Category Archives: Pennsylvania Firearms Law

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

FICG Sues U.S. Government Over Picture Requirement To Purchase a Firearm

Yesterday, the Firearm Industry Consulting Group, a division of Prince Law Offices, P.C., filed a complaint against the United States and numerous other individuals in the United States District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Mr. Hertzler, an Amish man, who is being denied his “core right” to purchase and possess a handgun for purposes of self-defense in his home, because federal law requires that he produce identification, bearing a photograph, which violates his core religious beliefs.

Specifically, 18 U.S.C. § 922(t)(1)(c) requires that a Federal Firearms Licensee only transfer a firearm to an individual who produces “a valid identification document (as defined in section 1028(d) of this title) of the transferee containing a photograph of the transferee.” As Mr. Hertzler’s sincerely held religious beliefs preclude him from knowingly and willingly having his photograph taken, Mr. Hertzler is unable to meet the requirements of Section 922(t); thereby, requiring him to either forego his constitutional right to keep and bear arms in defense of himself and his home or violate his religious tenants. Even Pennsylvania law acknowledges Mr. Hertzler’s religious beliefs and provides for non-photo ID and drivers licenses and for the ability of an individual to purchase a firearm with non-photo ID, pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(b)(2). However, federal law fails to include such an exception, in violation of the Second Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

We will keep our viewers apprised as this case proceeds forward


Filed under ATF, Constitutional Law, Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

The Inalienable Right to Stand Your Ground

We are extremely proud to announce the publication of Chief Counsel Joshua Prince and attorney Allen Thompson‘s article – The Inalienable Right to Stand Your Ground – in Volume 27, Issue 1, of the St. Thomas Law Review. You can find a copy here.

Please join us in congratulating them in this monumental endeavor and their steadfast devotion to protecting all of our inalienable rights!

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Filed under Firearms Law, News & Events, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

Pennsylvania Firearms Law Seminar – October 24, 2015!

On October 24, 2015, Chief Counsel Joshua Prince and Attorney Eric Winter of Firearms Industry Consulting Group (FICG), a division of Prince Law Offices, P.C., in conjunction with King Shooters Supply, will offer a four (4) hour seminar from 10am to 2pm on state and federal firearms law at their store located at  346 E Church Rd, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania 19406.

The cost is $10 and you must register early, as last time it sold out fast. You can find out further information on King Shooters Supply’s website or on King Shooters Supply’s FB page.  All registrations are to be mailed or dropped off at King Shooters Supply, 346 E Church Rd, King of Prussia PA 19406. If you have questions, please feel free to contact King Shooters Supply at 610-491-9901 .


Filed under Firearms Law, News & Events, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

ALERT – PA FFLs, PSP Has No Authority To Conduct Inspections

It has recently come to my attention that the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) is conducting compliance inspections of PA Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) without warrants. Unlike the federal law provision found in 18 U.S.C. 923(g)(1)(B)(ii) that provides ATF with the authority to conduct a compliance inspection once every 12 months without a warrant, no similar provision exists in Pennsylvania law. Further, unlike with a Federal Firearms License, where the ATF issues the FFL, in Pennsylvania, it is the county sheriff that issues the Pennsylvania firearms sales license, not the PSP.

Accordingly, the PSP has no authority or jurisdiction, absent a lawfully executed warrant or your consent, to inspect your records or premise. If the PSP comes to your store and demands to review your records, you should immediately inform them that you do not consent to a search of your premise or records and request that they produce a warrant. You should also immediately contact an attorney for representation and anticipate ATF to conduct a compliance inspection in the near future.

If you or a FFL you know is approached by the PSP, you should immediately contact us so that we can ensure your rights are protected. Remember, Rule 1 is never speak with the police and Rule 2 is never consent to a search, even if you believe your records to have been maintained in strict compliance.


Filed under Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

Can You Bring Your Sword Into a School Administration Building? The Superior Court Says No…

Recently, in Commonwealth v. Giordano, 2015 PA Super 167, the Pennsylvania Superior Court published an opinion by Judge Wecht (who is currently running for PA Supreme Court) holding that although a school administration building was not defined in the statute as part of an “elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational institution” and no case law existed as to whether an administration building could constitute an “elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational institution,” Mr. Giordano could be convicted for violating Section 912 by bringing a sword into an administration building.

Section 912 provides

(a)  Definition.  Notwithstanding the definition of “weapon” in section 907 (relating to possessing instruments of crime), “weapon” for purposes of this section shall include but not be limited to any knife, cutting instrument, cutting tool, nun- chuck stick, firearm, shotgun, rifle and any other tool, instrument or implement capable of inflicting serious bodily injury.

(b)  Offense defined.  A person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if he possesses a weapon in the buildings of, on the grounds of, or in any conveyance providing transportation to or from any elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational institution, any elementary or secondary private school licensed by the Department of Education or any elementary or secondary parochial school.

(c)  Defense.  It shall be a defense that the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course or is possessed for other lawful purpose.

As stated in the opinion, “Giordano asserts that the Commonwealth proved only that he carried a weapon into the administration building, which is neither an elementary nor a secondary educational institution.” The court acknowledged that “[w]e have found no precedent that defines “elementary or secondary publicly-funded education institution for purposes of the statute” and that “[t]herefore, we must construe those terms using our interpretive canons. After reviewing several dictionary definitions of “education institution” and secondary school, the court declares

Here, the administration building does not provide the first four to eight years of a child’s formal education nor does it off a general, technical, vocational, or college-preparatory curricula. However, we must also consider that the General Assembly does not intend an absurd result.

Hold on, the court acknowledges that it doesn’t fit any of the dictionary definitions, so to accomplish the court’s desired result, they declare that because “homebound instruction is provided in the building,” it constitutes an elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational institution? This sure sounds like judicial activism to me, especially when the court is determining whether there was sufficient evidence to convict Mr. Giordano of a misdemeanor of the 1st degree.

Mr. Giordano also argues that Section 912 is not a strict liability crime and therefore, consistent with prior holdings of the Commonwealth Court, requires that the Commonwealth prove that he had the mens rea to commit a crime. The court agreed with Mr. Giordano that the Commonwealth had to establish that he acted intentionally, knowingly or recklessly. However, the court, once again seemingly motivated by its own desired ends, found that since Mr. Giordano knew that a weapon could not be brought into a school building, the mens rea was established. While there is no dispute that Mr. Giordano knew he could not bring his sword into a school building, the court seems completely oblivious to the first several pages of its opinion, where it acknowledged that the statute did not specify that an administration building was part of an elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational institution and that no case law existed to place Mr. Giordano on notice that an administration building may constitute an elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational institution. If a statute is so vague as it does not place an individual on notice that his/her conduct may be prohibited, then the statute is unconstitutional for violating due process and the individual cannot be charged for violating it. Commonwealth v. Baxter, 2008 PA Super 200, 956 A.2d 465, 468-469 (Pa. Super. 2008) (en banc).

Additionally, there is no mention of whether Mr. Giordano argued that the defense found in subsection (c) applied. As there is an exception for other lawful purpose and nothing in the opinion establishes that he had an unlawful purpose, it would seem that subsection (c) would have applied.

It is truly disheartening when our courts permit the ends to justify the means. While it may not have been wise of Mr. Giordano to carry a sword into the administration building, such does not make it unlawful.


Filed under Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law