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What a major court ruling means for gun control in Pa.

Plus, Fetterman embraces the dark art of memes.

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Your Postmaster: Spotlight PA Staff
July 7, 2022
Gun law limbo, fracking vote, public defender raise, meme campaign, barrel recycling, South Street speaks, and a horse catches a breeze. It's Thursday. 
In the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning a New York law that required gun owners to be approved to carry a concealed handgun in public, advocacy groups are exploring what the decision means for Pennsylvania.

So far, WLVR reports, the ruling has had no immediate impact on the state because it concerns a state's discretion to grant concealed carry permits.

Pennsylvania gun rights advocates argue the decision sets the stage for concealed carry to become a constitutional right, thereby ending licensing requirements in the state. Advocates for tightening gun control counter that the ruling underscores states' ability to strengthen concealed carry laws.

Both camps agree future legal battles over gun laws in the state are likely.

THE CONTEXT: Pennsylvania issues concealed carry licenses to residents age 21 or older. Depending on the municipality, potential licensees submit applications to county sheriffs or the police chief. Licenses last up to five years.

The Tribune-Democrat reports that as of June 1, Pennsylvania had roughly 1.5 million active licenses, of which about a quarter were issued in 2021.

The licensing system was a political football of sorts in late June as state House Republicans amended a Democratic bill that would establish universal background checks to instead eliminate concealed carry permits.

The language, City & State reports, mirrored that of a bill vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf in 2021. The amended bill currently remains in committee.

Other gun legislation proposed in Pennsylvania, including a bill that would ban assault weapons, also has stalled in committee, Spotlight PA reported in mid-June

"This public justice system does not work without the public defender’s office."

—Philadelphia City Council Member Maria Quiñones Sánchez, on a recent raise for the city's low-paid public defenders and support staff.
» LAW & LOOPHOLE: Join us today at 6 p.m. ET via Zoom for a free Q&A on the limitations of the state's police misconduct database and a discussion on other police accountability efforts. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org.
"One of my favorite murals in town." Thanks, @niccilynn1993 for tagging us in the shot of Phoenixville. Send us your sky adventure pics, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
FRACKING FRACAS: In an 11-4 vote, Allegheny County Council approved legislation that would ban new natural gas drilling inside and underneath county parks, per WESA. The ban would not apply to existing leases, but it would prevent the expansion of such agreements. Rich Fitzgerald, the county executive and an advocate for the natural gas industry, vowed to veto the bill, but a two-thirds majority could overturn it.

FACT CHECK: Residents of Philadelphia's South Street neighborhood, the scene of a fatal mass shooting in June, dispute the way the area has been described and covered in the wake of the deadly event. Billy Penn analyzed police reports along some of the most commercially active blocks of South Street, and found that not only do shootings seldom occur, but the business district is also among the safest in Philly.

HELPING HANDS: Pennsylvania abortion providers saw a rush of donations and volunteers following the U.S. Supreme Court's June decision striking down Roe v. Wade. The Morning Call details how two orgs, Planned Parenthood Keystone and the Allentown Women's Center, are responding to the flood of help, money, and out-of-state phone calls. 

POSTAL PUSH: The U.S. Postal Service's plan to replace 165,000 delivery trucks includes a small number of electrical vehicles, an oversight that has prompted 16 states — Pennsylvania among them — to sue the agency. USPS has cited costs in its choice to limit embracing EVs, but the state lawsuits allege the agency overestimated the price of electric batteries and underestimated fuel costs. 

MEME MISSIVES: Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman has taken to memes to distinguish himself from Republican opponent Mehmet Oz, per the Daily Beast. Analysts say the strategy could endear the candidate to younger voters but is also risky because it can be viewed as pandering or trying to be hip. 
BARREL BIZ: TribLIVE profiles Plum-based Penn Barrel, which recycles and restores steel, plastic, and fiber barrels for use in environmental clean-ups. The family-owned business began in 1908 as a restorer of wooden barrels. 

CRITTER CRASHES: Pennsylvania topped an insurance company's national analysis of annual collisions between animals and motor vehicles. The white-tailed deer was the most common animal struck. 

TICK MAN: "Tick Man Dan," a Massachusetts crusader against ticks and the inventor of a tick removal device, chats with Go Erie about ways to avoid the disease-carrying arachnids when out in the wild. His credentials? "I live and breathe ticks on a day-to-day basis." 

MOMENT OF SOUP: Pittsburgh City Paper takes a look at the beginnings of Andy Warhol's ascent to art immortality, which began 60 years ago this week with soup cans in a Los Angeles art gallery.

HOME FOR HORSIES: The Intelligencer snapped some cute photos of a Perkasie farm that's home to retired Parx racehorses. Turns out horses also like to chill out in front of box fans?
Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag.

Yesterday's answer: Gourmandizes

Congrats to our daily winners: Sharon P., Bill S., Dianne K., Craig W., George S., Susan Z., Don H., and Susan D.
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