Tag Archives: Concealed Carry

Say What?!?! Philadelphia Gun Permit Unit Isn’t All Bad And Is Actively Working To Make Licensing Compliant With The Law

As our readers are likely aware, I have frequently addressed Philadelphia’s arrogance and non-compliance with Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act, 18 Pa.C.S. § 6101, et seq. and have sued them several times in relation thereto, including a prior class action that resulted in a $1.45 million dollar settlement and numerous policy changes. However, I truly believe that we must acknowledge when they take positive steps towards ensuring compliance, even if, there are other issues, where they still are not compliant with the law.

Although I will not disclose the name of the individual within the Gun Permit Unit (commonly referred to as the “GPU”), I can state that there is at least one individual, who holds a significant position within the GPU, who believes that everyone eligible should have at least one firearm and a license to carry firearms (“LTCF”). This individual has been working behind the scenes to change the GPU’s policies that we constantly complain about and which are contrary to 18 Pa.C.S. § 6109.

Most recently, I learned that the GPU started tracking the dates of LTCF applications to ensure determinations on licenses are made within 45 calendar days. The GPU worked closely with its IT department, so that it can generate spreadsheets reflecting, among other things, (1) the date of application; (2) deadline date (e.g. 45 calendar days from date of application); (3) the date of PICS denial (if any); (4) date of denial by City (if such occurs); (5) date notification is sent to the applicant; (6)  the date issued; and (7) the elapsed time. This information is frequently being reviewed by an individual in the GPU to ensure the GPU’s  compliance with Section 6109 and to benchmark their processing of LTCFs.

It is my understanding that this was first implemented in March 2017 and that for March the average elapsed time was 28 days! More surprising, although we’re only half way through April, it is my understanding that the average determination time is 14 days! This is a MONUMENTAL improvement that should not go unnoticed. While this doesn’t mean that such is guaranteed to continue or that there won’t be outliers, it is extremely promising.

I also understand that all GPU employees have been trained that if an applicant comes in at or after the 45 day mark and his/her application has not been processed that the file is to be immediately pulled and determination made, which is again a monumental improvement.

Please join me in thanking the GPU in implementing these changes and safeguards to their practices involving the issuance of LTCFs (I bet you never thought you’d hear me say that!).

If you have questions about applying for an LTCF, had your LTCF denied or revoked or had your confidential LTCF applicant information disclosed, contact Firearms Industry Consulting Group, a division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., to discuss your legal rights.


Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®) is a registered trademarkand 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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Removal of PA Character and Reputation Clause for an LTCF

Today, Representative Russ Diamond and 20 pro-Second Amendment/Article 1, Section 21 Representatives submitted a new bill, HB 918, which would remove the character and reputation / good cause provision of 18 Pa.C.S. 6109. Many issuing authorities, like Philadelphia and Monroe have utilized the character and reputation provision to prevent law-abiding individuals from obtaining an LTCF.

Representative Diamond’s memo details how a young lady, who has no criminal or mental health background,  was granted an LTCF in one county and after moving to another county, denied her renewal. (Although it was in a different county, since she had a valid LTCF at the time of application, the law supports that such was a renewal, even though with a different issuing authority.) Furthermore, Representative Diamond’s memo explains how the character and reputation clause is violative of Article 2, Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, as it is an unlawful delegation of power, supported by legions of PA Supreme Court case law.

Please support HB 918 by contacting your Pennsylvania Representatives and requesting that they co-sponsor or support HB 918. Together, we can remove this unconstitutional provision that permits the unequal application of the law and preempt issuing authorities from revoking resident’s Article 1, Section 21 rights!

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Delaware Backpedals on Concealed Carry Changes

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The Delaware Attorney General’s Office has changed the information which appears on its website in relation to the reciprocity agreements of concealed carry permits with other states. Earlier this week I wrote that Delaware had changed its reciprocity agreements. At the time, the verbiage on the website was very clear (that being all non-resident permits from the states Delaware had agreements with would not be recognized after September 23, 2017).

As a number of readers and commenters on Facebook seemed to be confused as to the applicability of the language, I called the Attorney General’s Office to seek clarification. I was transferred to the individual who would have knowledge of the matter only to receive his voicemail. I followed up the following day only to be transferred back into voicemail. To date, I have not received a call back (which at this point is rather moot). Some time after the original blog article was posted, the website was updated to remove the language that was causing disdain amongst the firearms community.

The new language states that “[t]he list of states with reciprocal privileges is published on January 15 each year. Any additional reciprocal states would be posted on January 15 and be effective immediately. The removal of reciprocal privileges from any state would be posted by January 15 to take effect one year later.”

It goes on to state that the AG’s Office is currently reviewing the approval procedures for individuals in other states to acquire concealed carry permits to see if they meet the requirements of the Delaware Code to be recognized in Delaware. If the AG’s Office determines that they do not meet the requirements, notice will be published January 15, 2018 and the official change in recognition will occur the following year (January 15, 2019).

The AG’s Office does issue an apology for the confusion of the language that was posted from February 10-15th.

As always, we strive to give our readers the best and correct information. If you read the original article and shared it via Facebook, email, or some other method, I hope that you will forward along the updated information so that those around you can be in the know.

 

Do you have a non-resident concealed carry permit and find this article helpful? Be sure to pass it along to a friend who may benefit from the information by using the buttons below. Don’t forget to like Firearms Industry Consulting Group on Facebook by clicking the “Like” button on the right.

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Don’t forget, ballots for the NRA Board of Directors have been arriving. If you have not already voted, please consider voting for me. Voting members are those that are Life members or those who have been annual members for the past 5 consecutive years. If you have not yet received a ballot and you are a qualified member, you may contact membership services to acquire one.

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The Goslin Decision’s Impact on Possessing Weapons on School Property

As our viewers are aware, earlier, we posted about the Superior Court’s monumental decision in Commonwealth v Goslin, where the court, en banc, held that the “plain meaning of Section 912(c) provides two separate defenses: possessing and using a weapon on school property ‘in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity’ as well as possessing ‘for other lawful purpose’.” (emphasis added)

But what does this mean? What is the impact? And why did the court remand the case to the trial court for a new trial?

First, it is extremely important to note that although this is an extremely favorable decision, the law provides that either of the separate two defenses are just that – defenses. Specifically, Section 912(c) provides:

It shall be a defense that the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course or is possessed for other lawful purpose.

This means that the Commonwealth can charge you and force you to raise Section 912(c) as a defense and be acquitted by way of the defense, if you are legally entitled to the defense.

But what does that mean? Well, everyone wants bright line rules but unfortunately, in most cases, there aren’t bright line rules, when you wade into the minutiae of scenarios that can arise. So, let’s talk about what are the bright line rules from this decision:

  1. If you are prohibited from possessing a certain type of weapon (such as firearms or stun guns), you cannot utilize this defense, as you would not be in lawful possession of the weapon and therefore would not have a lawful purpose.
  2. If one is required to have special licensing to possess the weapon (such as a license to carry firearms (“LTCF”)) and you do not have an LTCF, you cannot utilize this defense, as you would not be in lawful possession of the weapon and therefore would not have a lawful purpose.
  3. If you intend to commit or actually do use your firearm to commit a crime on school grounds, you cannot utilize this defense, as you would have an unlawful purpose.

But, what if I am not prohibited from possessing a certain type of weapon, have the requisite licensing (if any) to possess the weapon and am carrying the weapon for purposes of self-defense, can I possess the weapon on school grounds?

Based on this decision (and other arguments under the PA and US Constitutions), you would be entitled to the defense found in Section 912(c); however, as mentioned above, nothing would prevent the District Attorney from charging you and forcing you to prove your defense. Now, that being said, few law enforcement officers are going to want to charge someone in this situation, because if they do, and the charges are dismissed or you are acquitted, you can bring a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against them for violating your rights.

Ok, but what if I need to utilize the weapon I am carrying on school grounds, let’s say for purpose of self-defense?

Here, while there are great arguments – arguments that we raised in our briefing – the decision does not address whether someone possessing a weapon for “other lawful purposes” may use it. In fact, a significant portion of my argument was that the General Assembly utilized different verbs for the different clauses. Specifically, you will see that the General Assembly permitted both use and possession in relation to a “lawful supervised school activity or course” (due to school shooting teams, Boy Scouts…etc, which actively possess and use weapons on school grounds) but only specified possession in relation to “other lawful purpose.” Moreover, as Mr. Goslin was not required to use the pocketknife that he lawfully possessed, this was not an issue before the court. That being said, if an individual, who possessed the weapon for purposes of self-defense, later used that weapon on school grounds for purposes of self-defense, there are great constitutional and statutory arguments that one can make to permit the use of the weapon in that limited circumstance.

Accordingly, the key points are that anyone lawfully possessing a weapon on school grounds ensure that they are possessing it for a lawful purpose (e.g. self-defense) and they understand that they can be charged with violating Section 912 and forced to argue the defense under Section 912(c).

So why did the Superior Court remand this case to the trial court?

Well, although the record establishes that Mr. Goslin lawfully possessed his knife, the trial court never addressed whether he lawfully possessed his knife, as it held that he wasn’t entitled to the defense since his possession of the knife was not related to a school activity. It is for that reason that the Superior Court remanded it back to the trial for a new trial. However, since posting our article on the decision, the District Attorney reached out to me and advised that they do not plan to appeal and intend to nolle prosequi (in essence, dismiss) the charges against Mr. Goslin. Accordingly, Mr. Goslin will not have go through another trial or file additional motions.

As our readers are aware, unfortunately,  Mr. Goslin was not in a position to fund this litigation. Therefore, if you are in a position to be able to help fund this monumental victory, Mr. Goslin would greatly appreciate donations which can be made online through our Firm’s escrow account here – https://secure.lawpay.com/pages/princelaw/trust. Simply place Goslin Appeal in the Matter No/Client Name box.

If you or someone you know has been charged with possessing a weapon on school grounds, contact us today to discuss YOUR rights.

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Delaware Changes Concealed Weapons Agreements (Not for the Better)

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UPDATE (2/17/17 8:42 AM): New Blog with current information related to the change in position from the Attorney General’s Office can be found here.

UPDATE (2/15/17 8:40 PM): After publication of the below article, it appears the language on the Delaware Attorney General’s page was changed to remove the information indicating that Delaware would no longer recognize non-resident permits. I already have a call in to the Attorney General’s Office requesting clarification and will post an update once I receive a response.

 

Delaware’s Attorney General recently updated their website to reflect the changes in their Reciprocity Agreements.

Previously, the website had listed reciprocity agreements with:

ALASKA

ARIZONA

ARKANSAS

COLORADO

FLORIDA

IDAHO
(Enhanced Permits Only)

KENTUCKY

MAINE

MICHIGAN

MISSOURI

NEW MEXICO

NORTH CAROLINA

NORTH DAKOTA

OHIO

OKLAHOMA

SOUTH DAKOTA
(Enhanced Permits Only)

TENNESSEE

TEXAS

UTAH

VIRGINIA
(Reciprocity with VA will be revoked as of 3/1/2016)

WEST VIRGINIA

Now, the website reflects the following changes:

ALASKA

ARIZONA

ARKANSAS

COLORADO

FLORIDA

IDAHO
(Enhanced Permits Only)

KENTUCKY

MAINE

MICHIGAN

MISSOURI

NEW MEXICO

NORTH CAROLINA

NORTH DAKOTA
(Class 1 permits only)

OHIO

OKLAHOMA

SOUTH DAKOTA
(Enhanced Permits Only)

TENNESSEE

TEXAS

UTAH

WEST VIRGINIA

Further, Delaware will no longer recognize non-resident permits issued by any state beginning on September 23, 2017.

As a number of Pennsylvanians have acquired either Florida or Utah non-resident permits in order to be able to carry a firearm in Delaware, it is important they be aware of this impending change as to not unlawfully carry a firearm in Delaware after the change becomes effective. While it is possible for the Attorney General of Pennsylvania (or the state in which you reside) to enter into negotiations with Delaware to secure a reciprocity agreement, it is likely that unless the state has a training requirement to obtain a license, Delaware will not enter into an agreement.

Perhaps the solution to the problem lies in the National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill that is currently in committee in the House. I’d encourage you to contact your Representatives and ask them to support the bill.

Do you have a non-resident concealed carry permit and find this article helpful? Be sure to pass it along to a friend who may benefit from the information by using the buttons below. Don’t forget to like Firearms Industry Consulting Group on Facebook by clicking the “Like” button on the right.

 

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Don’t forget, ballots for the NRA Board of Directors have been arriving. If you have not already voted, please consider voting for me. Voting members are those that are Life members or those who have been annual members for the past 5 consecutive years. If you have not yet received a ballot and you are a qualified member, you may contact membership services to acquire one.

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ATTENTION: The 9th Circuit amends the 2nd Amendment…

The last time I checked, neither state government nor the Courts had any power, real or imagined, to amend the U.S. Constitution.  A recent ruling from the 9th Circuit, however, suggests maybe I need to check again.  In a decision that confounds common sense, plain reading of the Constitutional text as much as it creates a legal non-sense, a divided 9th Circuit upheld Cal. Penal Law §25400 and §25655, which generally makes it unlawful to conceal carry firearms in public AND limits a license to conceal-carry to a finding of “good cause” by the issuing sheriff.  Peruta v. San Diego, 2016 WL 3194315 (9th Cir. June 9, 2016).

The procedural history of this case is itself dubious.  First, it should be noted that Peruta technically consisted of consolidated cases wherein plaintiffs challenged essentially the same local (county-level) iteration of §25400 and §25655.  The named plaintiff, Peruta, brought a Second Amendment suit against the County of San Diego.  Interestingly also, this case was the 9th Circuit’s rehearing and reversal of its own decision in Peruta I (742 F.3d 1144 (9th Cir. 2014)) wherein an en banc panel of the 9th had previously found good cause requirements unconstitutional.  The Sheriff of the San Diego, after Peruta I, declined to appeal for a rehearing, but that’s where the state of California intervened – prompting a hearing before the full Court – Peruta II.  San Diego county’s iteration of the good cause requirement defines such as…

…a set of circumstances that distinguish the applicant from the mainstream and causes him or her to be placed in harm’s way.  Simply fearing for one’s personal safety alone is not considered good cause.

The other case – Richards v. Prieto, Cnty. of Yolo, involved the named Plaintiff, Richards, bringing suit on the same grounds as plaintiff Peruta, but against Yolo County’s own version of the good cause requirement.  Amazingly, the County of Yolo does not bother to even define good cause (as if the concept wasn’t vague and arbitrary enough under California state law), rather the County instructs its residents that there are certain circumstances which, definitively, do or do not give rise to good cause.  Among those circumstances:

Victims of violent crime and/or documented threats of violence [yep]

Self protection and protection of family [nope]

Business owners who work all hours in remote areas and are likely to encounter dangerous people and situations [yep]

Personal safety due to job conditions or duties placed on the applicant by their employer [nope]

In a written opinion of truly amazing acrobatics – The 9th Circuit somehow sidestepped the very plain language of the Second Amendment, and also putatively avoided going as far as (explicitly) finding that the Second Amendment ensures no right, whatsoever, to publicly possessing a firearm for self-protection(“That question was left open by the Supreme Court in Heller, and we have no need to answer it here.”)  The problem is, California law also forbids open-carry, pursuant to Cal. Penal Law §26350.  Therefore, as a practical matter now, a private citizen cannot legally possess firearms in public for the purpose of self-protection.  Oh well, the catch-22 there was clearly not a concern for the Court.  Isn’t the narrow grounds approach to jurisprudence refreshing?

Irrespective of whether the reader belongs to the so-called textualist school of judicial philosophy, or that of the living Constitution, the ruling has to be seen as a baffling one.  I could have sworn that the Second Amendment states, in relevant part, “…the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”  Webster’s Dictionary includes the following definition of the word “bear” as including “to produce” and/or “to bring forth”.  Further, the Constitutional Convention’s inclusion of “bear” after stating “keep” rationally indicates that keeping and bearing are not one in the same thing – that the latter is an additional right, not to be confused with the former.  Sure, the Court engaged in an expansive quest for historical precedent to state’s prohibiting public carrying of weapons, but precedents can be found from the reverse side as well.  The writer finds it indicative of the weakness of the Court’s opinion that a majority of the 9th Circuit’s historical assessment looked to monarchical English history, first and foremost.

Well there you have it, the 9th has effectively taken the “bear” out of “…keep and bear arms…” – an amendment, as I see it.  Who needs Congress or a Constitutional Convention when you have overreaching judges.

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Devastating Decision from the Superior Court on “Other Lawful Purpose”

Today, the Superior Court issued a decision in Commonwealth v. Goslin, which addressed the defense in 18 Pa.C.S. § 912 that a weapon could be carried on school property for other lawful purposes.

In this case, Mr. Goslin attended an informal hearing with school officials regarding his son’s possession of a knife on school property. The purpose of the hearing was to “allow the family and student to discuss and answer any questions they may have and the school administration to ask any questions they may have and review the incident as they know it to have been.” During the hearing, Mr Goslin stated “that he had a knife and asked if [the school] would arrest him for having it. At that point, he forcefully placed it on the table in front of people at the meeting.”

Mr. Goslin testified that he carries the knife with him every day “because [he] use[s] it. [He] use[s] it at work, [he] use[s] it to sharpen pencils, [he] use[s] it to open tuna cans when [his] wife forgets to pack [him] a tuna can opener. [He] whittle sticks with [his] sons.” He went on to declare: “It occurred to me at the moment, oh, my goodness, they called the police on my nine-year-old son for having a whittling knife. I actually have a
pocket knife on me now and am I a criminal as well?”

During Mr. Goslin’s trial, he stipulated to possessing the knife on school property but argued that it was possessed for an “other lawful purpose” as provided for by 18 Pa.C.S. 912(c). Specifically, Section 912(c) provides: “Defense.–It shall be a defense that the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course or is possessed for other lawful purpose.”

Unfortunately, the trial court declared

My view of the plain reading or the plain language in the statute is that the defense is there for some lawful purpose upon which the weapon would be brought onto the school property, that’s not the same thing as saying that the weapon wasn’t brought there for some unlawful purpose. I see a distinction between those two, and I guess I would agree with the position the Commonwealth has taken that that defense is there for someone to bring a weapon onto the property for some legitimate reason pursuant to their presence on the school property, and there are probably lots of things.

 

I think in [Appellant’s] case, if [he] had said he brought the knife that [his] son was accused of having and it was the basis of the hearing, [Appellant] brought it from an evidentiary standpoint for the hearing itself, that to me would be some type of an example of bringing a weapon onto the property for lawful purposes.

 

The hearing was there, it involved that particular item which the school was alleging was a weapon, and if you had said the reason you had it was for that, I could see that’s something that probably the statute would cover. But that isn’t the case here. This is a different weapon. It’s clearly one that’s set forth in the statute as being prohibited. There isn’t a question about you knowing that it was on your person at the time.

The statute is clearly created to prohibit weapons from being brought onto school property unless there is a specific reason as carved out in the statute that they are to be viewed as not violating this criminal provision, but I don’t think [Appellant’s] situation falls within one of those reasons.

As a result, the trial court convicted him and he appealed, pro se. Unfortunately, the Superior Court believed him competent to handle his own appeal and did not appoint an attorney to handle his appeal.

After the Superior Court found the language “other lawful purpose” to be “not explicit,” it looked to the rules of statutory construction and declared that “public policy of maintaining, and acting to ensure, the safety of those who inhabit our schools” was of paramount importance in interpreting the statutory language.

As a result, the Superior Court held:

Appellant appeared in his capacity as a parent, with no purpose to possessing the knife on school property.

Had Appellant been at the school in a capacity which necessitated his possession of the knife, he could avail himself of the “other lawful purpose” defense to possessing the knife on school property. But that is not the case before us. If we were to accept Appellant’s interpretation of Section 912(c), we would be sanctioning the presence of weapons on school property in countless scenarios. Such sanction would be contrary to the intent of the General Assembly, which clearly enacted Section 912 to safeguard public welfare by prohibiting weapons in or near schools. We therefore discern no error by the trial court in convicting Appellant of possessing a weapon on school property, and affirm the June 2, 2015 judgment of sentence.

Learned Judge Dubow’s dissent, on the other hand, correctly reviews the plain meaning of the statute and declares:

Here, unlike the majority, I find that the statutory language is clear and unambiguous and should, therefore, not look beyond its plain language to ascertain its meaning.

 

My review confirms that the plain meaning of Section 912(c) provides two separate defenses: (1) possessing a weapon on school property “in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity;” and (2) possessing “for other lawful purpose.”

Something that is “other” is “distinct from the one or those first mentioned or understood,” or is “additional.” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary 1598 (1986).

 

A “lawful” act is one that is “allowed or permitted by law.”

 

And, last, a “purpose” is “something that one sets before himself as an object to be attained,” “an end or aim to be kept in view in any plan, measure, exertion, or operation,” or “an object, effect, or result aimed at, intended, or attained.”

By its plain terms, the first clause of this subsection specifically provides as a defense to the charge of Possession of Weapon on School Property the possession of a weapon that is possessed and used in association with a lawful supervised school activity or course.

 

The second clause of this subsection—and the one at issue here— serves as a catchall provision. The “other lawful purpose” language does not restrict the defense provided in section 912(c), as the majority has concluded. Instead, I find that the critical phrase does just the opposite. It expands the defense to include any additional or different lawful reason not otherwise mentioned in the first clause of section 912(c), regardless ofwhether it is school-related. To conclude otherwise renders “possessed for other lawful purpose” redundant with “possessed and used in association with a lawful supervised school activity or course.”

I note that the possession of weapons on school property is obviously a major concern to communities across Pennsylvania. It is, however, for the legislature, and not the courts, to limit the applicability of a defense to any crime. The legislature has not yet done so here and the courts lack the authority to re-write the clear and unambiguous language of Section 912(c). Therefore, I am bound to interpret Section 912(c) broadly, and, consequently, would reverse Appellant’s judgment of sentence and order a new trial. (emphasis added)

Accordingly, under this decision, an individual cannot carry a firearm pursuant to a valid license to carry firearms, even though such would not be a per se unlawful purpose. Rather, in Judge Mundy’s and Judge Strassburger’s judicially activist opinion, one must have an explicitly statutory permitted basis, such as being a law enforcement officer, to have a firearm on school property.

However, all may not be lost. Since this was a 3 judge panel decision, with a dissenting opinion, the Superior Court may be enticed to review the decision en banc, if a proper motion for reconsideration en banc is filed by competent counsel. Otherwise, unless appealed and overturned by the PA Supreme Court, this decision will be controlling.

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