Category Archives: Firearms Law

ATF-41P Update

Recently, ATF-41P’s final action date was changed from December 2015 to January 2016, prompting a lot of speculation and concern, especially in light of President Obama’s announcement of 2,224 new proposed rules, which he hopes to implement prior to his departure.

As many of our viewers are aware, Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®), a division of Prince Law Offices, P.C., spearheaded the opposition to ATF-41P, submitting a 500+ page initial comment, a 60+ page supplemental comment, starting the Facebook Group – Americans Opposed to ATF-41P and promoting the NFA Day of Reckoning. As we reported in August from the Annual Import/Export conference, ATF added three additional people to review the comments submitted regarding ATF-41P but had no idea on an expected completion date.

So, what does the date change signify? Quite honestly, not a lot other than 1. ATF does not believe that it will be prepared to move forward with a final rule in December 2015 and 2. that it also doesn’t anticipate that it will take it will take six months or longer, until it will be prepared to move forward with a final rule. In the past, ATF was extending the final action date in 6 month increments. This is the first, sub-six month increment, signifying that it is nearing the end of its review of the 9500+ comments and has likely started drafting a final proposed rule, wherein it is legally required to respond to all the issues raised in the comments, even an issue that was only raised by one commentor.

In reality, the final action date means little, as ATF could move forward with a final rule prior to the end of this year or ATF could once again delay the final action date; however, if it is delayed further, it will likely be delayed in one month increments.

As a result of the update to the final action date, which we posted on the FICG and Americans Opposed to ATF-41p Facebook pages, a lot of people have raised concern and confusion over what this means, especially in relation to any future transfers. Unfortunately, without knowing what the final rule will say, it is difficult to advise on the uncertainty. However, here is what we do know:

  1. The Agency Contact, Brenda Friend Esq., previously told Attorney Merting that the rule would not be retroactive and would only apply to new transactions.
  2. During the 12th Annual Import/Export Conference, I asked ATF how pending transfers would be treated, if a new rule was implemented. ATF responded that any new regulation would only apply to applications submitted after the effective date of the regulation. Attorney Merting confirmed that this was consistent with what Attorney Friend told him.

Hence, all information currently suggests that if your application is pending at the time any new regulation goes into effect, your application will be grandfathered, as it complied with the regulations, when it was submitted. Obviously, everyone will want to know what constitutes pending (e.g. mailing, receipt or cashing of one’s check). Again, unfortunately, we don’t know; however, there are pretty good arguments that it should be triggered upon ATF’s receipt. For this reason, if you’re planning to file a Form 1, you may want to do such electronically through the eForms system and as soon as possible.

Also, a lot of people are asking whether the execution of your trust, LLC or other fictitious entity plays any role in the determination. The answer, generally speaking, is no. The applicability of any new regulation will hinge on the date of submission (and what constitutes pending) of a new application. Hence, the fact that you’ve previously submitted applications utilizing your trust or other fictitious entity is of no relevance. (Also, some people believe that they can or are required to file their trust with ATF in advance of filing an application. This is incorrect as there is no mechanism (and it would serve no purpose) to file a copy of one’s trust or other fictitious entity with ATF prior to submission of a Form 1 or Form 4).

Hence, based on the information currently available, if you have not yet formed your trust or other fictitious entity, it will likely be in your best interest to form that entity now and submit your application(s), as it appears that any application submitted prior to the effective date of the regulation will be grandfathered. I have a number of clients that have formed their trusts and submitted their applications for all the NFA toys they could ever want, so that even if ATF-41P is implemented, it will likely have no applicability to them.

Nevertheless, we are asking everyone to contact their U.S. Senator and demand that they approve, without amendment, H.R. 2578 – Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016, which includes a provision prohibiting the ATF from utilizing any of the appropriated money for implementing a rule requiring a Chief Law Enforcement Officer signature(e.g. ATF-41P) and additionally includes a provision providing for the funding of federal firearms relief, which has not been available since 1992.

If some form of final rule is promulgated from ATF-41P, funding will need to be raised to fight its implementation. We have detailed a number of ATF’s violations in this rulemaking in our original and supplemental comments, and in a number of articles, including whether ATF violated the Regulatory Flexibility Act, whether ATF unlawfully disqualified comments and ATF disqualified 1,000+ comments, and whether ATF provided an adequate comment period.

I hope you will consider supporting us in fighting ATF, if any final regulation is implemented, as only together can we hold ATF accountable.

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Filed under ATF, Firearms Law, Gun Trusts

New National Defense Authorization Appropriations Bill with Substantial Pro-Second Amendment Provisions

Last week, the Senate passed S. 1356 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, which included a couple significant pro-Second Amendment provisions.

First, pursuant to Section 526, a process must be established by the Secretary of Defense no later than December 31, 2015, through which members of the Armed Forces may carry an appropriate firearm on a military installation. Additionally, pursuant to Section 2811, in relation to protection of Department of Defense installations, the Secretary of Defense can authorize officers and agents of the Department of Defense to carry firearms.

Second, pursuant to Section 1087, the Secretary is authorized to transfer to the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) surplus caliber .45 M1911/M1911A1 pistols, spare parts and related accessories for those pistols. The number of surplus caliber .45 M1911/M1911A1 pistols to be transferred is limited to 10,000, per year.

S. 1356 now awaits the President’s signature.

Also, this appropriation bill should not be confused with the other extremely pro-Second Amendment appropriations bill H.R. 2578 – Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016. H.R. 2578 includes extremely important amendments, such as the funding of federal firearms relief, which has not been available since 1992, and prohibiting the ATF from utilizing any of the appropriated money for implementing a rule requiring a Chief Law Enforcement Officer signature (e.g. ATF-41p). Please contact your Senator and urge him/her to approve H.R. 2578, as passed by the House.

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Filed under ATF, Firearms Law

Hunting with Silencers in PA is Legal!

A number of individuals have inquired with our office whether it is legal to hunt with a silencer in PA. As silencers have become more popular, affordable and increasingly marketed to the hunting community, they are being utilized in the field by more people than ever. In Pennsylvania, it is legal to hunt while using a silencer.


In 2009, Chief Counsel Joshua Prince wrote to the Game Commission requesting confirmation that there are no prohibitions on hunting with silencers in PA. The Game Commission replied that it was legal to do so and suggested that individuals have a copy of their “license” for their silencer. A copy of that letter can be found here.

While the Game Commission itself spoke of a license, it is likely they meant a copy of your approved form from ATF. While researching the topic a bit further I stumbled across another letter that was issued by the Game Commission in January of this year.

Hunting with Silencer 2015

It seems in the years following Joshua’s original request, the Game Commission has taken to training their officers on the use and possession of silencers.

If you are a Pennsylvania resident and want to obtain a silencer but are unsure where to start, give us a call! We can help you form a Gun Trust to purchase your silencers. For more information on Gun Trusts you can read this blog article by Joshua Prince.

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Filed under Firearms Law, Hunting

PA Hunter Safety Course Available Online

Pennsylvania law requires that first time hunters take and pass an approved Hunter Safety Course prior to purchasing their first hunting license. Unfortunately for individuals who are unaware of this requirement, there is nothing in the system that would prevent a clerk from selling them a license. As such, individuals are at risk for purchasing a hunting license that they technically should not be in possession of.

The Game Commission and its officers can see if an individual has taken and passed the approved course. If the individual has not and is caught hunting, they could potentially face a number of citations that they might not otherwise.


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Good news for those of you who have not yet taken a Hunter Safety Course. There is no need to find a course at a remote location as it can be taken online in the comfort of your own home! The Official Pennsylvania Hunter Safety Education Course allows you to take the Hunter Safety Course at your own leisure and only charges you when you pass the test!

If you or someone you know has NOT yet taken a Hunter Safety Education Course and plan on hunting, use the link above. You’ll be ready to hit the woods in no time!


Have you been charged with a hunting violation? Be sure to contact our office before you do anything at 610-845-3803.


Filed under Firearms Law, Hunting

The 411 on National Reciprocity for Concealed Carry

Since the prosecution of Shaneen Allen, there has been a push across the United States for national reciprocity but few are aware of the proposed reciprocity bills. While I have some concerns about national reciprocity (which I review below), it is important to understand the four currently pending bills regarding national reciprocity.

Senate Bill 498, introduced by U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) and House of Representatives Bill 923, introduced by U.S. Representative Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) are companion bills (meaning that they are identical, at least, when submitted). Currently S.B. 498 has 32 cosponsors and H.R. 923 has 36 cosponsors. These bills would provide that where an individual is not prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms and has license or permit from a state, which includes a photo, that allows him/her to possess or carry a concealed firearm, he/she would be entitled to carry a concealed firearm, pursuant to his/her license/permit, in any state that allows residents of that state to obtain licenses or permits to carry concealed firearms or in a state that does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms by residents of that state for lawful purposes. Additionally, the same protections are afforded to a resident of a state where he/she is entitled to carry a firearm absent a license or permit. (This provision is of questionable benefit, since, to my knowledge, all states that have gone to “constitutional carry” still have a mechanism for an individual to obtain a license/permit for purposes of reciprocity). It should be noted that both machineguns and destructive devices are exempt from carrying, pursuant to this bill; however, short barreled rifles/shotguns and Any Other Weapons would seemingly be permitted, since not excluded. Furthermore, all the laws and regulations of the state the individual is in would apply; hence, if a particular state’s laws precluded hollow-point bullets, one could not carry hollow-point bullets in that state, pursuant to this bill.

House of Representatives Bill 402, introduced by U.S. Representative Rich Nugent (R-Fla.) currently has 93 cosponsors. This bill is almost identical to S.B. 498 and H.R. 923 but lacks the inclusion of non-licensed residents of states where the individual is entitled to carry a firearm absent a license or permit. (See above for the questionable benefit of this provision).

And, saving the best for last, House of Representatives Bill 986, introduced by U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), currently has 183 cosponsors. Similar to H.R. 402, it lacks a provision including non-licensed residents of states where the individual is entitled to carry a firearm absent a license or permit. (See above for the questionable benefit of this provision). Additionally, unlike the other bills, H.R. 986 supersedes state law seemingly in all respects, except for state laws which “permit private persons or entities to prohibit or restrict the possession of concealed firearms on their property” and “prohibit or restrict the possession of firearms on any State or local government property, installation, building, base, or park.”

And if that wasn’t enough to sell you on H.R. 986, it also provides for (1) immunity from prosecution “unless there is probable cause to believe that the person is doing so in a manner not provided for by this section”; (2) the individual’s right to attorney fees, where he/she is prosecuted unsuccessfully; (3) a civil cause of action against any state or political subdivision that deprives an individual of their rights under this bill, where the individual is entitled to damages and attorney fees.

While I support H.R. 986, I have some general concerns about national reciprocity in general, especially in determining, whose laws apply. As I see it, there are five options:

  1. The laws of individual’s state of residence apply. This is extremely problematic as it would require that law enforcement know the 50 states’ laws, when they typically do not even know the laws of the state in which they are employed.
  2. The laws of state the individual is in apply. This has generally been toted as the most practical; however, how is a resident of another state suppose to determine what is lawful and unlawful? I frequently spend 4+ hrs during firearms law seminars just going over Pennsylvania’s law. I cannot fathom how any lay person could possibly comprehend, absent competent legal advice, most states’ laws regarding the carrying and possession of loaded firearms. This, in essence, is no different than requiring that a law enforcement officer know 50 different states’ laws; however, at least the law enforcement officer has training in reading and interpreting the laws.
  3. Hybrid of 1 and 2. My own personal opinion of the best option that is likely (e.g. absent 5 applying) is for each state to be required to make an easily comprehensible guide to their concealed carry laws, where if an individual reasonably relies on the information in the guide to his/her detriment, he/she is immune from prosecution.
  4. Federal law dictates the permitted conduct, such as, an individual carrying pursuant to national reciprocity is restricted to ten rounds, only full metal jacket,…etc. The problem, for me, with this approach is that this would encroach upon states’ rights. While the U.S Government has encroached upon states’ rights for decades, seemingly erasing the 10th Amendment, I have never nor can I support further erosion of the Constitution.
  5. The 2nd Amendment applies! Clearly, if all state laws regulating the possession and carrying of firearms are unconstitutional pursuant to the 2nd Amendment, then there is no erosion of the 10th Amendment, since the states cannot restrict an inalienable right. Unfortunately, most court decisions are not supportive of this position; however, it appears to (largely) be the outcome sought through H.R. 986.

Also, I must note that I have a problem with all of the bills in that they require photographic identification. As our readers are likely aware, I recently filed suit against the U.S. Government for denying my client the right to purchase a firearm because his religious beliefs preclude him from having his photo taken. As none of us are born with photo identification and all states have a mechanism in place for an individual to obtain, for the first time, photographic identification, any law should permit individuals with sincerely held religious beliefs to prove their identity no differently than that required for an individual to prove his/her identity for the first time to obtain photographic identification.

Let us know your thoughts on national reciprocity, which bill you support and why!


Filed under Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

It’s Legal To Carry a Firearm, While Voting!

While I have blogged on the topic extensively, many residents of Pennsylvania are unaware of their right to carry a firearm while voting, unless their polling location is located at a place which prohibited under state law. Accordingly, I did a short video on the right to carry a firearm, while voting. For those interested in a more in-depth review of the general right to carry a firearm while voting in Pennsylvania, see my article – Voting While Carrying a Firearm in PA – It’s Legal!

Carrying while Voting Joshua Prince(Your PA Firearms Attorney® voting in 2013 with a Sig on my right hip)

When Northampton County previously precluded one of my clients from voting, I took action, which resulted in Northampton County now informing all of its voters of their general right to carry a firearm, while voting.…|34800|&northamptonNav_GID=1988 declaring

The Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act, 18 Pa.C.S.A. Sections 6101 et seq., permits any person permitted to possess a firearm to openly carry or, with a license to carry firearm, to conceal carry the firearm in Northampton County with the exception of elementary schools, secondary schools, or court facilities. No individual shall be precluded from entering a polling location while lawfully carrying a firearm, whether openly or concealed, unless such polling location constitutes an elementary school, secondary school, or court facility. No individual shall be precluded from voting while lawfully carrying a firearm, whether openly or concealed, unless such polling location constitutes an elementary school, secondary school, or court facility. No sign shall be drafted, written, erected, placed, or visibly available at any polling location precluding an individual from entering a polling location or voting while in lawful possession of a firearm.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to vote, regardless of whether or not you carry a firearm. While I believe voting while carrying a firearm is a political statement, the failure of so many citizens to become involved in the political process may result in us losing our right to make any political statement, as evidenced by the current state of our Union.

If anyone precludes you from voting while carrying a firearm, contact our office – 888-313-0416 or – so that we can discuss your legal options.


Filed under Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

Using a Tree Stand on State Game Lands?

Earlier this year the PA Game Commission passed a new regulation relating to tree stands on State Game Lands requiring that owners of the stands now conspicuously mark their stand with their CID number, owner’s first and last name and their home address or a number issued by the Game Commission for this purpose.


The regulation makes it unlawful to:

Construct, place, maintain, occupy, use, leave or abandon any structures or other tangible property, except that portable hunting blinds or stands may be used subject to the following restrictions:

(i) Use may not cause damage to trees.

(ii) Except as provided in subparagraph (iii), overnight placement of portable hunting blinds or stands may not occur sooner than 2 weeks prior to the opening of the first deer season nor later than 2 weeks after the close of the last deer season within each wildlife management unit.

(iii) Overnight placement of portable hunting blinds is additionally permitted during the spring turkey season within each wildlife management unit.

(iv) Portable hunting blinds or stands placed under subparagraph (ii) or (iii) must be conspicuously marked with a durable identification tag that legibly sets forth in the owner’s first name, last name and legal home address in English or must bear a number issued by the Commission for this purpose. 

The Commission did not define what a “durable identification tag” is which may be problematic in the event your tag is somehow damaged or missing. I suggest taking a photo of whatever method you use, so that if it becomes an issue in the future you can prove that it was marked. Some ideas of what may qualify are: engraving a metal tag and attaching it via wire to the stand or using a plastic tag with your information recorded using a paint pen.

If you are interested in obtaining a number issued by the Game Commission for the purpose of marking your stand, you can visit the Game Commission’s Tree Stand Identification Number page.

Good luck out there this season and remember, if you’re approached by the Game Commission you do not lose your Fifth Amendment rights. Never speak to the Game Commission or Law Enforcement without first consulting with an attorney.


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Filed under Firearms Law, Hunting