Today, Firearms Industry Consulting Group, a division of Prince Law Offices, P.C., filed an 87 page Complaint, plus exhibits, against the City of Harrisburg, Mayor Papenfuse and Police Chief Carter on behalf of Firearm Owners Against Crime (FOAC) and four individual plaintiffs regarding the City’s illegal and unconstitutional firearm and ammunition ordinances, regulations and policies, including: 3-345.1 – Possession of firearms by minors, 3-345.2 – Discharging weapons or firearms, 3-345.4 – Lost and stolen firearms, 3-355.2 – Emergency measures, and 10-301.13 – Hunting, firearms and fishing. It is docket no. 2015-CV-354-EQ. Unlike the previous complaint that was filed only pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. § 6120, in this suit, Chief Counsel Joshua Prince argues that the City’s ordinances are violative of 18 Pa.C.S. § 6120, Article 1, Section 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, and the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Accordingly, it is also brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivation of civil liberties under color of law.
Although the City was provided an opportunity to repeal its illegal ordinances, in direct defiance of the state crime of Official Oppression, as well as, Section 6120, Mayor Papenfuse declared to Penn Live reporter Christine Vendel: “The city’s not going to repeal its ordinances, because our police department feels that they are in the public interest, and I do too.” Further, Police Chief Carter declared that: “officers regularly cite violators for reckless discharge of guns in the city and when minors are caught in possession of firearms.”
Mayor Papenfuse appears to be unaware that the Commonwealth Court in Dillon v. City of Erie, 83 A.3d 467, 473 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2014), already ruled that the City of Erie’s ordinance prohibiting possession of firearms in parks, which is identical to 10-301.13, was unconstitutional and in violation of Section 6120. Further, in Clarke v. House of Representatives, 957 A.2d 361 (Pa. Cmwlth. Ct. 2008), the Commonwealth Court held that the City of Philadelphia’s lost and stolen ordinance was in violation or Article 1, Section 21 and Section 6120.
It is unfortunate that City’s taxpayers will be burdened by the City’s elected officials and law enforcement officers believing it is acceptable, and even gloating, that they are violating the Crimes Code by charging individuals, pursuant to illegal and unlawful ordinances, regulations and policies and refusing to repeal such illegal provisions.
As it is a misdemeanor of the first degree to violate Section 6120, pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. § 6119, we call upon Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico to bring charges against the City and its representatives for their violations of the Crimes Code, including conspiracy, solicitation, aiding and abetting, official oppression, and Section 6120. It is time that our elected officials be held accountable for their actions.