Tag Archives: disclosure

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!

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Filed under Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

Monumental Decision from Commonwealth Court on Confidentiality of License to Carry Firearms Applicant Information

On Friday, May 20th, 2016, the Commonwealth Court issued a monumental decision in John Doe, et al., v. Franklin County, et al., 1634 C.D. 2015, a case that I litigated, where it declared that the disclosure of license to carry firearms (“LTCF”) applicant information to anyone other than law enforcement acting within the scope of their official duties or the applicant (or someone approved by the applicant) violates 18 Pa.C.S. 6111(i), which results 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.”

In a 45 page decision, which reviewed, inter alia, the history of Section 6111(i), the constitutionality of its enactment, the Pennsylvania State Police’s own regulations relating to it and whether a Sheriff can claim High Public Official Immunity in relation to it, the Commonwealth Court declared

“any person, licensed dealer, State or local governmental agency or department” violates Section 6111(i) of the UFA by revealing an “applicant’s name or identity” to a person not (1) authorized to receive such information by statute; (2) involved in the operation or management of the sheriff’s office; (3) representing a law enforcement or criminal justice agency; or (4) otherwise authorized by an applicant. Any other interpretation of Section 6111(i) of the UFA where a License applicant’s confidentiality is not safeguarded would be inconsistent with the UFA’s purpose and structure.

The Court also found that Defendants’ challenge to the constitutionality of how Section 6111(i) was enacted was untimely whether under the doctrine of laches, as Plaintiffs argued, or whether under the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision in Sernovitz v. Dershaw. Accordingly, although Plaintiffs additionally argued that Section 6111(i) was constitutionally enacted, the Court stated that due to the failure of Defendants, or any other party, to bring a challenge regarding its enactment in the past 18 years, any challenge was now untimely.

Furthermore, the Court found that the Sheriff was not entitled to High Public Official Immunity pursuant to Section 6111(i) and therefore declined to consider whether High Public Official Immunity is unconstitutional pursuant to Art 1, Section 11 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, as Plaintiffs had additionally argued.

Unfortunately, although 18 Pa.C.S. 6109(h) explicitly states that $1.50 of the fee paid is for purposes of the issuing authority sending the renewal notice, the Court declined to find that a civil cause of action exists for a Sheriff’s failure to issue renewal notices. Although the Plaintiffs brought a common law claim for breach of fiduciary duties, the Court found the Defendants were protected from that claim by the Political Tort Claims Subdivision Act.

While I am disappointed with certain determinations of the Court, I was pleased to see that many of my arguments and research were utilized by the Court in its decision and that it reached the proper conclusion regarding the confidentiality of LTCF applicant information.

If your confidential LTCF information was disclosed in some manner, whether via postcard, sign-in sheet or otherwise, contact us today so we can discuss your rights. You can reach us at info@princelaw.com or 888-313-0416.

 

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Filed under Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

Settlement APPROVED in Philadelphia Class Action Lawsuit Regarding Disclosure of Confidential LTCF Information

I am proud to announce that today, Judge Jacqueline Allen signed a Final Order approving the settlement that was reached with the City of Philadelphia in the matter of John Doe, et al.,  v. City of Philadelphia, et al, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas docket no. 121203785, stemming from the City’s posting and disclosing of what we alleged was confidential license to carry firearms (LTCF) information. You can download a copy of the original Press Release related to the Preliminary Approval – here.

As a result of the Settlement, the City will pay $1.425 million to the class and will be separately responsible for the costs of administering the settlement. Further, and of similar importance, the City has agreed to a number of policy changes, which can be found starting on page 11 of the Settlement Agreement, including:

  1. Not to disclose LTCF applicant information either electronically or in-person;
  2. Annual training of the Philadelphia Police Department and Philadelphia License and Inspection Board of Review on the confidentiality of LTCF applicant information;
  3. Customer service training for the Philadelphia Gun Permit Unit;
  4. Posting a copy of the LTCF Application Notice on its website and where LTCF applications and appeals can be submitted or obtained, as well as, providing a copy to anyone who has his/her LTCF denied or revoked;
  5. The City will not require references on the LTCF application and will not contact any references listed on the LTCF application;
  6. The City will not require lawful immigrants or US Citizens with a US Passport to provide naturalization papers;
  7. The City will not require any applicant to disclose whether he/she owns a firearm during the LTCF application process;
  8. The City will not deny an application because the applicant answered “no” to any question regarding whether the applicant had been charged/convicted of any crime where the applicant received a pardon or expungement from the charge or conviction;
  9. The City will process all LTCF applications within 45 calendar days;
  10. The City will remit $15.00 to any applicant who is denied within 20 days;
  11. The City will not require LTCF applicants or holders to disclose to law enforcement that they have an LTCF, that they are carrying a firearm or that they have a firearm in the vehicle; and
  12. The City will not confiscate an LTCF or firearm, unless there is probable cause that the LTCF or firearm is evidence of a crime. In the event an LTCF or firearm is confiscated, the officer must immediately provide a property receipt, which shall include the pertinent information

A copy of the signed and filed Settlement Agreement can be downloaded – here. As the Final Order has not yet been docketed, it is not currently available for download. A copy of the Second Amended Complaint can be downloaded – here.

 

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Filed under Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law