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More than 200 attend concealed carry firearms program; 'people are more worried about civil unrest like riots and protests'

By Phyllis Zimmerman Special to the Press & Journal
Posted 8/9/17

HUMMELSTOWN ­— A crowd of more than 200 filled the Hummelstown Chemical Fire Company No. 1 town hall on Aug. 3 to learn more about Pennsylvania’s concealed carry regulations for …

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More than 200 attend concealed carry firearms program; 'people are more worried about civil unrest like riots and protests'

Posted

HUMMELSTOWN ­— A crowd of more than 200 filled the Hummelstown Chemical Fire Company No. 1 town hall on Aug. 3 to learn more about Pennsylvania’s concealed carry regulations for firearms.

The three-hour program was hosted by state Rep. Thomas Mehaffie, R-Lower Swatara Township, who represents the 106th House District.

Speakers included Matt Menges, an attorney at Trinity Law firm of York who also serves as Dover Township supervisor in York County, and Derry Township Police Officer Anthony Clements.

Mehaffie said the yearly program is a continuation of an initiative that was begun by former state Rep. John Payne, his predecessor in the 106th District.

“I think everyone wants to understand what’s legal and what’s not legal (regarding gun laws) and if you’re doing things correctly,” Mehaffie said.

Few in the mostly over-40 crowd appeared unfamiliar with firearms, however. When Menges asked gun owners in the crowd to raise their hands, most in the room responded affirmatively.

Karl Spohn of Middletown, a registered gun owner, said he’s already attended a number of similar presentations. “You can’t get enough information about this. You never know when you’ll need it,” he stated.

William Blace of Camp Hill, also a registered gun owner, said he was there just to learn more about the laws and regulations for carrying firearms. “I learned a lot. This was excellent,” Blace said.

Nancy Roeting of Hummelstown came to last week’s session “to be more informed,” even though she doesn’t own any firearms. She was around guns when growing up on a farm in South Hanover Township, however, because her family hunted at that time.

Menges said he’s given countless number of talks throughout central Pennsylvania about the gun laws over the past five years.

“I stopped counting how many of these I’ve done when I got to 100,” he said. The main thing he’s seen people worry about, he said, is change.

“For a while people were worried about the ‘knock-out game’ when that was going around a couple of years ago,” Menges, said, referring to a deadly so-called game that involves assaulting others without warning. “”Now people are more worried about civil unrest like riots and protests.”

Menges’ address covered such topics as firearms that require a license, how to obtain a license, license exceptions, carrying on school and government property, which U.S. states recognize Pennsylvania permits, and much more. Menges and Clements also offered practical advice to constituents.

“If you hear a noise downstairs in your house, call 911 and wait in the corner with your gun. Don’t go wandering around your house in the dark with a gun,” Clements advised. “Stay in a safe place. When you first wake up, you have in effect the same awareness as a 0.1 alcohol level.”

Menges suggested keeping an inexpensive cellphone in your home’s safe area because intruders tend to cut landline wires. Also, he noted, it is legal to travel with your registered gun through U.S. states that don’t recognize Pennsylvania licenses while en route to a state that does.

However, it is illegal to stay overnight in states that don’t recognize Pennsylvania licenses without further provisions.

For more information about gun laws, visit www.attorneygeneral.gov or www.nraila.org.

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