Recently, the City of Harrisburg announced that it was accepting donations to support its fight against several lawsuits, including ours, in relation to its illegal and unlawful firearm ordinances. However, it appears that the City’s solicitor didn’t think through this request in relation to Pennsylvania’s Crimes Code.
Let’s start with the underlying statute that prohibits any municipality from regulating firearms and ammunition. 18 Pa.C.S. 6120 provides:
No county, municipality or township may in any manner regulate the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by the laws of this Commonwealth.
18 Pa.C.S. 6119 then goes on to declare:
Except as otherwise specifically provided, an offense under this subchapter constitutes a misdemeanor of the first degree.
Therefore, it is a misdemeanor of the 1st degree for any county, municipality or township to violate Section 6120.
Moreover, 18 PA.C.S. 5301 – Official Oppression, provides:
A person acting or purporting to act in an official capacity or taking advantage of such actual or purported capacity commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if, knowing that his conduct is illegal, he:(1) subjects another to arrest, detention, search, seizure, mistreatment, dispossession, assessment, lien or other infringement of personal or property rights;or(2) denies or impedes another in the exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power or immunity.
Thus, any City official that “impedes another in the exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power or immunity” is guilty of official oppression, which is a misdemeanor of the second degree. As the PA Supreme Court in Commonwealth v. Ortiz already held that municipalities are precluded from regulating, in any manner, firearms and ammunition pursuant to Article 1, Section 21 and 18 Pa.C.S. 6120, the City of Harrisburg and its officials’ conduct indisputably constitutes official oppression.
Pennsylvania’s Crimes Code also includes crimes for attempt, solicitation and conspiracy.
Specifically, 18 Pa.C.S. 901 addresses criminal attempt and declares:
A person commits an attempt when, with intent to commit a specific crime, he does any act which constitutes a substantial step toward the commission of that crime.
18 Pa.C.S. 902 addresses criminal solicitation:
A person is guilty of solicitation to commit a crime if with the intent of promoting or facilitating its commission he commands, encourages or requests another person to engage in specific conduct which would constitute such crime or an attempt to commit such crime or which would establish his complicity in its commission or attempted commission.
Lastly, 18 Pa.C.S. 903 addresses criminal conspiracy:
A person is guilty of conspiracy with another person or persons to commit a crime if with the intent of promoting or facilitating its commission he:(1) agrees with such other person or persons that they or one or more of them will engage in conduct which constitutes such crime or an attempt or solicitation to commit such crime; or(2) agrees to aid such other person or persons in the planning or commission of such crime or of an attempt or solicitation to commit such crime.
As the City is now soliciting individuals to fund and support its litigation involving its unlawful firearm and ammunition ordinances, so that it can continue to enforce these illegal and unlawful ordinances, it seems clear that the City and Mayor Papenfuse are involved in attempting to solicit people to conspire to violate Article 1, Section 21, and Sections 5301 and 6120 of the Crimes Code and anyone donating in support would likewise be attempting and conspiring to violate Sections 5301 and 6120. As the Commonwealth Court has already ruled in Dillon v. City of Erie that an identical parks ordinance was illegal and in Clarke v. House of Representatives ruled that lost and stolen ordinances are illegal, there can be no dispute that the City of Harrisburg and its elected officials have violated Sections 5301 and 6120. Therefore, we call upon District Attorney Marsico to bring charges against all of those involved, including the City of Harrisburg and its elected officials for violating Sections 5301 and 6120. It is time that our district attorneys hold our publicly elected officials accountable for their criminal acts.