Tag Archives: “18 pacs 6120”

PA Supreme Court Denies Lower Merion Township’s Petition for Allocatur Involving Its Illegal Firearm Regulations

As our viewers are aware from my prior article on January 27, 2017, after the the Commonwealth Court issued its decision in Firearm Owners Against Crime (FOAC), et al. v. Lower Merion Township, where it held that Lower Merion Township’s preclusion of firearms and discharge in township parks was unlawful, Lower Merion Township filed a Petition for Allowance of Appeal with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which was docketed at 36 MAL 2017.

Today, the PA Supreme Court denied Lower Merion’s Petition for Allowance, therefore making final the Commonwealth Court’s decision in FOAC, et al. v. Lower Merion Township.

If your rights have been violated by an illegal firearm or ammunition ordinance or regulation promulgated by a state agency, county, municipality or township, contact us today to discuss YOUR rights and legal options.

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Lower Merion Township Petitions for Allowance to Appeal in Firearm Preemption Case

As our readers are aware, on December 16, 2016, the Commonwealth Court issued its decision in Firearm Owners Against Crime (FOAC), et al. v. Lower Merion Township, where it held that Lower Merion Township’s preclusion of firearms in township parks was unlawful.

On Friday, January 13, 2017, Lower Merion Township filed a Petition for Allowance of Appeal with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which was docketed at 36 MAL 2017. Thereafter, on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, the City of Philadelphia and City of Harrisburg filed amicus curiae briefs with the Court, asking it to grant Lower Merion Township’s request and overturn the Commonwealth Court’s decision. Later today, we will file our Answer in opposition to Lower Merion’s request.

Generally, once our Answer is filed, it will take the PA Supreme Court between 6 to 8 months, if not more, to decide whether to hear Lower Merion’s appeal and if it grants Lower Merion’s appeal, what legal issues it agrees to consider.

If your rights have been violated by an illegal firearm or ammunition ordinance or regulation promulgated by a state agency, county, municipality or township, contact us today to discuss YOUR rights and legal options.

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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 – http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-lost-gun-law-committee-20160817-story.html

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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Appeal Filed with the PA Supreme Court in Leach v. Commonwealth

On July 20, 2015, the Commonwealth filed a Notice of Appeal with the Commonwealth Court in relation to its decision in Leach, et al. v. Commonwealth, et al., 585 M.D. 2014, regarding the constitutionality of Act 192, which, inter alia, provided for attorney fees and costs, when a municipality violates 18 Pa.C.S. 6120. Today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court docketed the appeal as 61 MAP 2015. You can find a copy of the docket here.

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Lower Merion Township – Taxpayers on the Hook for Legal Expenses related to Illegal Firearms Ordinance

As our viewers are aware, we filed suit against Lower Merion Township regarding its illegal firearm ordinance on March 20, 2015 and its request for a Stay was denied on May 14, 2015. In litigating this matter, on April 30, 2015, I filed a Right to Know Law (RTKL) request seeking documents in the Township’s possession relating to Section 109-16, since the Township filed Preliminary Objections to stay discovery and a decision on the merits.

In responding to my RTKL request, the Township turned over a number of documents, including the most recent attorney billing of May 11, 2015 from High Swartz in the amount of $4,900 and a March 27, 2015 letter from Delaware Valley Insurance Trust denying coverage in relation to the lawsuit. Specifically, the letter states

The POL Coverage Part of the applicable Trust Coverage Document does not provide coverage for the Township in this matter because the plaintiffs are not seeking to recover compensatory damages, but only declaratory and injunctive relief, and because the plaintiffs have alleged in their Complaint that the Township willfully violated 18 Pa. C.S. §6120 and otherwise engaged in willful misconduct in refusing to amend or repeal the allegedly illegal ordinances. The Trust therefore respectfully declines coverage and requests that the Township retain defense counsel at its own expense in this matter.

Accordingly, the residents of Lower Merion Township will be responsible for all the costs incurred by its counsel, as well as, our attorney fees and costs, when the matter is decided in our favor. It is unfortunate that the Lower Merion Township Commissioners have elected to defend its illegal ordinance at the taxpayers expense. If you are a resident of Lower Merion Township, you should let the Commissioners know that you do not appreciate your money being used for their political views.

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Is the City of Harrisburg Attempting to Solicit People to Conspire to Violate the Law?

Recently, the City of Harrisburg announced that it was accepting donations to support its fight against several lawsuits, including ours, in relation to its illegal and unlawful firearm ordinances. However, it appears that the City’s solicitor didn’t think through this request in relation to Pennsylvania’s Crimes Code.

Let’s start with the underlying statute that prohibits any municipality from regulating firearms and ammunition. 18 Pa.C.S. 6120 provides:

No county, municipality or township may in any manner regulate the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by the laws of this Commonwealth.

18 Pa.C.S. 6119 then goes on to declare:

Except as otherwise specifically provided, an offense under this subchapter constitutes a misdemeanor of the first degree.

Therefore, it is a misdemeanor of the 1st degree for any county, municipality or township to violate Section 6120.

Pennsylvania’s Crimes Code also includes crimes for attempt, solicitation and conspiracy.

Specifically, 18 Pa.C.S. 901 addresses criminal attempt and declares:

A person commits an attempt when, with intent to commit a specific crime, he does any act which constitutes a substantial step toward the commission of that crime.

18 Pa.C.S. 902 addresses criminal solicitation:

A person is guilty of solicitation to commit a crime if with the intent of promoting or facilitating its commission he commands, encourages or requests another person to engage in specific conduct which would constitute such crime or an attempt to commit such crime or which would establish his complicity in its commission or attempted commission.

Lastly, 18 Pa.C.S. 903 addresses criminal conspiracy:

A person is guilty of conspiracy with another person or persons to commit a crime if with the intent of promoting or facilitating its commission he:
(1) agrees with such other person or persons that they or one or more of them will engage in conduct which constitutes such crime or an attempt or solicitation to commit such crime; or
(2) agrees to aid such other person or persons in the planning or commission of such crime or of an attempt or solicitation to commit such crime.

As the City is now soliciting individuals to fund and support its litigation involving its unlawful firearm and ammunition ordinances, so that it can continue to enforce these illegal and unlawful ordinances,  it seems clear that the City and Mayor Papenfuse are involved in attempting to solicit people to conspire to violate Section 6120 and anyone donating in support would likewise be attempting and conspiring to violate Section 6120. As the Commonwealth Court has already ruled in Dillon v. City of Erie that an identical parks ordinance was illegal and in Clarke v. House of Representatives ruled that lost and stolen ordinances are illegal, there can be no dispute that the City of Harrisburg and its elected officials have violated Section 6120.Therefore, we call upon District Attorney Marsico to bring charges against all of those involved, including the City of Harrisburg and its elected officials for violating Section 6120. It is time that our district attorneys hold our publicly elected officials accountable for their criminal acts.

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Municipalities Repealing Unlawful Ordinances

As many of our viewers are aware, I have sent 6+ page letters to numerous (over 90) municipalities regarding their unlawful firearm ordinances and the looming effective date of Act 192. I am going to attempt to keep this blog article updated on the status of those municipal ordinances, where the municipality has taken or is taking some form of action (aka, you may want to bookmark this article, if you want to keep track). If we have not yet heard back from the municipality, it will not be listed below.

If any of you wish to donate towards the time and cost invested in obtaining the repeal of these ordinances, it would be greatly appreciated. You can simply call the office at 888-313-0416 and speak with accounting (simply tell them it is in relation to matter 34548) or send a check to Prince Law Offices, P.C., 646 Lenape Rd, Bechtelsville, PA 19505 and simply place “Matter 34548” on the memo line. To all of those who have already donated, we GREATLY appreciate your donations.

Updated 5/12/15

Altoona City: Repealing its unlawful ordinances

Athens Borough: Repealing its unlawful firearm ordinances

Athens Township: Repealed its unlawful firearm ordinances

Bellefonte Borough: Repealed its unlawful ordinances at the December monthly meeting of the Board of Supervisors

Brecknock Township: Ordinances to be repealed on January 13th at the monthly meeting of the Board of Supervisors

Brookville Borough: Ordinances to be repealed at the January 6th meeting.

Buckingham Township: Ordinances have been repealed.

Bucks County: Will be moving forward with a repeal of its discharge ordinance.

Carroll Township: Repealing their ordinance on April 7, 2015.

Cheltenham Township: Ordinances in the process of being repealed

City of Allentown: Repealed all of their firearm ordinances on 2/4/2015.

City of Bethlehem: Ordinances amended but still do not comply with Section 6120.

City of Erie: The original litigation of Dillon v. City of Erie resulted in the Commonwealth Court finding that the City’s ban on possession of firearms in city parks was unlawful; however, the City has now also repealed its lost and stolen ordinance.

City of Harrisburg: Refusing to rescind its ordinances

City of Reading: Ordinances in the process of being repealed.

College Township: Ordinances in the process of being repealed.

Crescent Township: Repealing its ordinances at the January 8th meeting

Cumru Township: Repealing its Protected Area Ordinance 6/15/15

Dingman Township: In the process of repealing their ordinances.

Dover Borough: Repealing its ordinances.

Doylestown Borough: Ordinances in the process of being repealed

East Vincent Township: Ordinances in the process of being repealed

Elizabethville Borough: Ordinances in the process of being repealed.

Emporium Borough: Reviewing their ordinances and will discuss at their meeting on Feb 2 (repeal expected)

Ferguson Township: Ordinances in the process of being repealed

Greene Township: Ordinances have been repealed

Hanover Township: Ordinances repealed but still working on fixing signs

Hepburn Township: Ordinances to be repealed by the February monthly meeting of the Board of Supervisors

Horsham Township: Will be introducing a repeal of their ordinances on January 26th.

Lehigh Township: Ordinances to be repealed in the near future (with the addition of a VERY pro NFA provision, which will be discussed once enacted)

Liberty Borough: Repealed their ordinances on January 19th.

Lower Allen, Cumberland Co: Ordinances repealed 12/22/2014

Lower Heidelberg Township: Ordinances repealed 2/19/2015

Macungie Borough: Ordinances amended but still do not seemingly comply with Section 6120.

Marshall Township: Repealed all of their unlawful firearm ordinances

Morrisville Borough: Ordinances in the process of being repealed.

North York Borough: Repealing their ordinances

Northampton Borough: Repealed its illegal discharge ordinance on March 5th

Oxford Borough: Repealed their ordinance.

Plumstead Township: Ordinances to be repealed on January 5th at the monthly meeting of the Board of Supervisors

Richland Township: Ordinances in the process of being repealed

Salisbury Township: Moving forward with drafting an ordinance to repeal their unlawful ordinances.

Sellersville Borough: Ordinance has been amended

Telford Borough: Ordinance No. 405 repealed Ordinance 174 in its entirety and Chapter 6, Conduct, Part 5, Discharge of Firearms on February 2nd.

Tullytown Borough: Ordinances in the process of being repealed

Union Township: Ordinances in the process of being repealed

Warrington Township: Ordinances to be repealed in the near future

Warwick Township: Set to repeal all their firearm regulations on January 19th

Washington County: Repealing its unlawful ordinances.

West Mifflin Borough: Lost and Stolen has been repealed; awaiting confirmation regarding Parks and Rec

Whitehall Township: Although verbiage has been removed from the signs, it is still quasi-visible.

Wilson Borough: Repealed its unlawful ordinances

Worcester Township: Ordinances repealed at December 17, 2014 meeting

Yoe Borough: Ordinances repealed February 3, 2015.

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