As the year is coming to a close, we thought it important to document some of the monumental court decisions and issues that Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®), a division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., was involved in or obtained in 2018.
- Commonwealth v. Hicks – the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in a 53 page opinion that used a significant portion of the Amicus Brief we submitted on behalf of Members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Firearm Owners Against Crime and Firearms Policy Coalition, ruled that mere open or concealed carry of a firearm does not constitute reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. The Commonwealth appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which recently denied its petition for certiorari.
- Firearm Owners Against Crime, et al. v. City of Pittsburgh, et al. – Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge James struck down all three illegal firearm, ammunition, and red flag ordinances enacted by the City of Pittsburgh. Thereafter, Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto and Chief Executive Officer Fitzgerald conspired to unseat Judge James for ruling against the City, but thankfully, we found out and were able to draw attention to it, before any action was taken. The City of Pittsburgh has now appealed the decision to the Commonwealth Court. If you’re in a position to be able to contribute to the cause, please see the article regarding the City’s appeal to the Commonwealth Court.
- Firearm owners Against Crime, et al. v. City of Harrisburg, et al. – we were successful in having the Commonwealth Court, en banc, overturn its prior precedent and hold that and an individual does not need to be prosecuted in order to have standign to challenge an illegal firearm or ammunition ordinance.
- Wilborn v. Barr, et al. – in a monumental federal decision, Judge Jeffrey Schmehl of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that an involuntary commitment under Section 302 of Pennsylvania’s Mental Health and Procedures Act (“MHPA”) is insufficient to trigger a federal firearms and ammunition disability under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4). We are currently awaiting a decision from Judge Schmehl regarding our request for an injunction, precluding the ATF from contending that a 302 commitment triggers a prohibition for anyone, who was solely 302’ed. This case follow our major win the year before in Franklin v. Sessions, et al., where Judge Kim Gibson of the Western District of Pennsylvania ruled that an involuntary commitment under Section 302 of Pennsylvania’s Mental Health and Procedures Act (“MHPA”) is insufficient to trigger a federal firearms and ammunition disability under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4).
- John Doe, et al. v. County of Monroe, et al. – we were successful in certifying a class of more than 17,000 individuals who had their license to carry firearms applicant information disclosed by the Defendants through their use of un-enveloped postcards.
- PSP v. Sama – we were successful in having the Commonwealth Court rule that an individual who receives a full pardon is neither prohibited from purchasing and possessing a firearms and ammunition nor prohibited from obtaining a license to carry firearms.
- Miller v. Sessions, et al. – in another federal case of monumental importance and case of first impression, Judge Eduardo Robreno of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled in a 25 page memorandum that it was unconstitutional, as-applied to Mr. Miller, to prevent him from exercising his Second Amendment right as a result of a 1998 misdemeanor conviction under the vehicle code – specifically, the alteration of a PennDOT window tint exemption form.
- Chief Counsel Prince, in conjunction with Psychologist H. Anthony Semone, testified before Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee on September 25, 2019, regarding mental/behavioral health, Second Amendment rights and other gun related issues. He also testified before the Pennsylvania House Health and Judiciary Committees, in a joint committee hearing, regarding the effect of marijuana usage on Second Amendment rights.
- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives issued a determination that a grant of state relief in relation to a prior mental health commitment is sufficient to relieve the individual of any prohibition under federal law.
- Although the Pennsylvania Republican leadership was pushing legislators to enact an extreme risk protection order (ERPO) bill, we were successful in precluding any such ERPO bill from coming to the floor for a vote.
- We also saw Gunsense threatening Pennsylvania Sheriffs and demanding that they disclose confidential license to carry firearms applicant information.
- We also saw limited Sunday hunting coming to Pennsylvania in 2020.
So what can we expect for the new year?
- Landmark Firearms, LLC, et al. v. Colonel Evanchick – Litigation over Attorney General Shapiro’s legal determination and the Pennsylvania State Police’s interpretation of it and what the PSP is referring to as “80% receivers”, which resulted in an emergency filing with the Commonwealth Court.
- The U.S. Supreme Court making a decision on whether to grant certiorari in relation to our challenge to the bumpstock ban.
- Two decisions from the Third Circuit relating to Second Amendment as-applied challenges: (1) related to an individual who is prohibited due to a DUI; and (2) related to a young ladyl who is prohibited due to a false statement on a tax return.
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If you or someone you know has had their right to keep and bear arms infringed, contact Firearms Industry Consulting Group today to discuss YOUR rights and legal options.
Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®) is a registered trademark and division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., with rights and permissions granted to Prince Law Offices, P.C. to use in this article.