Category Archives: Pennsylvania Firearms Law

Pennsylvania Supreme Court AFFIRMS Decision Imposing Financial Judgment Against the Pennsylvania State Police for Violating Second Amendment Rights!

Today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an order in Haron v. PSP, 65 MAP 2017, affirming the Commonwealth Court’s decision entering a judgment of approximately $6,500 against the Pennsylvania State Police (“PSP”) for erroneously denying an individual his right to keep and bear arms, in an issue of first impression that was litigated by Chief Counsel Joshua Prince and Attorney Adam Kraut. We previously blogged about the Commonwealth Court’s decision, when we were successful in securing that initial decision. Thereafter, the PSP appealed to the PA Supreme Court.

Today, seemingly finding that the PSP’s appeal was frivolous and didn’t even warrant time being spent to write a decision, the PA Supreme Court issued the Per Curiam Order simply stating “AND NOW, this 18th day of July, 2018, the order of the Commonwealth Court is hereby AFFIRMED.” As such, we will be filing a motion with the Court for additional attorney fees and costs incurred by Mr. Haron during the PSP’s appeal to the PA Supreme Court. Hopefully, this decision will cause the PSP to reconsider its tactic of denying individuals and forcing them to incur attorney fees and costs in matters, where the individual is not prohibited under the law.

If your rights have been denied during the purchase/transfer of a firearm or have been otherwise violated by the PSP, 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.

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Firearms Law Seminar – August 4, 2018 at King Shooters Supply!

On August 4, 2018, Chief Counsel Joshua Prince, Attorney Adam Kraut and Attorney Eric Winter of Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®), a division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., in conjunction with King Shooters Supply, will offer a four (4) hour seminar, from 10am-2pm, on state and federal firearms law at their store located at  346 E Church Rd, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania 19406.

The cost is $10 and you must register early, as last time it sold out fast. You can find out further information on King Shooters Supply’s website.  To register, sign up on the website here. If there are no more spots available, the class will show out of stock. If you have questions, please feel free to contact King Shooters Supply at 610-491-9901.

 


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.

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PA House Judiciary Committee Set to Vote on (and in Favor of) ANTI-Gun Bills this Week!

As I discussed in Pennsylvania Firearm Rights in the Crosshairs – The Rights That Stand to be Infringed, the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee has been considering a number of extremely anti-Second Amendment bills, including a bill providing for extreme risk protection orders. Although Attorney Adam Kraut and I testified before the House Judiciary Committee on the unconstitutionality of these bills, as well as, the other tangential concerns, the House Judiciary Committee is poised this week – on Tuesday, June 19th at 9 AM in the Majority Caucus Room – to vote on these unconstitutional bills that seek to deprive individuals of their rights – rights made inviolate by the Pennsylvania Constitution, pursuant to Article 1, Section 25. More disconcerting, it appears that a number of the members of the Committee plan to vote in favor of these draconian and unconstitutional bills, while refusing to bring up pro-Second Amendment bills that are pending in the Committee, such as SB 5, which has been pending since April 26, 2017! Let me be explicitly clear, these bills are likely to pass, absent your immediate action.

The bills to be considered are: “HB 273 (Donatucci), HB 1400 (Santora), HB 1872 (Dean/D Costa), HB 2060 (M Quinn), HB 2227 (Stephens), HB 2266 (Cruz), HB 2267 (Cruz), HB 2275 (Grove/Briggs), and HB 2463 (Nelson), as well as any other business that may come before the committee.” While HB 2463 is a pro-Second Amendment bill that would remove any prohibition relating to involuntary commitments under Section 302 of the Mental Health and Procedures Act and provide a relief mechanism for those who become prohibited under state or federal law as a result of an involuntary commitment, there are anti-Second Amendment amendments being proposed to it.

A quick synopsis provided by the Committee (i.e. biased in favor of enacting these proposals) of each bill and proposed amendments reveals:

HB 273 (Donatucci) creates a voluntary self-exclusion program by which an individual can agree to be prohibited from purchasing or receiving a firearm for a period of one year, three years, or lifetime.  There is one amendment, A07354, which removes the lifetime self-exclusion option, makes removal from the list automatic upon expiration of the self-exclusion period, and removes a requirement that the PA State Police provide for safekeeping of surrendered firearms.

HB 1400 (Santora) makes two changes relating to background checks for the sale or transfer of firearms.  First, the bill requires so-called “universal background checks” by requiring that private sales of long guns be subject to the same background check requirements that currently apply to sales conducted by a licensed dealer of firearms or a private sale of handguns.  Second, the bill permits a person who possesses a valid license to carry a firearm to utilize a single successful background check to transact multiple firearm sales at the same gun show.  There are no amendments.

HB 1872 (Dean/D Costa) adds bump stocks and similar devices to the list of offensive weapons prohibited under state law.  The bill also provides that the offense will not apply to possession of such a device which was obtained prior to the bill’s effective date and it requires the Attorney General to publish notice in the PA Bulletin describing in detail the change in the law within 10 days of enactment of the bill.  There are no amendments.

HB 2060 (M Quinn) amends the Uniform Firearms Act and the Protection From Abuse Act to amend the process and requirements for relinquishment of firearms following a PFA order or conviction of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.  This is the House companion bill to the much-discussed “Senate Bill 501.”  There will be one amendment, which incorporates the wording of SB 501 while correcting drafting errors in that bill and harmonizing certain features of SB 501 with the “extreme risk protection order” process discussed in connection with HB 2227 below.

HB 2227 (Stephens) provides for a new judicial process to temporarily suspend a person’s right to possess or purchase a firearm.  An extreme risk protection order (ERPO) will be a court order prohibiting a person from possessing or obtaining a firearm based upon a finding that the person presents a risk of suicide or of causing death or serious bodily injury to another person.  The process is very similar to the current PFA process, but allows both law enforcement and household members to seek such orders.  An order can last between three months and one year in duration and will automatically expire unless renewed by the court, which renewal requires notice and another hearing.  There will be one amendment, which adds or clarifies numerous procedural protections to the respondent in such a proceeding.  We remain in discussions with interested stakeholders to achieve a consensus.

HB 2266 (Cruz) and HB 2267 (Cruz) together shorten the period in which courts and mental health agencies must send mental health data to the PA State Police from 7 days to 72 hours of adjudicating an individual to be incompetent or involuntarily committing an individual to a mental institution for inpatient treatment.  There are no amendments.

HB 2275 (Grove/Briggs) amends the Crimes Code to rectify a 2011 ruling by the PA Supreme Court which held that the prior conviction offenses that prohibit a person from possessing, transferring, or using a firearm do not include an attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit those same crimes.  There is one amendment, A07610, which is technical.

HB 2463 (Nelson) makes three changes related to the firearm rights of those subjected to involuntary mental health treatment.  First, the bill removes the prohibition against firearm possession for those subjected to emergency involuntary mental health treatment.  Second, the bill provides a procedure for any person ineligible to possess a firearm due to a mental health issue to have his right to obtain a firearm reinstated.  Third, the bill requires the PA State Police to send any record relevant to a determination of whether a person is disqualified from possessing a firearm due to an adjudication of incompetency or an involuntary commitment within 72 hours to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  There are two amendments.  The first, A07403, clarifies that persons presently prohibited from possessing a firearm due to a previous involuntary mental health commitment will have to seek a restoration of firearm rights through the new petition process.  The second, A07614, provides that an emergency involuntary mental health commitment will result in a six-month firearm prohibitor that automatically expires at the end of that period.

As such, it is imperative that you contact each member of the House Judiciary Committee and tell them to vote AGAINST HB 273, HB 1400, HB 1872, HB 2060, HB 2227, HB 2266 , HB 2267, HB 2275, and FOR HB 2463, but AGAINST the proposed amendments (A07403 and A07614). If you are a constituent of one of these members, please make sure to let your Representative know that their vote in favor of any of these bills, except for HB 2463, will result in you voting for someone else in November.

As emails can be easily deleted without the recipient reviewing them, I am imploring you to FAX your respectful correspondences to your Representative and House Judiciary Members, and then follow up via phone call to ensure that they all received your correspondence. If you wish to additionally send a copy via email, their respective email addresses are listed below.

The House Judiciary Members are:

  1. Chairman Ron Marsico – (717) 783-2014, Fax: (717) 705-2010 RMarsico@pahousegop.com;
  2. Democratic Chair Joseph Petrarca – (717) 787-5142, Fax: (717) 705-2014 JPetrarc@pahouse.net;
  3. Tarah Toohil – (570) 453-1344, Fax: (570) 459-3946 TToohil@pahousegop.com;
  4. Stephen Bloom – (717) 772-2280, Fax: (717) 705-2012 SBloom@pahousegop.com;
  5. Becky Corbin – (717) 783-2520, Fax: (717) 782-2927 BCorbin@pahousegop.com;
  6. Sheryl Delozier – (717) 783-5282, Fax: (717) 772-9994 SDelozie@pahousegop.com;
  7. Harold English – (717) 260-6407, Fax: (717) 783-5740 HEnglish@pahousegop.com;
  8. Garth Everett – (717) 787-5270, Fax: (717) 772-9958 GEverett@pahousegop.com;
  9. Barry Jozwiak – (717) 772-9940, Fax: (717) 782-2925 BJozwiak@pahousegop.com;
  10. Kate Klunk – (717) 787-4790, Fax: (717) 782-2952 KKlunk@pahousegop.com;
  11. Jerry Knowles – (717) 787-9029, Fax: (717) 782-2908 JKnowles@pahousegop.com;
  12. Tedd Nesbit – (717) 783-6438, Fax: (717) 782-2943 TNesbit@pahousegop.com;
  13. Rick Saccone – (717) 260-6122, Fax: (717) 787-9174 RSaccone@pahousegop.com;
  14. Paul Schemel – (717) 263-1053, Fax: (717) 263-1059 PSchemel@pahousegop.com;
  15. Todd Stephens – (717) 260-6163, Fax: (717) 782-2898 TStephen@pahousegop.com;
  16. Jesse Topper – (717) 787-7076, Fax: (717) 782-2933 JTopper@pahousegop.com;
  17. Martina White – (717) 787-6740, Fax: (717) 782-2929 MWhite@pahousegop.com;
  18. Bryan Barbin – (814) 487-4041, Fax: (814) 487-4043 BBarbin@pahouse.net;
  19. Ryan Bizzarro – (717) 772-2297, Fax: (717) 780-4767 RBizzarro@pahouse.net;
  20. Tim Briggs – (717) 705-7011, Fax: (717) 772-9860  TBriggs@pahouse.net;
  21. Dom Costa – (717) 783-9114, Fax: (717) 780-4761 DCosta@pahouse.net;
  22. Tina Davis – (717) 783-4903, Fax: (717) 783-0682 TDavis@pahouse.net;
  23. Jason Dawkins – (717) 787-1354, Fax: (717) 780-4789 JDawkins@pahouse.net;
  24. Madeleine Dean – (717) 783-7619, Fax: (717) 780-4754 MDean@pahouse.net;
  25. Joanna McClinton – (717) 772-9850, Fax: (717) 783-1516 JMcClinton@pahouse.net;
  26. Dan Miller – (717) 783-1850, Fax: (717) 780-4756 DMiller@pahouse.net;
  27. Gerald Mullery – 570) 636-3500, Fax: (570) 636-3502 GMullery@pahouse.net.

 

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.

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Chief Counsel Joshua Prince and Attorney Adam Kraut Testify Before the PA House Judiciary Committee

Today, Chief Counsel Joshua Prince and Attorney Adam Kraut of the Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®), a division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., jointly testified before the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee regarding a number of anti-Second Amendment and anti-Article 1, Section 21 proposals that were previously discussed during the 6 day hearings on “public safety.” As specified in Exhibit H to the Joint Testimony, there are significant constitutional issues with these proposals, under the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions, and several of the proposals seek to discriminate against the Amish, as a result of their closely-held religious beliefs. Live streaming will be available at RonMarsico.com, and PAHouseGOP.com

Please join us in thanking Attorneys Prince and Kraut for the monumental amount of time expended in the researching and drafting of their joint testimony. As many have inquired about donating to support the time expended, anyone wishing to donate can:

  • Pay via the secure website: Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C. – Please place “House Judiciary Testimony” in the reference field, or
  • Mail donations to: Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., 646 Lenape Rd, Bechtelsville, PA 19505 and include a note or letter stating that it is in relation to House Judiciary Testimony”.

Together, we can ensure that our inalienable rights are never encroached upon!

 


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.

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PA Governor Wolf and Republican Members of the General Assembly Seek to Preclude the Amish from Obtaining Guns and Ammunition

Several months ago, a number of bills were submitted by Members of the General Assembly, seeking to prohibit the private transfer of rifles and shotguns – thereby, requiring that all transfers or purchases of any type of firearm, go through a Federal Firearms Licensee – and more recently, Governor Wolf called upon the General Assembly to pass the legislation, which, in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, would absolutely preclude the Amish from obtaining any type of firearm, due to their closely-held religious convictions, which preclude their picture being taken.

Specifically, House Bill 1400, offered by Representative James Santora (R) with 73 sponsors, and House Bill 2249, offered by Representative Thomas Murt (R) with 17 sponsors, seek to preclude the private party sale of a rifle or shotgun, while House Bill 2251, offered by Representative Thomas Murt (R) with 8 sponsors, seeks to preclude the  purchase of ammunition, except from a Federal Firearm Licensee or gun range and only after a background check is performed. Of course, as there is no way for an entity, absent a Federal Firearms License, to perform a background check, this means that the inclusion of gun range is dubious, as it will have to have a Federal Firearms License to perform the background check.

Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 922(t)(1)(C), a Federal Firearm Licensee is barred from selling or transferring a firearm to an individual, unless the individual can produce a “valid identification document (as defined in section 1028(d) of this title) of the transferee containing a photograph of the transferee.”

Due to Pennsylvania having the second largest Amish population in the U.S. and the Amish’s closely-held religious beliefs, pursuant to Exodus 20:4, that preclude the taking of their photograph, the General Assembly, being acutely aware of the federal requirement that an individual produce photo-identification when purchasing a firearm from a federal firearms licensee, not only provided an exemption for private party sales of rifles and shotguns in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111, but also, exempted those members with closely-held religious beliefs from the photo ID requirement under state law and even provided for photo-less driver licenses and licenses to carry firearms. See, 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(b)(2), 67 Pa.Code § 73.3(d)(4), and 37 Pa.Code 33.102.

However, if H.B. 1400 and H.B. 2249 are enacted, in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-1, et seq., the Amish will be precluded from purchasing or having any form of firearm transferred to them, because they will have to obtain the firearm through a Federal Firearms Licensee, which will require that they produce photo-identification. Similarly, issue are likely to arise in relation to HB 2251, as it mandates that a background check be performed, which means that the entity will have to be a Federal Firearms Licensee. Moreover, a search/query of the NICS database would be an abuse of the NICS system, as federal law does not require a background check for the purchase of ammunition and NICS can only be searched/queried for lawful purposes permitted by federal law.

It is truly sad to see Members of our General Assembly seeking to discriminate against those with closely-held religious convictions. Please take some time out of your day to contact your State Legislators and let them know that you oppose these bills and any other bills that seek to discriminate against those with closely-held religious beliefs.

If you or someone you know has been precluded from obtaining firearms or ammunition as a result of your closely-held religious convictions, 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.

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Lehigh Co District Attorney Martin’s Political Grandstanding Attempt to Limit Firearm Rights

On May 9, 2018, Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin issued his Report and Appendix on Pennsylvania State Trooper Bird’s justified use of force against an armed assailant in a Walmart parking lot. In both the Report and Appendix, it mentions on numerous occasions that the firearm utilized was previously a 80% frame – seemingly unaware that all firearms, at some point in the manufacturing process, are 80% complete. More disconcerting, DA Martin states that he will contact “Federal and State Legislators in the hope that corrective legislation may be promulgated” as this is a “a serious ‘loophole’ that should be closed by legislation at both the federal and state levels.” More specifically, he intends to call upon Federal and State Legislators to require 4473s and background checks on individuals, who wish to purchase firearm parts,  as such would “not seem to [him] to be too burdensome.”

But was an 80% frame, manufactured by the suspect – Aaron Ibrahem – and later utilized by him in this incident? Or is there far more to the story? The Report and Appendix suggest that there is far more to the story and that DA Martin is using this opportunity for political grandstanding.

In turning to the last paragraph on page 5 and onto page 6 of the Report, several statements stand out to me.

The pistol which had been removed from Ibrahem’s lap by Trooper DelGaizo was later identified as a Polymer80, model: PF940V2, caliber: .40 S&W. This particular model is sold as a frame that is 80% complete in its manufacturing. The area that holds the fire control mechanisms is completely solid and does not qualify as a firearm under the definition of a firearm according to the BATF….[it] can be purchased without a background check or ATF E-Form 4473 being completed and filed at time of purchase.

This part is legally correct. Now, here’s where it gets interesting –

An E-Trace revealed that the firearm had been sold in Texas on March 20, 2018. The investigation revealed that the buyer had only purchased the lower polymer portion (the “frame” or “receiver”) of a Glock, without the upper portion and/or any trigger parts. (emphasis added)

Hold up, if this item was not a firearm at the time of purchase, an E-Trace would not yield any result, as the item would not constitute a firearm and it would be improper for an FFL to maintain any record or perform a background check in relation to a non-firearm. Thus, as of the time of sale in March of 2018, to an unknown buyer, the gun was a firearm and not an 80% frame. (I note that the incident with Trooper Bird occurred on March 28, 2018 and I question whether the date specified should reflect March 20, 2017 or whether the firearm made it from Texas to Pennsylvania and into the possession of Ibrahem in under 8 days).

And then it gets more interesting –

The purchase had been made from Spokane Archery in Washington State. The buyer had filled out an ATF E-Form 4473, as required, for the lower receiver.

Huh? The prior sentence said the firearm was sold in Texas, now it was sold in Washington State (it may be that the use of the word “sold” in the prior portion was actually intended to mean “transferred” whereby, the money to purchase the firearm was sent to Spokane Archery in Washington State and upon receipt, the firearm was sent to the FFL in Texas for transfer – however, the mention in the following sentence of a 4473 seemingly being complete by Spokane Archery makes this interpretation questionable). Regardless, we know that a 4473 was filled out “as required” because the frame was a firearm, not an 80% frame; thus, it was a firearm at the time that the suspect obtained it – a suspect who was already prohibited under 18 U.S.C 922(g) from receiving it and the person who transferred/sold it to the suspect was prohibited from such by 18 U.S.C. 922(a)(5), and (d).

Let’s see if the Appendix can shed any light on the above.

The investigation revealed that only the lower polymer portion of the Glock, without the upper and any trigger parts, was purchased from Spokane Archery in Washington State by a person from Texas. This purchase was legal because the ATF E-Form 4473 (Firearms Transaction Record) had been submitted. That portion of the Glock purchased legally, is referred to as the “frame,” or the “lower receiver” of the firearm.

So once again, it confirms that the item purchased by an unidentified person, who was not the suspect, was a firearm as a 4473 had been completed and submitted. This is the first time that the word “submitted” is used in relation to the 4473 (in the Report, it only states that it was filled out) and it is important, as we now know that the background check was performed on the unidentified purchaser. However, the Appendix then declares that “It is believed that [Ibrahem] then ‘manufactured’ a firearm by obtaining the lower portion (frame/receiver) of the weapon by purchasing a so-called ‘Polymer 80″‘on the Internet.”

Huh? Both the Report and Appendix establish that Ibrahem did NOT purchase a 80% frame but rather purchased/obtained a firearm, in violation of the law. Section 922(g) specifies those individual, who are prohibited from purchasing and possessing firearms and ammunition and there is no dispute that Ibrahem was prohibited. Further, Section 922(d) precluded the seller from selling/transferring the firearm (and potentially the ammunition) to Ibrahem. As the firearm constituted a firearm and Ibrahem and the seller lived in different states, the seller was also prohibited from selling/transferring the firearm (and potentially the ammunition) to Ibrahem, per Section 922(a)(5).

While acknowledging that the seller and Ibrahem violated Federal and State law without concern, DA Martin is now calling upon Federal and State Legislators to further restrict law-abiding individuals’ rights. If only laws existed against murder, it wouldn’t happen, right?

 

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Attorney Joshua Prince to Testify before the PA House Judiciary Committee

Chief Counsel Joshua Prince of the Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®), a division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., has been requested to testify before the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee on May 22, 2018, regarding the anti-Second Amendment proposals that are pending before it, which we previously blogged about in our article – Pennsylvania Firearm Rights in the Crosshairs – The Rights That Stand to be Infringed.

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Prince Testimony House Judiciary

As it is anticipated that Chief Counsel Prince will spend more than 30 hours preparing his testimony in response to the almost 20 anti-Second Amendment bills that are pending, any donations in support would be greatly appreciated. Anyone wishing to donate can:

  • Pay via the secure website: Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C. – Please place “House Judiciary Testimony” in the reference field, or
  • Mail donations to: Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., 646 Lenape Rd, Bechtelsville, PA 19505 and include a note or letter stating that it is in relation to House Judiciary Testimony”.

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.

 

 

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