart,” Wilson said outside of the forum.
Held coordinated the meeting after a barrage of questions directed to his department and sharp increases recently in the number of people seeking permits to carry concealed weapons. Increases were tied to a mass school shooting in Connecticut in December and President Obama outlining a plan to reduce gun violence in mid-January.
Held read from the Constitution and explained the sheriff's role. He briefly outlined proposed gun control legislation and explained that he promised to uphold the rights of citizens.
“That's my oath and that's what I put my hand on the Bible for,” he said to applause from the crowd.
Dozens of people asked questions and shared concerns during the meeting that lasted more than 90 minutes.
Some cited a need for a better licensing system and school protection while other participants suggested that training should be available for individual citizens to protect themselves and others.
Obama's plan would ban ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds, among other things. That's not acceptable to Bill Steiner of Donegal.
Steiner called the limit a “line in the sand between peace and revolution at my residence.”
Paul Upson of Latrobe said gun-related legislation wouldn't be any more effective than drug regulations.
“It has no credibility whatsoever,” Upson said.
Sheriff's department Solicitor Harry F. Smail Jr., who acted as moderator during much of the meeting, offered the audience a legal perspective.
“If we don't stand up now, this year, we're going to get rolled over,” Smail said.
Pushing back against gun legislation will have to start small and with passionate owners, said Anthony P. Sandrick of New Kensington. Sandrick is the judge advocate for the Allegheny Valley Detachment of the Marine Corps League based in Springdale.
“Stand up for your rights,” he said. “Stand up for what you believe in.”
Held seemed pleased with the response and his ability to hear concerns and answer questions. The amount of people in attendance directly reflected the number of phone calls his office has received, he said. Many callers wanted to talk to Held personally or ask his stance on gun control legislation.
“The great turnout shows me that people are concerned,” he said.
Allan Povanda of Salem Township took a strong stance.
“They're going to come, they're going to want the guns,” he said. “I'm not giving mine up.”
“I've never shot anyone, but I'm going to defend my property,” Povanda told Held. “I have your back, I hope you have mine.”
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or email@example.com.
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"t" either doesn't know or doesn't care to admit the American Revolution began because of an attempted confiscation of arms. The legal government (Britain) marched on Concord in an attempt to confiscate privately owned guns and gunpowder. Patriots stood in their way and The Shot Heard Round The World was fired. This act was fresh in the memories of those who drafted the Constitution. Distrustful of the nature of Man and knowing how power corrupts, the Anti-Federalists threatened to defeat the proposed document unless a Bill of Rights was included. The so-called Massachusetts Compromise averted the pending crisis. Crucial to that compromise was an amendment protecting the right of the people to keep and bear arms as an ultimate defense against an overreaching government. The historical record is clear on this. It had NOTHING to do with an inability to fund a standing army.
Submitted by: t on Thursday, February 7, 2013
Held is nothing but a reckless show-off. Quit citing the Second Amendment incorrectly. There was no fear of the fledgling government taking guns from its citizens. To the contrary, they couldn't afford to keep a standing army. The French had funded most of our Revolution and we weren't even sure how we would pay for government operations back then. So to ensure militias would be available and armed they wrote the Second Amendment. i challenge anyone out there to show me a single quote from a Founding Father to the contrary. .
Submitted by: Bill on Thursday, February 7, 2013
Thank you Sheriff Held and Solicitor Smail for standing firm in your convictions and the defense of the Constitution. Westmoreland County is fortunate indeed to have public servants like you.