Category Archives: Pennsylvania Firearms Law

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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FICG On Behalf of FOAC Files Letter In Response To Jenks Township’s Proposed Illegal Firearm Ordinance

Today, it was reported by ExploreClarion.com that Jenks Township was considering enacting an ordinance prohibiting the discharge of firearms in the township.

 

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As a result, Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®), a division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., on behalf of its client, Firearm Owners Against Crime (FOAC), filed a letter in opposition to the proposal; wherein, Chief Counsel Joshua Prince explains the constitutional and statutory protections and case law precluding such regulation. In the event Jenks Township moves forward with the proposal, FOAC is prepared to file a legal challenge against the Township and request the District Attorney to file criminal charges for violations of Section 6120.

If you would like to donate to support this matter, Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C. would greatly appreciate donations, which can be made online through the Firm’s escrow account here – https://secure.lawpay.com/pages/civilrightsdefensefirm/trust. Simply place FOAC v. Jenks Township  in the reference box.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of an unlawful municipal firearm or ammunition regulation or ordinance, 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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PA Attorney General Reviews Reciprocity Agreements and Nixes Virginia

On Monday, PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro held a press conference wherein he “announced his office ha[d] completed an exhaustive review of concealed carry reciprocity agreements with all 49 other states, as required under Pennsylvania law.” Notably, the Attorney General’s website has been updated with a handy chart.

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The announcement specified that Pennsylvania now recognizes the licenses of 29 other states (previously it was 28). Notably, Idaho and Alabama were added to the recognized states. However, Virginia was removed. As of May 16, 2018, Virginia residents will no longer be able to carry in Pennsylvania pursuant to a Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit.

Pouring salt into an already open wound, the Attorney General has also specified that non-resident permits will no longer be recognized in PA. Which means that in order to lawfully carry a concealed firearm in Pennsylvania, according to the Attorney General, you must be a resident of the state which has issued the license and be over twenty-one years of age.

There are two manners in which Pennsylvania recognizes reciprocity. The first is found in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6106(b)(15) and allows the Attorney General to recognize, without a written agreement, another state’s license. This is predicated on the condition that the other state recognizes Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms (“LTCF”) and that the laws governing firearms in that state are sufficiently similar to Pennsylvania’s.

The other manner is by written agreement. 18 Pa.C.S. § 6019(k)(1) provides:

The Attorney General shall have the power and duty to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states providing for the mutual recognition of a license to carry a firearm issued by the Commonwealth and a license or permit to carry a firearm issued by the other state. To carry out this duty, the Attorney General is authorized to negotiate reciprocity agreements and grant recognition of a license or permit to carry a firearm issued by another state.

Virginia and Pennsylvania had entered into a written reciprocity agreement on January 3, 2007. The agreement was amended on March 15, 2013 during the tenure of disgraced former Attorney General, now convicted felon, Kathleen Kane. Notably, the statute is silent as to the ability of the Attorney General to rescind a reciprocity agreement. However, that does not appear to have stopped Attorney General Shapiro.

Moreover, Section 6109(k)(2) requires that “[t]he Attorney General shall report to the General Assembly within 180 days of the effective date of this paragraph and annually thereafter concerning the agreements which have been consummated under this subsection.” (emphasis added). Based on the plain language of the statute, it would seem the General Assembly wished to be apprised of the states with which the Attorney General entered into written reciprocity agreements on an annual basis. Further, this would imply that if the General Assembly believed the agreement to be inappropriate, it could act to revoke its status, rather than leaving that to the discretion of the Attorney General.

Below is a list of states that Pennsylvania recognizes the permits of. You can find more information in the PDF provided by the Office of the Attorney General here.

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With PA Representative Sims Censoring Pro-Second Amendment Comments, FICG Files Letters of Objection with House Judiciary Committee Members

Earlier today, Attorney Joshua Prince and Adam Kraut sent letters to the Chairman of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Judiciary Committee and all of its members regarding the current proceedings pertaining to gun control legislation.

They encourage you all to contact the Chairman and members of the Committee to demand further hearings with input from the citizens of the Commonwealth. For more information, see Attorney Prince’s prior blog article here.

Attorneys Prince and Kraut request all Pennsylvanians to join them on Monday April 30th at 10 AM in the rotunda of the Capitol Building in Harrisburg for the Annual Pennsylvania Right to Keep and Bear Arms Rally. Attorney Prince is scheduled to speak at the event.

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