SUNBURY — Any talk about gun control cannot infringe on a person's second amendment rights, said David Rowe, the Republican candidate in the Aug. 20 special election to fill the Pa. House seat representing the 85th district.
Rowe is running against Democratic candidate Jennifer Rager-Kay and Clair Moyer, a registered Republican who is running a write-in campaign.
"The second amendment is in place to deter what could be an out-of-control tyrannical government," Rowe said. "So whenever we talk about gun control, we have to be wary of what the gun regulations are, what are we going to be taking from citizens."
Efforts to curb gun violence by taking guns away from law-abiding citizens, Rowe said, means the only people left with guns are the criminals. And once you are taking certain kinds of guns away from people, it becomes "a very slippery slope," Rowe said, and a gentle erosion of our second amendment rights.
About background checks, Rowe said, "there is already a two-tiered background check in place — the federal government, and then in Pennsylvania. Those systems are already in place. The danger that comes from a gun registry is it leaves a trail of where the government would know who has guns."
Rowe is not against criminal background checks, however. "This is absolutely one thing we need to have," he said. "But background checks can quickly turn into registration, permits, and government control of who should have what, he contends.
"What stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," he said.
"Guns are a part of our culture," he continued. "There are educational programs geared towards children, explaining the dangers of guns found in homes. Educating people how to use firearms, and how to respond in a terrible situation is the best path forward.
Red Flag laws, when due process is ignored, is where the danger begins, Rowe said. "If due process has been observed, a person should lose the right to own a gun, but to say someone might do something you have lost your second amendment right is unconstitutional."
Rowe, a small business owner, is against raising the minimum wage. "When you have government dictating the cost of wages, it only ends up hurting businesses, especially small businesses," Rowe said. "We all want wages to go up, but the way to do it is to get government out of the way, create competition and create a workforce that is so talented and in demand that wages have to go up organically."
The fact that the minimum wage is higher in some surrounding states is "not at all" a concern for Rowe. "When you look at the minimum wage, it is being earned by a small population of the state," he said. "Minimum wage is mostly being earned by teenagers who are working those first jobs that are formative for them. Once we start raising the minimum wage, we'll see those jobs drop off."
Marijuana and the opioid crisis
When prescribed appropriately, Rowe would support the use of medical marijuana. He is not in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana.
The opioid crisis should be dealt with in two ways, Rowe suggested. "Through prevention and treatment. Both of those come down to enabling local providers to do what they do best. "We need to expand and streamline the use of prescription drug monitoring programs. On the treatment side of things, opioid addiction should be treated like a disease and when it is, the mortality rate drops. "
Rowe also said he is against Gov. Wolf's idea to tax natural gas to pay for broadband access. Agreeing that access to broadband is critical to business and the local farming community, Rowe said there are other avenues to pay that infrastructure. "Pennsylvania does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem," he said.
He would find ways to pay for it through perhaps using some monies derived from the Trump tax cut. He would look closely at line items in the budget.