VA Actively Depriving Veterans of Second Amendment Rights

Today, I met with a client who was denied by FBI / PSP because of, as stated on the denial, “Veterans Affairs Administration.”

Although I’ve vociferously spoken out against the VA being able to strip individuals’ Second Amendment rights, in all honesty, until today, I had not seen a case where a veteran had actually been denied in the absence of an actual involuntary mental health commitment or formal adjudication of incompetence. Today, that all changed.

While past stories discuss denying a veteran, where the veteran elected to have a third-party handle his/her financial affairs (and of course, I have to question how someone who is deemed to be “incompetent” can execute a form competently…but I digress), my client’s denial is far more egregious – as if, I ever thought I could see such a situation.

In my client’s situation, he handles all of his own finances. The VA does not dispute this. Rather, when I finally got a representative from the VA on the line, she informed us that the VA, on its own initiative, placed him into “supervised direct payment status”. When I inquired as to what “supervised direct payment status” was, the representative stated that it is where the veteran handles his/her own financial affairs but they “watch the veteran’s financial accounts.” While the VA contended that they sent out a letter about this status being imposed on my client, my client never received such a letter and they acknowledged that it does not mention anything about the loss of the veteran’s Second Amendment rights, but that the VA has been imposing such since 2013.

No due process is provided. The representative acknowledged that my client never received a hearing and that the determination that my client was incompetent was made solely by a VA official reviewing his case. She stated that he could have appealed the determination when he received the original letter, but the time has since past to appeal. Remember, this is the letter that my client never received and which makes no mention of the loss of one’s Second Amendment rights…

While they have reluctantly agreed to send my client copies of the putative letter that they allegedly previously sent, they refused to provide his entire file, even at my request. This is the new Veteran Affairs Administration, folks. We now treat our illegal immigrants with more respect and benefits than our own veterans. This is an absolute disgrace and the VA’s policies and procedures need to be immediately reversed. Of course, we’re all aware that such is unlikely if former Secretary Clinton is elected…


Filed under ATF, Firearms Law

National Cyber Security Awareness Month – Tips and Resources for your Protection

homeland-securityOctober is National Cyber Security Awareness Month which is an annual campaign to raise awareness about cybersecurity. We live in a world that is more connected than ever before. The Internet touches almost all aspects of everyone’s daily life, whether we realize it or not. National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) is designed to engage and educate public and private sector partners through events and initiatives to raise awareness about cybersecurity, provide them with tools and resources needed to stay safe online, and increase the resiliency of the Nation in the event of a cyber incident.


governor-tom-wolfGov. Tom Wolf proclaimed October 2016 Cybersecurity Awareness Month in Pennsylvania. “The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recognizes that it has a vital role in identifying, protecting and responding to cyber threats that may have a significant impact on our individual and collective security and privacy,” said Gov. Wolf in a proclamation.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC or Commission) recently highlighted National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and the collaborative work being done to protect Pennsylvania’s critical infrastructure, while also reminding consumers to take efforts to puc_sealprotect their personal information.

PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown in a recent statement said “Cybersecurity affects all of us – every industry, every country, every agency and every consumer.”

“The PUC works with all of our regulated utilities on an all-hazards approach to security – both physical and cybersecurity,” said Chairman Brown in video comments. “Our work with utilities is aimed at the security of utility data and the security of utility systems”

The PUC has published a Cybersecurity Best Practices for Small and Medium Pennsylvania Utilities which is an excellent resource for businesses of all types and individuals and is available on the Commission’s website and outlines for utilities ways to prevent identity or property theft; how to manage vendors and contractors who may have access to a company’s data; what to know about anti-virus software, firewalls and network infrastructure; how to protect physical assets, such as a computer in a remote location or a misplaced employee device; how to respond to a cyber-attack and preserve forensic information after the fact; how to report incidents; the potential benefits of engaging a law firm in advance of a breach; and a list of federal cyber incident resources.

While work with the utilities continues, Brown stressed that it is equally important for consumers to take steps to increase their personal protection against cybercrime, including:

  • Do not click on links or pop-ups, or open attachments, from strangers;
  • Always enter a URL by hand instead of following links if you are unsure of the sender;
  • Do not respond to online requests for Personally Identifiable Information (PII); most organizations – banks, universities, companies, etc. – do not ask for your personal information over the Internet;
  • Limit who you are sharing information with by reviewing the privacy settings on your social media accounts;
  • Trust your gut; if you think an offer is too good to be true, then it probably is;
  • Set strong passwords, change them regularly, and don’t share them with anyone;
  • Keep your operating system, browser, and other critical software optimized by installing updates; and
  • Maintain an open dialogue with your friends, family, colleagues and community about Internet safety.

To learn how Prince Law Offices, P.C. can assist you or your business with Cybersecurity and Computer Law matters, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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Filed under Business Law, Communications Law, Computer Law, Consumer Advocacy, Energy Law

PA PUC ‘Be Utility Wise’ Events; Increasing Awareness about Utility Customer Assistance Programs

puc_sealThe Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is hosting its second of five statewide annual PA “Be Utility Wise” events on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at Mohegan Sun, 1280 Highway 315, Wilkes-Barre, PA. The outreach events will continue across Pennsylvania through October and November, including Reading on October 31, 2016.

PUC Vice Chairman Andrew Place is the opening speaker at the Wilkes-Barre event, which will focus on the importance of increasing awareness throughout Northeastern PA about the many assistance programs intended to help lower-income residents afford and maintain utility services.

“It is essential that we work to connect all the different programs in a community to more effectively serve as many people as possible,” said Vice Chairman Andrew Place. “We need to stay connected to each other to best serve those residents. Our driving focus is to keep these families connected to essential utility services.”

According to data compiled by the PUC, Pennsylvania utilities spent nearly $459 million on various customer assistance programs last year, not counting private assistance or the federal Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Every year, these programs helped reduce the monthly bills for more than 280,000 electric customers and over 160,000 natural gas customers across the state – and enrollment and annual spending for these programs has increased dramatically over the past decade.

Additionally, PUC-required assistance services also support programs to help low-income customers modernize their heating systems and reduce their energy consumption – making current and future utility bills more affordable. Utilities, and their customers, also contribute several million dollars per year in hardship funds, assisting thousands of in-need families.

In addition to networking opportunities, the free “train-the-trainer” event will feature presentations from state agencies, local utility companies and other financial assistance programs in order to share ideas and services.

This year’s participants include the PUC, United Way of Greater Hazleton, PPL Electric Utilities Inc., UGI Utilities Inc., Dollar Energy Fund, North Penn Legal, Commission on Economic Opportunity, Weinberg Regional Food Bank, the state’s Office of Consumer Advocate, and the Luzerne County Assistance Office.

The remaining PUC’s Be Utility Wise events include:

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton – Oct. 20, 2016, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Mohegan Sun

1280 Highway 315

Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702

Johnstown – Oct. 28, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

450 Schoolhouse Rd.

Johnstown, PA 15904

Berks County – Oct. 31, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Double Tree by Hilton

701 Penn Street

Reading, PA  19601

Harrisburg – Nov. 15, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Red Lion Inn

4751 Lindle Rd.

Harrisburg PA 17111

To learn how Prince Law Offices, P.C. can assist you or your business with PUC matters, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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Filed under Business Law, Energy Law, Landlord/Tenant, News & Events

Press Release: Second Mental Health As-Applied Challenge Success

We are extremely proud to announce that Chief Counsel Joshua Prince was successful in a second Second Amendment as-applied challenge in relation to a prior mental health commitment.

As our viewers are likely aware from Attorney Prince’s blog article Monumental Decision from the Middle District Court of Pennsylvania Regarding Mental Health Commitments and the Second Amendment, approximately three months ago, Attorney Prince was successful in obtaining relief for Mr. Yox, who had previously been involuntarily committed as a juvenile but later went on to honorably serve in our Armed Forces and later as a state correctional officer. Under federal law, Mr. Yox was permitted to possess a firearm and ammunition in his official capacity as a law enforcement officer, but was precluded from possessing a firearm and ammunition in his private capacity. In fact, in providing relief to Mr. Yox, the court declared:

Indeed, Mr. Yox provides the perfect test case to challenge § 922(g)(4), as the illogical contradiction of being able to possess firearms in his professional capacities but not being able to possess a firearm for protection in his own home puts in relief a factual scenario where an as-applied Second Amendment challenge to this statute may succeed.

Indeed, if Mr. Yox were not to succeed on his as-applied challenge, we cannot imagine that there exists any person who could.

Unfortunately, the court had previously dismissed his co-plaintiff’s (Mr. Keyes’) identical arguments on the basis that the Pennsylvania Superior Court had already considered his Second Amendment challenge and found against him in In re Keyes. After rendering its decision on Plaintiff Yox’s claims, Mr. Keyes filed a request for the court to reconsider its prior ruling and arguing that it would be a manifest injustice if the court were deny him relief based on the faulty decision of the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

Yesterday, Judge John E. Jones, III. overturned his prior holding finding that Mr. Keyes’ Second Amendment as-applied claim was barred and declared that Mr. Keyes “is in a materially identical situation” to Mr. Yox and that denying Keyes, while granting relief to Mr. Yox, would seem to constitute an “inequitable administration of the law” and “manifest injustice.”Judge Jones specifically declared in finding that the Pennsylvania Superior Court incorrectly analyzed his prior Second Amendment challenge:

The result is that Keyes is left behind while his co-Plaintiff receives full relief simply because Keyes pursued his Second Amendment claims in what turned out to be the wrong court. He is left with no recourse to receive vindication of his constitutional right to bear arms, even though this Court has, for all material purposes, made clear that his claim has full merit. This is a grossly unfair and inequitable result.

Judge Jones went on to state that “[w]e would be hard pressed to think of a better example of an inequitable administration of the laws, and it is a circumstance that cries out to be rectified.”

Please join us in congratulating Attorney Prince for this monumental victory, as well as, Judge Jones for ensuring that for every wrong committed, the court has the power to correct it. It is extremely refreshing to see a judge who is willing to reconsider his or her own prior holdings and decisions to ensure that justice prevails.


Filed under ATF, Firearms Law

PSP Illegally Disclosing LTCF Information Through NCIC

Over the past couple days, I have received several reports, one from a 911 dispatcher, that approximately 3 days ago, an update was completed to the NCIC system, whereby when an officer in Pennsylvania runs an individual’s driver’s license, if the individual has a license to carry firearms (LTCF), the information relating to the individual’s LTCF is disclosed to the officer and everyone in the call center. This is in violation of the law.

18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(g)(3.1) provides:

Any person, licensed dealer, licensed manufacturer or licensed importer who knowingly and intentionally obtains or furnishes information collected or maintained pursuant to section 6109 [LTCF firearms information] for any purpose other than compliance with this chapter or who knowingly or intentionally disseminates, publishes or otherwise makes available such information to any person other than the subject of the information commits a felony of the third degree. (Emphasis added)

Further, 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(i) provides, in pertinent part:

All information provided by the … applicant, including, but not limited to, the … applicant’s name or identity, furnished by … any applicant for a license to carry a firearm as provided by section 6109 shall be confidential and not subject to public disclosure. In addition to any other sanction or penalty imposed by this chapter, any person, licensed dealer, State or local governmental agency or department that violates this subsection shall be liable in civil damages in the amount of $ 1,000 per occurrence or three times the actual damages incurred as a result of the violation, whichever is greater, as well as reasonable attorney fees.

While there has always been an offline database that an officer could query if he/she had reasonable suspicion of a crime relating to the carrying of a firearm or the validity of a LTCF, there is no legal basis for disclosure of confidential LTCF information relative to a driving infraction or merely running one’s driver’s license. Furthermore, even if there was, it is illegal to disclose this information to individuals other than a law enforcement officer acting in the scope of his/her duties. As I understand the new system, it is being relayed to emergency responders, which may even include tow truck drivers that are part of the system.

If you have more information on this new system, please let us know. We will continue to keep our viewers apprised as we learn more.

If you confidential LTCF information has been disclosed, contact us today to discuss your options!


Filed under Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

Allentown RTKL Response to Illegal Firearm Regulation Proposals

As many of our viewers are aware, I frequently submit Right to Know Law (RTKL) requests to municipalities in relation to firearms law matters. After the City of Allentown noticed its intent to propose and adopt new firearm ordinances, in violation of 18 Pa.C.S. § 6120, I filed a RTKL Request seeking information relative to the proposals, including communications related thereto.

Specifically, I requested:

Any letter, email, fax or written communication from any person in the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office or any person from the Office for Solicitor for the City of Allentown relating to any existing or proposed ordinance or regulation relating to firearms or ammunition from January 1, 2008 through the present.  Reporter Emily Opilo recently published an article stating that letters received from District Attorney Martin and Solicitor Wild relating to a proposed ordinance regulating firearms and ammunition were discussed at a meeting on August 17, 2016 –

Today, I received a response from the City approving in part and denying in part my request. In addition to the cover letter, they produced 52 pages of records. While many of the pages are copies of cases, pages 1-2, 45-50 and 51-52 are letters from Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin informing the City, the City Council members and Mayor Ed Pawlowski that any such regulation is unlawful and unconstitutional. While it is extremely refreshing to see a District Attorney actively involved in a firearm and ammunition preemption issue, its unfortunate that no mention was made of the criminality of violating Section 6120, as such would be a misdemeanor of the first degree, pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. § 6119, as well as constituting official oppression. Maybe, District Attorney Martin was saving the best for last, in case they elected to move forward with an illegal and unconstitutional regulation.

I, personally, would like to thank and commend District Attorney Martin for immediately and preemptively addressing this issue. Come election time, please always remember that District Attorney Martin is a staunch defender of Article 1, Section 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.

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Filed under Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

BREAKING: BATFE Has Not Changed Anything Relating to Fingerprints for NFA Firearms


This morning posted a story which stated that ATF had revised its ruling in relation to fingerprints for NFA firearms. The article claims that ATF now requires law enforcement agencies to take fingerprints rather than anyone qualified to. To support this position the article links to ATF’s Explosives website.

As always, the information is provided by an anonymous source. Had the source or looked at where the information came from, they would have clearly been able to see that this is simply not true. I’m a bit disappointed in because usually they are an excellent source for correct information.

The problem is that the link goes to the Explosives portion of the website, NOT the firearms part. This is the same link that SilencerCo had previously used to support its position that Silencer Shop’s Secure Identity Documentation (SID) system would not be acceptable for the purposes of NFA firearms when it had sent an email to a major distributor earlier this year.

The link the article points to states:

How do I get my fingerprints taken?

Fingerprints must be submitted on Fingerprint Identification Cards, FD–258 that have been issued by ATF. The fingerprint cards must contain the following ORI information: WVATF0900; ATF–NATL EXPL LIC, MARTINSBURG WV. These fingerprint cards may be obtained by contacting the Federal Explosives Licensing Center at 877-283-3352 or the ATF Distribution Center at 703-870-7526 or 703-870-7528. The fingerprint cards must be completed by your local law enforcement authority.

Last Reviewed September 23, 2016

Emphasis added. Further if we look at the website the link goes to, we can clearly denote it is in the explosives area by looking at the information found on the left and above the question.


ATF’s own Q&A relating to ATF 41F states that a licensee may take fingerprints provided they are properly equipped.

Q. May a Federal firearms licensee fingerprint a customer? As an FFL dealer, can we fingerprint our customers?

A. Fingerprints may be taken by anyone who is properly equipped to take them (see instructions on ATF Form 1, Form 4, Form 5, and Form 5320.23). Therefore, applicants may utilize the service of any business or government agency that is properly equipped to take fingerprints.”

As if there were any doubt, let us head to the regulations to review them.

In relation to the transfer of an NFA firearm, 27 C.F.R. § 479.85 Identification of Transferee states:

(a) If the transferee is an individual, such person shall:


(2) Attach to the application two properly completed FBI Forms FD-258 (Fingerprint Card). The fingerprints must be clear for accurate classification and should be taken by someone properly equipped to take them.

In relation to the making of an NFA firearm, 27 C.F.R. § 479.63 Identification of Applicant states:

(a) If the applicant is an individual, the applicant shall:


(2) Attach to the application two properly completed FBI Forms FD-258 (Fingerprint Card). The fingerprints must be clear for accurate classification and should be taken by someone properly equipped to take them.

(b) If the transferee is not a licensed manufacturer, importer, or dealer qualified under this part and is a partnership, company, association, trust, or corporation, such person shall:

(2) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, attach to the application –

(iv) Two properly completed FBI Forms FD-258 (Fingerprint Card) for each responsible person. The fingerprints must be clear for accurate classification and should be taken by someone properly equipped to take them.

(b) If the applicant is not a licensed manufacturer, importer, or dealer qualified under this part and is a partnership, company (including a Limited Liability Company (LLC)), association, trust, or corporation, the applicant shall:

(2) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, attach to the application –

(iv) Two properly completed FBI Forms FD-258 (Fingerprint Card) for each responsible person. The fingerprints must be clear for accurate classification and should be taken by someone properly equipped to take them.

Once again, we see there is no support for the proposition ATF changed anything. If you are applying to make or transfer an NFA firearm you can roll your own fingerprints, utilize Silencer Shop’s SID kiosk, have your FFL roll your fingerprints or head over to your local law enforcement to have them taken.

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Filed under ATF, Firearms Law, Gun Trusts, Uncategorized