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NFA Firearms, Form 1s, Engraving and Cartoon Chickens

FORM53201-APPROVED (1).pdf

Late last week an article was posted on a popular website, dedicated to firearms news, about the engraving of firearms that had approved Form 1s. The author describes how easy it is for one to submit a Form 1, with the advent of eForms, to register your firearm as a Short Barrel Rifle (“SBR”) but laments the marking requirement. He accurately describes ATF’s response to any number of questions you could ask them by stating “Ask three people whether you need to engrave your information on your newly registered NFA device and you’ll get three different answers.”

The author then prefaces the remainder of the article with “In an effort to sort out the confusion I asked the ATF directly…”. Oddly enough, the author seems to forget his previous statement, a mere sentence prior, that if you ask three people at ATF whether you need to engrave your information that you would receive three different answers.

The article states that if you do not plan on selling your SBR, there is no requirement to engrave the firearm. The author also claims that if you remove the firearm from the registry in order to sell it, at that point you’ll need to engrave your information on the firearm.

Perhaps the most concerning part of the post is that nowhere does the author state who he spoke to, cite to any statutes or regulations, or produce a letter from ATF confirming his statements.

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Confused yet? Let’s attempt to remove the dog from the hen house.

In an effort to make things simple to follow, a few terms need to be defined. We will examine both the National Firearms Act and its regulations.

26 U.S.C. 5845 is where one can find the definitions for the National Firearms Act.

(i) Make

The term “make”, and the various derivatives of such word, shall include manufacturing (other than by one qualified to engage in such business under this chapter), putting together, altering, any combination of these, or otherwise producing a firearm.

(m) Manufacturer

The term “manufacturer” means any person who is engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms.

It is important to differentiate between the preceding two terms. The term “manufacturer” applies to those who are engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms, while the other is in reference to individuals or entities not engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms.

26 U.S.C. 5842 regulates the identification of firearms.

(a) Identification of firearms other than destructive devices

Each manufacturer and importer and anyone making a firearm shall identify each firearm, other than a destructive device, manufactured, imported, or made by a serial number which may not be readily removed, obliterated, or altered, the name of the manufacturer, importer, or maker, and such other identification as the Secretary may by regulations prescribe.

27 C.F.R. 479 et seq. is where one can find regulations pertaining to the National Firearms Act.

Make. This term and the various derivatives thereof shall include manufacturing (other than by one qualified to engage in such business under this part), putting together, altering, any combination of these, or otherwise producing a firearm.

Manufacturer. Any person who is engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms.

Again, the distinction between maker and manufacturer is seen.

27 C.F.R. 479.102 regulates how firearms must be identified. In the pertinent part:

(a) You, as a manufacturer, importer, or maker of a firearm, must legibly identify the firearm as follows:
….
(2) By engraving, casting, stamping (impressing), or otherwise conspicuously placing or causing to be engraved, cast, stamped (impressed), or placed on the frame, receiver, or barrel thereof certain additional information. This information must be placed in a manner not susceptible of being readily obliterated, altered or removed. For firearms manufactured, imported, or made on and after January 30, 2002, the engraving, casting, or stamping (impressing) of this information must be to a minimum depth of .003 inch. The additional information includes:
(i) The model, if such designation has been made;
(ii) The caliber or gauge;
(iii) Your name (or recognized abbreviation) and also, when applicable, the name of the foreign manufacturer or maker;
(iv) In the case of a domestically made firearm, the city and State (or recognized abbreviation thereof) where you as the manufacturer maintain your place of business, or where you, as the maker, made the firearm; and

The regulations pertaining to identifying NFA firearms unequivocally state that the maker of the firearm must engrave, cast, stamp, or otherwise conspicuously place their name and the city and state where the maker made the firearm.

Now, I will admit, the regulation does not speak to the “remanufacture” of a firearm. But the term “remanufacture” is not defined in the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968, 27 C.F.R. 478.11, or 27 C.F.R. 749.11.

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But we need not explore this non sequitur any further because the statue and regulation clearly state that if you are putting together, altering, or any combination thereof, you are manufacturing a firearm. And if you are manufacturing the firearm, you are required to identify it with certain information.

With regard to the serial number, caliber/gauge and model, ATF has published ruling 2013-3 which states that licensed manufacturers and licensed importers of firearms, and makers, may adopt the serial number, caliber/gauge and model on the firearm without a marking variance provided a number of conditions are met. You can view that ruling here.

thatsallfolks

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Montgomery County Sheriff Sean Kilkenny Does Away With Unlawful Local Police Checks for LTCF Applicants!

Newly-elected Montgomery County Sheriff Sean Kilkenny has rescinded the unlawful practice of requiring the Local Police Check Card for License to Carry Firearms (LTCF) applications that was imposed by previous sheriffs. I was alerted to the change in police from a Facebook posting by the Lower Pottsgrove Township Police Department.

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Earlier this month I had sent the new Sheriff a letter asking that he review the policies and practices of the outgoing Sheriff Bono. I specifically requested Sheriff Kilkenny look into the unlawful practice of requiring references on the application as well as the Local Police Check Card.

I had the opportunity to speak with the Sheriff’s Solicitor earlier this morning. He did state that the Sheriff was reviewing the policies and procedures of the office and will be making changes. I was informed they were reviewing the practice of requiring references on the applications.

While new to the position of Sheriff, it appears that Sheriff Kilkenny is wasting no time in reviewing the policies and procedures of the office and making the appropriate changes. Join me in thanking Sheriff Kilkenny in reversing a longstanding unlawful practice that placed an additional burden on individuals in Montgomery County seeking LTCFs.

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PUC Reminds Consumers Help Is Available

puc_sealAs part of its ongoing “Prepare Now” campaign, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) released its annual report on Universal Service Programs, along with responses from electric and natural gas utility companies to the PUC’s call for enhanced efforts to help consumers cope with winter heating costs.

“Access to power, heat, water and telecommunications is an essential part of protecting the health and welfare of our citizens, but every year thousands of Pennsylvanians struggle to afford these vital services,” said PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown. “The information released today underscores the continuing need in our communities and also highlights the collaborative efforts being made to assist consumers across our state.”

“Universal Service” is the principle that everyone should have access to essential utility services. Universal Service is promoted through a set of state-mandated policies, protections and programs intended to provide a safety net for eligible low-income utility customers, including:

  • Customer Assistance Program (CAP), which provides subsidized utility service to eligible households based on household size and income;
  • The Low Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP), which includes free weatherization and other conservation measures, installation of energy efficient appliances, energy audits and education about conservation;
  • The Customer Assistance and Referral Evaluation Services (CARES) program, which provides information about available programs and/or referrals to community agencies to help consumers address family emergencies, health issues or other extenuating circumstances; and
  • Hardship Funds, programs supported by utility contributions and public donations that which can assist individuals in paying outstanding debts to utility companies.

Additionally, the PUC, utilities, and human service agencies across the state strongly promote the federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides assistance with home heating bills during the winter months. The application period for LIHEAP crisis and regular grants has opened and continues through April 1, 2016.

According to the PUC’s Universal Service Report, there are more than 1 million confirmed low-income electric and natural gas customers (household income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty income guideline) being served by utilities under the PUC’s jurisdiction. While unconfirmed, utilities estimate that nearly 2 million customers may actually fit that classification – potentially including about 27 percent of all utility households in Pennsylvania.

The report also documents nearly $460 million in annual utility assistance provided to households across the state and demonstrates that consumers who participate in these safety net programs are more likely to continue paying their bills and maintain their utility service. In fact, the most recent PUC data shows that 83 percent of the households participating in Customer Assistance Programs were able to preserve their heat and other vital services.

“This data demonstrates the size and scope of in-need utility customers across the state, just how close many families may be to a utility crisis and the important role of various safety-net programs,” said Chairman Brown.

Further underscoring the existing need in Pennsylvania communities, the PUC’s annual Cold Weather Survey, released in December 2015, documented more than 24,000 households entering the winter without heat-related utility service. Every year the state’s electric and natural gas distribution companies under the PUC’s jurisdiction are required to survey residential properties where service has been terminated and has not been reconnected during the calendar year.

As part of the PUC’s annual “Prepare Now” campaign, the Commissioners sent an October 2015 letter to all Pennsylvania electric and natural gas utility companies under the PUC’s jurisdiction, asking them to join the Commission in reaching out to consumers about winter assistance programs and emphasizing that utilities have more flexibility to make allowances for payment-troubled customers than the PUC does under the law. The responses from each utility, along with summaries of all their ongoing outreach efforts, are detailed here.

Consumers experiencing difficulty maintaining utility service are encouraged to reach out as early as possible to their utility companies; local human service and non-profit organizations; and state agencies such as the Department of Human Services and PUC for information about the many programs available to help maintain essential utility services.

If you or your business have questions regarding utility law, natural gas law, energy law, or real estate law, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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ATF Publishes Final Rule in Relation to ATF-41P

Tonight, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives published a final rule in relation to ATF-41p. You can download a copy here.

While the publication is over 240 pages, a quick review suggests that ATF has gone away from its CLEO certification requirement and implemented a CLEO notification requirement. However, it will now require any person involved in the fictitious entity that “has the power and authority to direct the management and policies of the entity insofar as they pertain to firearms” to submit photographs, fingerprints and submit to a NICS check.

As we review all 248 pages, we will post more information.

As our viewers are aware, we have been preparing to challenge ATF on any final implemented rule. If you wish to support our challenge, you can find out more on www.FightATF41p.com.

UPDATE: Here’s our article on the 411 on the final rule regarding ATF-41P.

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Co-Parenting 101

One repetitive and especially pernicious theme concerning custody disputes that we often see here at Prince Law, is the failure or practical inability of former spouses or partners to effectively co-parent.

Surely, few things in this world breed contempt like a permanent separation and that rule of thumb is usually only enhanced where a child-in-common is concerned. The breakdown of trust, communication, and cooperation between former partners or spouses can sometimes be remedied by a formal Custody Order, setting forth fairly strict guidelines concerning the parents’ responsibilities to the child and to each other, but not always. That is, even the most airtight Order (assuming that there is some form of split custody) still contemplates some amount of effective cooperation between the parents.

For these reasons, and to prevent the dysfunction which ensues in the life of a child where separated parents cannot seem to get along, we always urge parents to consciously practice certain co-parenting skills by all means possible. We have come to find that parents’ reasonably working together is the best medicine for over-litigiousness and a prophylactic against a seriously unhappy and confused children.

The following is a basic outline of some of the measures which may be taken to ensure the best interests of a child despite separation and irrespective of whether a Custody Order is in place.

A) Scheduling Visitation.  Encouraging a child to spend time with the other (non-primary custodian) parent is vital. Spending substantial amount of time in both households is a boon to the psychological wellbeing of a child, therefore it is necessary that each parent be willing to be both flexible and generous with regards to scheduling the other parent’s custody time. If, for instance, one parent’s work schedule does not permit her to exercise her ordinary custody in a given week, the other party should be agreeable to modifying his general custody to accommodate. To concretely illustrate what a flexible and accommodating custody  arrangement can look like, consider the “2/5 split” suggested for parents who both work full time jobs, Monday through Friday. Under the “2/5” split, one parent would have custody of the child Monday and Tuesday while the other parent would have Wednesday and Thursday; the parents would then alternate the remaining Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Hence, it is called the “2/5” split because, in any given week, one parent would have 2 custodial days while the other would have 5. Furthermore, each party’s permitting a reasonable amount of flexibility in the schedule fosters reciprocating spirit of cooperation and open-dialogue which can be invaluable to avoiding legal disputes down the road.

B) Rules & Routines. Children, by their nature, are “creatures of habit” and require structure. Too often, in split-custody situations, we come across the good-cop/bad-cop paradigm of parenting. Frequently, a parent (typically the one having less than primary physical custody) will make up for time without his child, by failing to enforce discipline in the form of consistent rules and routines for the child. That parent conceives of himself as the good-cop and his conduct is marked by lax-parenting where he allows the child to do essentially whatever he wants. Conversely, the other parent (typically the one having primary custody) becomes the bad-cop where she must shoulder the responsibilities of discipline and structure. This model is obviously not only unfair to the bad-cop, it confuses the child and is a glaring example of co-parenting gone wrong. Therefore, it is important that to the extent possible, both parents maintain the same firm and consistent rules for the child. This latter arrangement is ultimately far healthier for the child and prevents the child from manipulating one parent against the other. Moreover, consistent rules make the job of parenting individually easier for both parties.

C) Responsible Role Model. Nothing influences a child’s development more than the actions of his parents. Whether they convey this or not, children are constantly defining their world, their norm, by what they see their parents/custodians do and how they otherwise act. This point underlines the importance of separated parties’ at least remaining civil to one another. As Family Law attorneys, we can readily acknowledge that separations are often the result of real hurt and/or animosity between people but putting aside that pain for the best interest of a child will reap a great reward.

D) Paper Trail. Consistency of routines (especially custody scheduling) and rules are best facilitated by reducing arrangements to writing. One of the single most effective ways to keep a party obligated to his role as a co-parent is to document arrangements. Short of a formal Court Order (which is always advisable), keeping text messages, e-mails and other communications wherein a party pledged to affirmatively do something or refrain from doing something, in relation to the child, leads to effective co-parenting.

E) Easy Does It. We have heard a few horror stories about what can happen, during child drop-offs, between parents who don’t like each other. Dovetailing with the “Responsible Role Model” objective discussed above, picking-up and dropping-off a child should NEVER become an occasion for parents to renew their hostilities. If the hatred is really that bad, the parties should consider a busy, public location whereat it would be plainly inopportune to argue or otherwise act uncivilly.

F) To Have His Own. Ownership of things is an important aspect in a child’s development, especially in terms of learning independence. Frequently, one parent, out of ill-will to the other parent, will forbid the child traveling between residences with things bought for the child by the other parent. This is an extreme and counterproductive position that will surely back-fire at some point. Children quickly figure out when a parent is using them as a pawn in some grander battle and when the child realizes that one parent would rather the child not have certain things because it comes from the other parent, resentment quickly follows.

Far from exhaustive, the skills of parenting outlined above are just a few of the methods available to ensure the best interest of children. Inherently, children are a work in progress and require as much love, support, and cooperation from and between their parents as is possible. I hope the reader, facing a co-parenting dilemma of his or her own, will find this helpful.

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Oracle Agrees to Settle FTC Charges It Deceived Consumers About Java Software Updates

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Oracle has agreed to settle FTC charges that it deceived consumers about the security provided by updates to its Java Platform, Standard Edition software (Java SE), which is installed on more than 850 million personal computers. Under the terms of a proposed consent order, Oracle will be required to give consumers the ability to easily uninstall insecure, older versions of Java SE.ftc_logo_430

“When a company’s software is on hundreds of millions of computers, it is vital that its statements are true and its security updates actually provide security for the software,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC’s settlement requires Oracle to give Java users the tools and information they need to protect their computers.”

Oracle’s Java SE provides support for a vast array of features consumers use when browsing the web, including browser-based calculators, online gaming, chatrooms, and 3D image viewing.

According to the FTC’s complaint, since acquiring Java in 2010, Oracle was aware of significant security issues affecting older versions of Java SE. The security issues allowed hackers to craft malware that could allow access to consumers’ usernames and passwords for financial accounts, and allow hackers to acquire other sensitive personal information through phishing attacks.

In its complaint, the FTC alleges that Oracle promised consumers that by installing its updates to Java SE both the updates and the consumer’s system would be “safe and secure” with the “latest… security updates.” During the update process, however, Oracle failed to inform consumers that the Java SE update automatically removed only the most recent prior version of the software, and did not remove any other earlier versions of Java SE that might be installed on their computer, and did not uninstall any versions released prior to Java SE version 6 update 10. As a result, after updating Java SE, consumers could still have additional older, insecure versions of the software on their computers that were vulnerable to being hacked.

In 2011, according to the FTC’s complaint, Oracle was aware of the insufficiency of its update process. Internal documents stated that the “Java update mechanism is not aggressive enough or simply not working,” and that a large number of hacking incidents were targeting prior versions of Java SE’s software still installed on consumers’ computers.

While Oracle did have notices on their website relating to the need to remove older versions because of the security risk they posed, the information did not explain that the update process did not automatically remove all older versions of Java SE. The updates continued to remove only the most recent version of Java SE installed until August 2014.

The complaint charges that this failure to disclose the limitations of the updates in light of the statements made about the security benefits of the updates was deceptive and in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act.

Under the terms of the proposed consent order, Oracle will be required to notify consumers during the Java SE update process if they have outdated versions of the software on their computer, notify them of the risk of having the older software, and give them the option to uninstall it. In addition, the company will be required to provide broad notice to consumers via social media and their website about the settlement and how consumers can remove older versions of the software.

The consent order also will prohibit the company from making any further deceptive statements to consumers about the privacy or security of its software and the ability to uninstall older versions of any software Oracle provides.

 

If you or your business have questions or concerns regarding consumer protection, fraud, computer law, privacy, cybersecurity or administrative law matters, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin or any of our attorneys at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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Attempt to Prevent ATF-41p and to Fund Federal Firearms Relief Through Omnibus Appropriation Bill Failed

As many of our viewers are aware, we were closely following H.R. 2578, as it contained two pro-Second Amendment provision, namely Amendment 302 and Amendment 320.

Amendment 302 provided “that such funds appropriated for BATF shall be available to investigate or act upon applications for relief from Federal firearms disabilities under United States Code”

Amendment 320 provided ATF was prohibited from “the use of funds to propose or to issue a rule that would change the Chief Law Enforcement Officer certificate requirement with respect to purchase of suppressors and other firearms regulated by the National Firearms Act.”

Unfortunately, these Amendments were stripped from the final bill – HR 2029 – Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016. As a result, you will not find any text related to Amendment 320 and the text in relation to federal firearms relief remains the same as it has since 1992 –

Provided, That none of the funds appropriated herein shall be available to investigate or act upon applications for relief from Federal firearms disabilities under section 925(c) of title 18, United States Code

As the Obama Administration has pledged to work through the Holiday Season on new regulations to limit our Second Amendment rights, including in relation to ATF-41p, we now need to be prepared to bring the FIGHT to ATF, when they implement a final rule regarding 41p.

We put a LOT of blood, sweat and tears into our initial Comment, as well as, our Supplemental Comment. We have over 400 hrs into them that we did pro-bono. Unfortunately, with the magnitude of this type of litigation, we need funding.

While we understand that it is tough this time of year to donate to a cause, anything you can offer would be greatly appreciated. We are attempting to reach our goal in advance of any final rule being promulgated in relation to 41p, so that we can immediately take action, including filing for a preliminary injunction in an attempt to prevent any final rule from being implemented during the litigation.

For more info and to donate see www.FightATF41p.com and our Press Release.

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