Today, Chief Counsel Joshua Prince, assisted by Attorney Dillon Harris, secured a monumental victory for the residents of Pennsylvania, when the Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough issued a preliminary injunction against the Pennsylvania State Police in Firearm Owners Against Crime – Institute for Legal, Legislative and Educational Action, et al. v. PSP Commissioner Evanchick, in relation to its non-compliance with 18 Pa.C.S. 6111.1, by failing to provide instantaneous or otherwise immediate responses to firearm background checks.
Specifically, in reviewing the testimony and evidentiary record, Judge McCullough found
Lt. Keller confirmed that wait times routinely exceed 9-10 hours during peak times. In fact, the background check of Benjamin Brown, the owner of Petitioner Landmark Firearms, LLC, took over 20 hours, which is especially surprising because he is the holder of a federal firearms license which authorizes him to sell firearms and, as such, he is clearly not a person prohibited by law from obtaining a firearm. The testimony
further revealed numerous instances where prospective purchasers of firearms canceled their purchases because of excessive wait times, thus causing Petitioners to lose the profits that they would have received from those sales. These delays, especially during gun shows (of which PSP has prior notice) have been going on now for years, and PSP does not appear to have a clear plan in place to abate these wait times.
As a result, Judge McCullough held
The Court therefore concludes that Petitioners have made a preliminary showing that PSP has a statutory duty under sections 6111.1(b) and 6111.1(c) of the Firearms Act to conduct immediate background checks and provide the results immediately or, at least, without delay. It further has a duty to employ a sufficient number of operators in the PICS Operations Section to ensure that all of its duties under section 6111.1 are administered expeditiously. PSP is in violation of section 6111.1 in that the results from a significant portion of PICS background checks are delayed significantly, which delays are causing financial harm to sellers. The delays are caused at least in part by PSP’s failure to adequately staff its PICS Operations Section to meet increased demand.
Petitioners have established all of the prerequisites for the Court to grant preliminary relief. The Court accordingly will grant Petitioners’ Application in part and enjoin PSP from further noncompliance with section 6111.1 of the Firearms Act. The Court will defer awarding additional relief until after the final disposition of the preliminary objections set for expedited argument on September 12, 2022.
If your constitutional rights have been infringed upon by the Commonwealth or agency thereof, contact FICG today to discuss YOUR 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.