Responses to questions submitted by the National Association for Gun Rights
by Paul Glover, 2014 Green Party candidate for Pennsylvania governor
Question #1: You ask whether I would favor the right of law-abiding citizens to carry firearms concealed for self-defense. I would neither promote nor veto Constitutional Carry.
Guns are for feeding the family, defending the home, and defending the Constitution of the United States through well-ordered militia.
Guns are not for swaggering, sport killing, noisemaking, or enforcing drug deals. While I respect the fear many have of random street violence, I believe that guns should be kept home except for target practice, or until hunting season, or unavoidable rebellion.
My father was a champion skeet shooter, a goose hunter, and gun collector who kept his guns home. He exemplified the best of gun ownership.
Such values should be enforced not by government but taught by powerful associations of responsible Second Amendment advocates. Ultimately, gun rights will be secured by aggressive promotion of gun ethics, even more than by opposition to gun laws. Without such voluntary standards, support for Second Amendment rights fades.
As owners of lethal force, gun owners have special moral obligations to train one another to defend all civil liberties, especially the right to dissent. Without such training, responsible gun owners would end up shooting each other during civil upheaval, just like urban youth do.
Question #2: I would sign legislation overruling federal gun controls within Pennsylvania. At this point in our nations history, I trust the federal government even less than I trust unruly citizens. If guns are outlawed only the government will have guns, and that makes tyranny certain. President Nixon once considered imposing martial law to stifle protest, until reminded by Kissinger that the American people will not tolerate martial law, and the American people are armed.
Further, I would bring the National Guard home from foreign invasions, while inviting them to be responsible gun owners, and training them to respect the Constitution. Otherwise, no amount of privately-owned firepower can outgun government.
And I would end the militarization of police forces. When government and bankers must defend themselves against angry citizens with tanks and lethal crowd control they have lost legitimacy. Even though being a cop can be tough dangerous work, especially in our large cities, I would expect police chiefs to hire college graduates trained in nonviolent conflict resolution, plus respect for religious/racial differences and civil liberties.
Question #3: You ask whether I favor limiting the number of cartridges one firearm can hold at any given time, saying that this is like limiting the number of words a journalist is allowed to print. Journalists do have word limits, according to the category of article submitted. I favor limiting the number of cartridges for semiautomatic weapons.
Question #4: Straw purchases must be contained, otherwise the existing permit system is meaningless. I also favor limiting bulk purchase of guns. A case study of firearms trafficking by one Mexican cartel found that, during a 15-month period, the cartel purchased 336 firearms, including 251 long guns, and all but one of those firearms was purchased from U.S. gun dealers as part of a multiple sale.
Question #5: No one, whether law-abiding or not, should be allowed into elementary schools with semiautomatic weapons. One they get in, even if teachers are armed, kids could be killed in crossfire.
My highest priority as governor would be to stimulate a just and safe society, where guns are less needed for protection, by developing job programs that employ everyone rebuilding our cities and suburbs toward energy efficiency. Such jobs reduce our dependence on foreign oil or fracking, while cutting the costs of heating, housing and eating. I have written the book Green Jobs Philly, describing how this can be done without raising total taxes.
People who are employed and respected less often steal or shoot. People who live in such societies are less threatened by random violence. Their children are safer, too.