Recently, the City of Philadelphia, through Philadelphia’s Department of Licenses and Inspections, violated the confidentiality requirements of any License To Carry Firearms (LTCF) application, with its new web application which allowed for disclosure of any LTCF applicant’s information where the applicant was denied, revoked, or appealed. While I didn’t have an opportunity to review the site before the Gun Permit Section was taken down, it would not surprise me that approved licensee information was also disclosed. Several articles were posted, originally with the applicants names and addresses being depicted (as disclosed by the City), but late redacted once the City removed the Gun Permit section from the site.
Victor Fiorillo originally posted an article here, wherein he copied the name, address and information relating to the denial, revocation, or appeal, which the City website provided. He states that by 9:30 AM on August 15th, the Gun Permit information was removed. By 1:30PM, he reported, “L&I spokesperson Maura Kennedy confirms that the information was removed from the city’s website at the request of the police department. The police referred me to the mayor’s office, and the mayor’s office says it is reviewing the matter.”
By 4:40PM, he wrote “Mark McDonald from the mayor’s press office called with the following explanation: ‘The legal department has determined that this is public information. Its publication is legal. An individual who is denied a permit and files an appeal, that person has waived their right to confidentiality. All that said, within the government, there is a concern about the propriety of publishing the information, and so we’re looking at this again. On the one hand, city government wants to be transparent and believes in the concept of open data. Access to information makes for strong citizenry and effective government. But on the other hand, there are public safety concerns with regard to this information. Perhaps some of it should be redacted, although we haven’t made a conclusion that way. We’ll work toward a decision to whether this stuff gets put back up.'”
Then, at 5:45, he posted ” In light of concerns over public safety and in light of the fact that the city has removed Internet access to the information pending a policy review, we have redacted all names and addresses from this article.”
This is another blatant violation of Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act by the City of Philadelphia. We are preparing a group of plaintiffs to file suit against the City of Philadelphia. If you know that your information was disclosed or have ever applied for an LTCF in Philadelphia and been denied, had your license revoked, or otherwise appealed a decision relating to your LTCF, please call us today so that we can discuss your options. It is time to end the games played by the City of Philadelphia.