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CCRKBA CHALLENGES PA CARRY LAW OVER AGE DISCRIMINATION

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

BELLEVUE, WA – The State of Pennsylvania is practicing age discrimination against older firearms owners under a statute that requires people licensed to carry concealed firearms to provide two character references as part of the application process, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) said today.

“The fundamental problem with such a requirement,” noted CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron, “is that older citizens, including some of our members, are experiencing difficulty complying with this requirement, because their previous references have passed away.”

He called the requirement an unconscionable slap in the face to a generation of citizens who have helped build the state, and in many cases, served their country at times of war to defend their home state and all of its citizens.

“These law-abiding citizens are faced with a serious flaw in the statute,” he explained, “because they have a problem soliciting new references. Their younger neighbors are sometimes reluctant to act as character references for someone they may not know very well, due to generational and perhaps cultural differences.

“In such cases,” Waldron stated, “the reference requirement becomes a form of age discrimination.”

In a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Dennis M. O’Brien, and Senate Judiciary Chairman Stewart Greenleaf, Waldron suggested a solution to this problem would be a waiver of reference requirements on concealed pistol license renewal applications.

“The test of good character would have already been met by virtue of an individual’s having held a license previously,” Waldron observed. “A license to carry firearms is, in itself, a de facto certificate of good conduct.

“At a time in their lives when citizens become more vulnerable to crime,” he concluded, “the state should not come along and deprive them of the means of personal protection. This is a loophole in the law that seriously undermines the ability of our seasoned citizens to retain their independence, dignity and safety.”