Category Archives: Firearms Law

VA Actively Depriving Veterans of Second Amendment Rights

Today, I met with a client who was denied by FBI / PSP because of, as stated on the denial, “Veterans Affairs Administration.”

Although I’ve vociferously spoken out against the VA being able to strip individuals’ Second Amendment rights, in all honesty, until today, I had not seen a case where a veteran had actually been denied in the absence of an actual involuntary mental health commitment or formal adjudication of incompetence. Today, that all changed.

While past stories discuss denying a veteran, where the veteran elected to have a third-party handle his/her financial affairs (and of course, I have to question how someone who is deemed to be “incompetent” can execute a form competently…but I digress), my client’s denial is far more egregious – as if, I ever thought I could see such a situation.

In my client’s situation, he handles all of his own finances. The VA does not dispute this. Rather, when I finally got a representative from the VA on the line, she informed us that the VA, on its own initiative, placed him into “supervised direct payment status”. When I inquired as to what “supervised direct payment status” was, the representative stated that it is where the veteran handles his/her own financial affairs but they “watch the veteran’s financial accounts.” While the VA contended that they sent out a letter about this status being imposed on my client, my client never received such a letter and they acknowledged that it does not mention anything about the loss of the veteran’s Second Amendment rights, but that the VA has been imposing such since 2013.

No due process is provided. The representative acknowledged that my client never received a hearing and that the determination that my client was incompetent was made solely by a VA official reviewing his case. She stated that he could have appealed the determination when he received the original letter, but the time has since past to appeal. Remember, this is the letter that my client never received and which makes no mention of the loss of one’s Second Amendment rights…

While they have reluctantly agreed to send my client copies of the putative letter that they allegedly previously sent, they refused to provide his entire file, even at my request. This is the new Veteran Affairs Administration, folks. We now treat our illegal immigrants with more respect and benefits than our own veterans. This is an absolute disgrace and the VA’s policies and procedures need to be immediately reversed. Of course, we’re all aware that such is unlikely if former Secretary Clinton is elected…


Filed under ATF, Firearms Law

Press Release: Second Mental Health As-Applied Challenge Success

We are extremely proud to announce that Chief Counsel Joshua Prince was successful in a second Second Amendment as-applied challenge in relation to a prior mental health commitment.

As our viewers are likely aware from Attorney Prince’s blog article Monumental Decision from the Middle District Court of Pennsylvania Regarding Mental Health Commitments and the Second Amendment, approximately three months ago, Attorney Prince was successful in obtaining relief for Mr. Yox, who had previously been involuntarily committed as a juvenile but later went on to honorably serve in our Armed Forces and later as a state correctional officer. Under federal law, Mr. Yox was permitted to possess a firearm and ammunition in his official capacity as a law enforcement officer, but was precluded from possessing a firearm and ammunition in his private capacity. In fact, in providing relief to Mr. Yox, the court declared:

Indeed, Mr. Yox provides the perfect test case to challenge § 922(g)(4), as the illogical contradiction of being able to possess firearms in his professional capacities but not being able to possess a firearm for protection in his own home puts in relief a factual scenario where an as-applied Second Amendment challenge to this statute may succeed.

Indeed, if Mr. Yox were not to succeed on his as-applied challenge, we cannot imagine that there exists any person who could.

Unfortunately, the court had previously dismissed his co-plaintiff’s (Mr. Keyes’) identical arguments on the basis that the Pennsylvania Superior Court had already considered his Second Amendment challenge and found against him in In re Keyes. After rendering its decision on Plaintiff Yox’s claims, Mr. Keyes filed a request for the court to reconsider its prior ruling and arguing that it would be a manifest injustice if the court were deny him relief based on the faulty decision of the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

Yesterday, Judge John E. Jones, III. overturned his prior holding finding that Mr. Keyes’ Second Amendment as-applied claim was barred and declared that Mr. Keyes “is in a materially identical situation” to Mr. Yox and that denying Keyes, while granting relief to Mr. Yox, would seem to constitute an “inequitable administration of the law” and “manifest injustice.”Judge Jones specifically declared in finding that the Pennsylvania Superior Court incorrectly analyzed his prior Second Amendment challenge:

The result is that Keyes is left behind while his co-Plaintiff receives full relief simply because Keyes pursued his Second Amendment claims in what turned out to be the wrong court. He is left with no recourse to receive vindication of his constitutional right to bear arms, even though this Court has, for all material purposes, made clear that his claim has full merit. This is a grossly unfair and inequitable result.

Judge Jones went on to state that “[w]e would be hard pressed to think of a better example of an inequitable administration of the laws, and it is a circumstance that cries out to be rectified.”

Please join us in congratulating Attorney Prince for this monumental victory, as well as, Judge Jones for ensuring that for every wrong committed, the court has the power to correct it. It is extremely refreshing to see a judge who is willing to reconsider his or her own prior holdings and decisions to ensure that justice prevails.


Filed under ATF, Firearms Law

PSP Illegally Disclosing LTCF Information Through NCIC

Over the past couple days, I have received several reports, one from a 911 dispatcher, that approximately 3 days ago, an update was completed to the NCIC system, whereby when an officer in Pennsylvania runs an individual’s driver’s license, if the individual has a license to carry firearms (LTCF), the information relating to the individual’s LTCF is disclosed to the officer and everyone in the call center. This is in violation of the law.

18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(g)(3.1) provides:

Any person, licensed dealer, licensed manufacturer or licensed importer who knowingly and intentionally obtains or furnishes information collected or maintained pursuant to section 6109 [LTCF firearms information] for any purpose other than compliance with this chapter or who knowingly or intentionally disseminates, publishes or otherwise makes available such information to any person other than the subject of the information commits a felony of the third degree. (Emphasis added)

Further, 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(i) provides, in pertinent part:

All information provided by the … applicant, including, but not limited to, the … applicant’s name or identity, furnished by … any applicant for a license to carry a firearm as provided by section 6109 shall be confidential and not subject to public disclosure. In addition to any other sanction or penalty imposed by this chapter, any person, licensed dealer, State or local governmental agency or department that violates this subsection shall be liable in civil damages in the amount of $ 1,000 per occurrence or three times the actual damages incurred as a result of the violation, whichever is greater, as well as reasonable attorney fees.

While there has always been an offline database that an officer could query if he/she had reasonable suspicion of a crime relating to the carrying of a firearm or the validity of a LTCF, there is no legal basis for disclosure of confidential LTCF information relative to a driving infraction or merely running one’s driver’s license. Furthermore, even if there was, it is illegal to disclose this information to individuals other than a law enforcement officer acting in the scope of his/her duties. As I understand the new system, it is being relayed to emergency responders, which may even include tow truck drivers that are part of the system.

If you have more information on this new system, please let us know. We will continue to keep our viewers apprised as we learn more.

If you confidential LTCF information has been disclosed, contact us today to discuss your options!


Filed under Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

Allentown RTKL Response to Illegal Firearm Regulation Proposals

As many of our viewers are aware, I frequently submit Right to Know Law (RTKL) requests to municipalities in relation to firearms law matters. After the City of Allentown noticed its intent to propose and adopt new firearm ordinances, in violation of 18 Pa.C.S. § 6120, I filed a RTKL Request seeking information relative to the proposals, including communications related thereto.

Specifically, I requested:

Any letter, email, fax or written communication from any person in the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office or any person from the Office for Solicitor for the City of Allentown relating to any existing or proposed ordinance or regulation relating to firearms or ammunition from January 1, 2008 through the present.  Reporter Emily Opilo recently published an article stating that letters received from District Attorney Martin and Solicitor Wild relating to a proposed ordinance regulating firearms and ammunition were discussed at a meeting on August 17, 2016 –

Today, I received a response from the City approving in part and denying in part my request. In addition to the cover letter, they produced 52 pages of records. While many of the pages are copies of cases, pages 1-2, 45-50 and 51-52 are letters from Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin informing the City, the City Council members and Mayor Ed Pawlowski that any such regulation is unlawful and unconstitutional. While it is extremely refreshing to see a District Attorney actively involved in a firearm and ammunition preemption issue, its unfortunate that no mention was made of the criminality of violating Section 6120, as such would be a misdemeanor of the first degree, pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. § 6119, as well as constituting official oppression. Maybe, District Attorney Martin was saving the best for last, in case they elected to move forward with an illegal and unconstitutional regulation.

I, personally, would like to thank and commend District Attorney Martin for immediately and preemptively addressing this issue. Come election time, please always remember that District Attorney Martin is a staunch defender of Article 1, Section 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.

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Filed under Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

BREAKING: BATFE Has Not Changed Anything Relating to Fingerprints for NFA Firearms


This morning posted a story which stated that ATF had revised its ruling in relation to fingerprints for NFA firearms. The article claims that ATF now requires law enforcement agencies to take fingerprints rather than anyone qualified to. To support this position the article links to ATF’s Explosives website.

As always, the information is provided by an anonymous source. Had the source or looked at where the information came from, they would have clearly been able to see that this is simply not true. I’m a bit disappointed in because usually they are an excellent source for correct information.

The problem is that the link goes to the Explosives portion of the website, NOT the firearms part. This is the same link that SilencerCo had previously used to support its position that Silencer Shop’s Secure Identity Documentation (SID) system would not be acceptable for the purposes of NFA firearms when it had sent an email to a major distributor earlier this year.

The link the article points to states:

How do I get my fingerprints taken?

Fingerprints must be submitted on Fingerprint Identification Cards, FD–258 that have been issued by ATF. The fingerprint cards must contain the following ORI information: WVATF0900; ATF–NATL EXPL LIC, MARTINSBURG WV. These fingerprint cards may be obtained by contacting the Federal Explosives Licensing Center at 877-283-3352 or the ATF Distribution Center at 703-870-7526 or 703-870-7528. The fingerprint cards must be completed by your local law enforcement authority.

Last Reviewed September 23, 2016

Emphasis added. Further if we look at the website the link goes to, we can clearly denote it is in the explosives area by looking at the information found on the left and above the question.


ATF’s own Q&A relating to ATF 41F states that a licensee may take fingerprints provided they are properly equipped.

Q. May a Federal firearms licensee fingerprint a customer? As an FFL dealer, can we fingerprint our customers?

A. Fingerprints may be taken by anyone who is properly equipped to take them (see instructions on ATF Form 1, Form 4, Form 5, and Form 5320.23). Therefore, applicants may utilize the service of any business or government agency that is properly equipped to take fingerprints.”

As if there were any doubt, let us head to the regulations to review them.

In relation to the transfer of an NFA firearm, 27 C.F.R. § 479.85 Identification of Transferee states:

(a) If the transferee is an individual, such person shall:


(2) Attach to the application two properly completed FBI Forms FD-258 (Fingerprint Card). The fingerprints must be clear for accurate classification and should be taken by someone properly equipped to take them.

In relation to the making of an NFA firearm, 27 C.F.R. § 479.63 Identification of Applicant states:

(a) If the applicant is an individual, the applicant shall:


(2) Attach to the application two properly completed FBI Forms FD-258 (Fingerprint Card). The fingerprints must be clear for accurate classification and should be taken by someone properly equipped to take them.

(b) If the transferee is not a licensed manufacturer, importer, or dealer qualified under this part and is a partnership, company, association, trust, or corporation, such person shall:

(2) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, attach to the application –

(iv) Two properly completed FBI Forms FD-258 (Fingerprint Card) for each responsible person. The fingerprints must be clear for accurate classification and should be taken by someone properly equipped to take them.

(b) If the applicant is not a licensed manufacturer, importer, or dealer qualified under this part and is a partnership, company (including a Limited Liability Company (LLC)), association, trust, or corporation, the applicant shall:

(2) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, attach to the application –

(iv) Two properly completed FBI Forms FD-258 (Fingerprint Card) for each responsible person. The fingerprints must be clear for accurate classification and should be taken by someone properly equipped to take them.

Once again, we see there is no support for the proposition ATF changed anything. If you are applying to make or transfer an NFA firearm you can roll your own fingerprints, utilize Silencer Shop’s SID kiosk, have your FFL roll your fingerprints or head over to your local law enforcement to have them taken.

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Filed under ATF, Firearms Law, Gun Trusts, Uncategorized

New Regulations for Explosives/Pyrotechnics Industries (Part 2)



OSHA is currently accepting comments for proposed rulemaking. The proposal is for new Process Safety Management rules for the Explosives and Pyrotechnics Industries and comments will be accepted until September 23rd!

You might ask, “What is ‘Process Safety Management’?”  That is a great question answered in Part 1 of this post click HERE to check it out!

The proposed regulations are expansive and, along with those items mentioned in Part 1, require that employers develop PHAs, SOPs, and Mechanical Integrity Plans.  So welcome to Part 2 let’s get started.

Process Hazard Analyses (PHAs)

Among the proposed regulations is the requirement that all employers perform PHAs.  OSHA defines PHAs as – “A systematic effort designed to identify and analyze hazards associated with the processing or handling of highly hazardous materials; and a method to provide information which will help workers and employers in making decisions that will improve safety.”

At its heart PHAs ares nothing more than identifying processes and identifying what hazards are present. OSHA states that PHAs “attempt[] to determine: the failure points, methods of operations, and other factors that potentially lead to accidents.”

Beyond that, OSHA’s best guidance on the subject was developed by The New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC) under grant of OSHA. That document is 31 pages long and can be downloaded HERE.  Most businesses have (at a minimum) dozens of processes.  If you fail to identify a hazard within a process, that is a violation.  If you fail to identify a process and the hazards it contains – violation. If you fail to document everything in accordance with those 31 pages of ‘guidance’ – violation.

Seven Steps to PHA Success

Here is a hypothetical – Fictional Enterprises makes Pyrotechnics. The manufacturing is complicated involving over 75 operations.  – Each of these involves one process for purposes of a PHA. Operation 34 states – Technician will mix 3mL of Chemical X with 25cc of Explosive. Technician must then place the mixture in Centrifuge, spinning mixture for exactly 5 minutes at exactly 120 rpm. Fictional Enterprises wants to perform a PHA on Operation 34.

Step 1 – assembling the right team. OSHA stipulates that to perform a PHA your team, “should include engineers, operators, supervisors and other workers who have knowledge of the standards, codes, specifications…which apply to the process….” You assemble Mr. Engineer, Mrs. Supervisor, Ms. Technician, and Homer the technician who performs Operation 34. Your team proceeds to…

Step 2 – develop checklists of applicable regulations and safety standards. Your team examines Operation 34, finding 3 fire safety codes, 5 electrical ordinances, 9 chemical safety standards, and 122 other regulations which may be applicable to Operation 34. Developing the checklist was performed efficiently and only required 42 man hours to complete. The team moves to…

Step 3 – examine those regulations and determine the steps needed to ensure compliance with (or alternatively the non-applicability of) the standards.  All of this must be documented and included in your PHA. Your team continues their efficiency requiring 115 man hours to finish. The team now begins…

Step 4 – performing “What If” evaluations. OSHA defines this as having, “a relatively loose structure” and “only [being] as effective as the quality of questions asked and the answers given.” Even with that precision guidance your team spends 100 man hours in brainstorming the possible “what ifs.” The team now moves to…

Step 5 – Hazard and Operability Study (HazOp). OSHA defines this as “a structured, systematic review that identifies equipment that is being used in a way that it was not designed to be, and which might create hazards or operational problems.”  OSHA notes that this may require an additional “multi-skilled team.” This team must be familiar with, “piping and instrument diagrams” and have a competent understanding of “certain limitations and deviations in flow, temperatures, and pressures…” for your equipment.

Your team enlists the help of Supplier Engineer, Equipment Designer, and Senior Chemist. The team is efficient and prepared documentation for your PHA in only one week.  The Team moves to…

Step 6 – Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA). OSHA defines this process as a “systematic study of the consequences of failure (breakdown) of certain operational hardware….” This is the only guidance provided and results in your team spending an additional week attempting to figure out the FMEA.  The team moves to…

Step 7 – Fault-Tree Analysis. OSHA describes this as, “draw[ing] a picture (model) that shows what undesirable outcomes might result from a specific initiating event….” Or you make a flow chart of Operation 34, INCLUDING flow routes for if things go wrong.  So instead of just having “Homer runs centrifuge for 5 minutes” you should also include what happens if Homer gets distracted by a certain round raspberry confection and lets the centrifuge spin for 19 minutes.

The team is fortunate to have Homer with them and subsequently maps out all the possible faults in only 97 man hours.  Bringing your total time in completing the PHA for Operation 34 to over 800 man hours.

What’s wrong with this picture?

 The first thing you probably noticed was just how many man hours it takes to complete the PHA for one operation. Good thing your company only has 74 more that need to be evaluated…

The next thing that creates a problem is the FMEA.  OSHA provides very little guidance on FMEAs. This could mean they want you to use RAGAGEP but this is never stated. Given that OSHA is explicit in the other sections where they want RAGAGEP it might mean they have some specific standard in mind.  However, if it exists, it is not provided.

Worse still would be if RAGAGEP is to be used –With Aerospace you must often perform FMEAs before you are certified to conduct business.  The American Society for Quality (ASQ) has an excellent write up on their preferred methods for performing FMEAs.  This method is one I am familiar with and find to be successful.  Their write up can be found HERE.  Interestingly, you will note that the ASQ methodology for FMEAs is very similar in description to what OSHA requires for the entire PHA.

This should be of significant concern to business owners because it muddies what OSHA wants.  If they want you to refer to RAGAGEP the ASQ standard is undoubtedly one of the most thorough in the business.  However, if you follow the ASQ methodology you will essentially have a PHA within a PHA. Alternatively, if OSHA wants you to use a specific standard – they do not provide it. In short the FMEA requirement’s lack of clarity puts employers in a catch 22.

Some readers may note that the PHA steps listed above are exactly what is already available in the above referenced guidance document.  This is true and the next problem – the proposed regulations merely create an additional standard which can be cited as requiring employers to be compliant.  So what was before a violation of one PHA requirement can now be a violation of two.

My final gripe before we continue is that OSHA expressly states their reason for promulgating these new regulations are several incidents which could have been prevented had PHAs or other measures been taken.  These new requirements do not assist employers in being better able to conduct PHAs. Neither do they require employers who were previously unregulated to conform.

To the contrary, these new regulations will only serve to confuse businesses by telling them to comply with multiple but un-specified RAGAGEP standards. Confusing and redundant standards do not promote worker safety. They create a culture where employers who are unable to understand what OSHA wants merely give up. OSHA’s response continues to be “just fine them again” rather than actually finding ways to create safety standards that are clear, concise, and focused on the functional application of safe work practices.

In addition to the PHAs employers are also going to be re-required to create Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and create Mechanical Integrity Plans.

SOPs, in brief (I promise).

Again, OSHA is only reiterating already promulgated rules on operating procedures. The only new provision is a couple of vague examples encouraging those in the explosive and pyrotechnics industries to look to RAGAGEP for particulars of their industry.  It is also worth noting that as required by several other standards this standard would once again require employees be trained in the procedures and that employers document this training. However, the general requirements for procedures remain the same:

  1. Procedures must be written.
  2. must be clear
  3. must be available to all operators.
  4. must specify steps for
    1. normal operation.
    2. upset conditions
    3. temporary operations
    4. start-up
    5. emergency shutdown
  5. must include Basic Safety Information
  6. must be certified annually for current-ness an adequacy.
    1. Recommended that they be reviewed before each use to verify the current version is in use.

Mechanical Integrity Plans (MIPs)

OSHA’s requirements for Mechanical Integrity Plans are essentially PHAs used to evaluate equipment rather than processes.  So instead of focusing on what an operator is doing you focus on how our example Centrifuge works, in great detail.

OSHA decided to also include an explicit RAGAGEP provision. So in addition to the extreme scrutiny that must be given within the PHA styled process, they also require “employers [to] identify the subset of RAGAGEP most appropriate for their process equipment, document in the MIP which protocols are to be followed, and ensure that inspection and testing is performed accordingly.”  So stated in English, OSHA’s new standard is requiring employers to (1) figure out which standards apply to them; (2) write up how they decided this and how they are complying; and (3) ensure they are complying in the appropriate manner to the standards which the employer had to find themselves.

OSHA states, “employers are completely unfamiliar with [] RAGAGEP references, consultation with a professional [] is advised.” This can be roughly translated as OSHA saying, “Good luck complying!”

Closing Remarks (and the people rejoice)

This whole section of proposed regulation is a farce.  It is an attempt by OSHA to satisfy an executive order by promulgating a new rule that says nothing more than “do our existing rules” and “find what rules apply and then follow them.”  I cannot reiterate enough that this does not promote worker safety.  No sane person wants their employees to be endangered.  However, no employer can commit to thousands of man hours just to guess at whether they are being compliant with an OSHA Standard.

If your business is in the explosives or pyrotechnics industry I implore you to consider submitting an official comment to OSHA.  OSHA is accepting comments through THIS FRIDAY, September the 23rd.  Click HERE to submit a comment or download the proposed regulations. Comments made to these proposed rules really can affect OSHA’s actions!

Whether you are in the Explosives industry and would like to submit an official comment or you just want to make sure your business is compliant with existing OSHA requirements Prince Law Offices is happy to be of assistance.  Just call 888-313-0416 to schedule an appointment.

Jonathan Moore  served as Manager of Corrective Actions and Director of Corporate Compliance for an Aerospace Manufacturing Company. He  now serves as Prince Law Offices in-house OSHA Consultant while attending law school at the Pennsylvania State University School of Law.



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Filed under Business Law, Firearms Law, OSHA, Uncategorized

6th Circuit Acknowledges Second Amendment As-Applied Challenges To Mental Health Commitments

As our readers are aware, in July, I was successful in arguing in Keyes, et al. v. Lynch, et al., before the Middle District of Pennsylvania that a life long prohibition on an individual as a result of a single, isolated mental health commitment violated his Second Amendment rights, as-applied to him. Today, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a decision in Tyler v. Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Dept., et al., acknowledging the same.

The 6th Circuit agreed with an argument that I made in Keyes that the Heller Court’s pronouncement that it was not casting doubt on the ability of the Congress to limit possession of firearms to “the mentally ill” was specific to those who are currently mentally ill, as opposed to those who might, at one time, have a bout of depression or decompression.

As the U.S. Government has now appealed Keyes to the Third Circuit, even after the Binderup/Suarez decision, we expect that the Third Circuit will rule identically to the 6th Circuit and affirm the Middle District’s decision.

If you are prohibited under federal law as a result of a mental health commitment, contact us today to discuss your options. Together, we can fight for your inalienable right to Keep and Bear Arms.

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Filed under Constitutional Law, Firearms Law