By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Western Pennsylvania gun owners have aimed their sights at a Philadelphia gun control advocacy group — crashing its events, issuing challenges and even showing up at its office with a video camera rolling.
CeaseFirePA‘s executive director Shira Goodman says the group is not intimidated, though she thinks that’s the goal.
“We do see it as people trying to bully and intimidate and we see it because they’re frustrated with our progress, with the growth of the gun violence prevention movement,” she tells KYW Newsradio.
Goodman says there have been several recent incidents in which pro-gun activists videotaped CeaseFire events then posted excerpts online with commentary that she says ranged from “impolite” to “rude and harassing.”
But the situation escalated when Kim Stolfer, president of Firearms Owners Against Crime, showed up with two others at the CeaseFire office, with video camera rolling.
“They wouldn’t leave when asked, the police were called and a report was made,” says Goodman.
Stolfer says the police weren’t necessary
“All we did was stop in,” he says.
Stolfer says he had two goals: he wanted to challenge Goodman to a debate but she wasn’t in and he asked for a copy of CeaseFire’s 990 (financial disclosure) form.
The form is readily available online but federal regulations require non-profits to provide a copy if someone makes the request in person.
Stolfer says the lone employee in the office refused to provide it.
“He went in to his office and I heard background communication that, his description was ‘There’s intruders in the office. Send up security.’
“At that point I informed him that if the police were being called, I was going to file charges for filing a false police report.”
Goodman says police didn’t consider it a false report. “They said the staffer who was here had the option to pursue a stay-away order. That option was not pursued but they advised us of our rights… to be able to ask people to leave, to keep people out of our space that aren’t invited here.”
Stolfer says he’s now considering filing other charges against CeaseFire:
“Their interpretation of our actions in their office, calling it harassment of their staff and intimidation, could be interpreted as criminal charges, which would then fall under the guise of terroristic threats or reckless endangerment.”
Goodman says CeaseFire is undeterred:
“Our goal is to just keep being out there as a voice for the Pennsylvanians who want common sense gun policies.”