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The Roving Sportsman… Gun Law Seminar

I recently attended a “Gun Law Seminar” held at the Old Lycoming Township Volunteer Fire Co. that was scheduled to run from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The meeting was organized and presented by our two area Pennsylvania State Representatives, Jeff Wheeland of the 83rd Legislative District and Joe Hamm of the 84th Legislative District.

Jeff Wheeland and Joe Hamm had a few opening remarks. The US Constitution’s Second Amendment was mentioned, followed by an excerpt of our Pennsylvania Constitution wherein even stronger language states that “the right to bear arms shall not be questioned .”The crowd of attendees then stood, faced the US flag, and was led in the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance. Five law enforcement speakers covered various topics related to the legal carrying of a concealed firearm. The presentations lasted about one hour, and then the meeting was turned toward the audience for questions.

Mike Sullivan, Lycoming County Assistant District Attorney, led things off with a presentation about the Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground Laws. He related four important points regarding these laws — each point being something that must be complied with to defend your actions should you take a life in self-defense and attempt to use the Castle Doctrine and/or the Stand Your Ground Law to justify your actions. They were: You cannot be the first aggressor. You have the obligation to retreat if it is safe to do so, but you do not have to retreat in your house, your workplace, or inside your vehicle.

The person (the aggressor) has no right to be there. And finally, their entry must be by force or against the law. He emphasized that shooting someone is against the law however the Castle Doctrine may give justification.

Len Dincher, a retired Williamsport policeman, then took the podium and painted the picture of how you should act and react if ever pulled over by a law enforcement officer.

When the officer approaches your vehicle, have your driver’s license, registration, and insurance cards ready.

Have the window down and have both of your hands high on the steering wheel or out the window. If it is nighttime, have the dome light on. Do NOT make any quick or sudden movements and simply comply with any and all directions issued by the officer.

Two Pennsylvania Game Commission Officers, Richard Lee and Harold Cole were also present and related information regarding concealed carry while hunting.

It was emphasized that regarding the Game Laws, concealed carry applies only to handguns — it does NOT apply to rifles or shotguns. Officer Lee pointed out that it is unlawful to use any firearm to dispatch a wounded animal during the archery season. Further, it is unlawful to dispatch a wounded animal along a highway — by law, it can only be done by a law enforcement officer.

Lycoming County Sheriff Mark Lusk took the stage and described how to obtain or renew a License to Carry Firearms. The procedures can be done in person, at his office, or can more easily be done online through their website. Mail-in applications are also acceptable. He went on to explain numerous circumstances that could lead to the revocation of your Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms. Additionally, he went into detail in explaining the reciprocity of your license in the other states surrounding Pennsylvania and across the country.

The presentations lasted about an hour, and then the floor was opened to questions from the audience and further discussions. A great deal of eye-opening thoughts came out, and numerous “what-if?” scenarios were presented, and possible resolutions were offered.

This was a highly informative and highly beneficial meeting to have attended. The good news is that it is scheduled again on Wednesday, February 2, from 6-8 p.m. at the Community Baptist Church, 1853 State Route 87, Montoursville, and on Thursday, March 24, from 6-8 p.m. at the Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Co., 2311 Route 54 Highway, Montgomery. Further dates to be determined.

Seating for these seminars is limited. Attendees must RSVP by registering through Representative Joe Hamm’s website,, or call his office at 570-327-2084 or emailing

Whether you are a new gun owner, an experienced hunter or shooter, or just contemplating owning a firearm for the first time, I highly recommend attending one of these seminars. Quite frankly, any gun owner should attend one or more of these events and will come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the responsibilities attached to firearm ownership.