Tag Archives: FICG

A Very Interesting Decision On City Domestic Violence Convictions Not Triggering A Federal Prohibition

Two days ago, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a largely overlooked decision in U.S. v. Alexander Pauler, which involved Mr. Pauler’s misdemeanor conviction of domestic violence, pursuant to a municipal ordinance.

Mr. Pauler was previously convicted in 2009 of violating a Wichita, Kansas municipal domestic battery ordinance by punching his girlfriend. As the 10th Circuit declared,

The sole issue before us in this appeal is whether a misdemeanor violation of a municipal ordinance qualifies as a “misdemeanor under . . . State . . . law” when viewed in the context of a statutory scheme that clearly and consistently differentiates between state and local governments and between state statutes and municipal ordinances.

In ruling that Mr. Pauler was not prohibited pursuant to the Gun Control Act, 18 U.S.C. § 921, et seq., and more specifically the Lautenberg amendment, which became 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9), the 10th Circuit refreshingly looked to the actual language of the definition of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” found in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33), which provides, in pertinent part that it must bea misdemeanor under Federal, State, or Tribal law.” In this instance, since Mr. Pauler’s conviction was for a municipal crime of domestic violence and not a state crime of domestic violence, the 10th Circuit ruled that he was not prohibited and therefore his conviction for being a prohibited person in possession must be vacated and overturned. 

If you are being charged with being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm, contact Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®) 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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Firearm Preemption Passes Senate With Veto-Proof Vote

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Senate passed Senate Bill 5 with a vote of 34 to 16, which is a 2/3rds majority veto-proof vote; however, the vote could have been even stronger if three republicans – Senators Greenleaf, Killion and McGarrigle – had not voted against it. 

At the last minute, there were five amendments proposed to Senate Bill 5 of which only one passed. That one provides that the Attorney General shall provide, within 30 days of enactment, notice of the new law to every municipality. Furthermore, the sections of Senate Bill 5 that provide for preemption and enforcement would not be effective for 60 days. What appears lost in relation to this amendment is the fact that firearm preemption has existed since 1979 and it has been a misdemeanor of the 1st degree. Furthermore, there appears to be some thought that unlike us mere peasants, who do not receive personal notification of new laws that are enacted, that municipalities are of a privileged class that deserve personal notification of the fact that their existing ordinances and regulations are in violation of the law.

While Senate Bill 5 is not perfect for other additional issues that I flagged for those capable of resolving them, it is definitely a step in the right direction.

Senate Bill 5 now moves to the House of Representatives for a vote.

There are three things that must be done:

  1. If you are a constituent of Senator Boscola, please contact her and let her know that you appreciate her vote in favor of holding municipalities accountable.
  2. If you are a constituent of Senators Senators Greenleaf, Killion or McGarrigle, please let them know that their vote against holding municipalities accountable will have consequences in their next election.
  3. Please contact your House Representative member and ask them to vote in favor of SB 5.

Together, we can ensure that municipalities stop violating the law and are held accountable.

If your rights have been violated by an illegal firearm ordinance or regulation, 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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The Problems With Senate Bill 383 Permitting Teachers To Carry Firearms In Pennsylvania

Recently, there has been a lot of public interest and questions asked about Pennsylvania Senate Bill 383, which seeks to provide school districts with the ability to approve school personnel to carry firearms in schools. As many of you are aware, I full support having armed school personnel in our schools; however, this bill suffers from many issues that appear to have never been considered.

First, it requires the school official to have a license to carry firearms (“LTCF”). Why is this of concern? Well, SB 383 fails to consider that LTCF applicant information is confidential and not subject to disclosure; whereby, the disclosure of such information is a felony of the 3rd degree and permits civil penalties. Specifically, 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 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.

Section 6111(i) then provides, in pertinent part:

Confidentiality.  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.

Second, the bill does nothing to address the confidentiality of this information and how a school district is to protect the disclosure of this information. Who is entitled within the school district to see and have access to this information? Are logs to be kept of who views it and when? Is any training on the confidentiality of LTCF applicant information to be provided to school officials who have access to this information? If so, how frequently? Are logs to be kept of their training? These are all important issues that are not addressed, in any form, by the bill.

I also question why an LTCF is the determining criteria instead of the person being Act 235 certified. It would seem to be far more logical to me to remove the LTCF requirement and replace it with an Act 235 requirement.

Third, and most concerning is the fact that without the confidentiality of this information being addressed in SB 383, one wonders whether such information will be disclosed to the public, including through Right To Know Law (“RTKL”) requests. If so, now an individual intent on harming our children, including a potential terrorist or terrorist group, could learn, in advance, whether a school district has any armed personnel. If so, the criminal/terrorist is likely to target those school personnel first. If, on the other hand, a RTKL request comes back stating that there are no relevant records, such would highlight that there are no armed personnel and that the school is an extremely soft target.

Although I support arming our school personnel, SB 383 fails to address many significant concerns and therefore, I cannot support it in its current form. My hope is that the General Assembly takes action to correct SB 383.

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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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Did Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood and Reporter Stephanie Farr Commit a Felony of the Third Degree?

Yesterday, Reporter Stephanie Farr of Philly.com reported on an incident, where allegedly Mr. Domonique Jordan, an adult aide to a special-needs student, brought a firearm to the Drexel Hill Middle School. Apparently, Mr. Jordan has been charged with possession of a firearm on school property, even though, such charging would appear contrary to the en banc decision I recently obtained from the Superior Court in Commonwealth v. Goslin. Regardless, in her article, she states, “Jordan, an employee with Staffing Plus of Haverford, has a concealed-carry weapons permit and an Act 235 permit, which is issued to security guards by state police, [Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael] Chitwood said.”

Unfortunately for Superintendent Chitwood and Reporter Farr, all license to carry firearms information is confidential and the disclosure of such is a felony of the third degree and also carries with it civil penalties. Specifically, 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 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.

For those unaware, Section 6109 is the statutory section regarding the issuance of licenses to carry firearms. Section 6111(i) further 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, … 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.

As our viewers are aware, I previously litigated a class action against the City of Philadelphia for disclosing confidential license to carry firearms applicant information which resulted in a $1.5 million dollar settlement and also secured a major victory, where the Commonwealth Court held that the use of un-enveloped postcards, which contain license to carry firearms applicant information, is a violation of the confidentiality provisions.

It will be interesting to see whether Superintendent Chitwood and Reporter Farr are held accountable. While Reporter Farr may have been unaware (even though ignorance of the law is not a defense), there is no reason for Superintendent Chitwood to not have been aware of the law.

If your confidential license to carry firearms applicant information has been 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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Firearm and Ammunition Preemption Needs YOUR Immediate Support!

Today, in an 8-3 vote, the Senate Local Government Committee passed an extremely important firearm and ammunition preemption bill – Senate Bill 5 – which in addition to reaffirming/strengthening preemption would also provide for attorney fees and costs, where a local government violates the preemption statute.  Senate Bill 5 will now go to the Senate floor for consideration.

We can pass preemption with a veto proof majority, but we need YOUR help! Please contact your state Senator and urge them to support Senate Bill 5!  Please take the time to email, fax or call your Senator and do not use form letters/requests, as they are generally ignored. Our Representatives know when an issue is so important to you that you take the time to personally and respectfully contact them.

Together, we can ensure that our rights under Article 1, Section 21 are not questioned!

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Maryland Certifies Chief Counsel Prince As A Handgun Instructor

Today, the Maryland State Police certified Chief Counsel Joshua Prince, of the Firearms Industry Consulting Group, a division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., as a qualified handgun instructor for the state of Maryland, which permits him to instruct Handgun Qualification License applicants and Handgun Wear and Bear applicants.

Firearm Instructor.jpg

As many of our viewers are aware, Chief Counsel Prince recently took the grueling Maryland Bar Exam to begin practicing firearms law and defending the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in the state courts throughout Maryland. He also looks forward to working with the Legislature to amend Maryland’s Constitution to provide an explicit state constitutional right to Keep and Bear Arms, since the Maryland courts have previously held in Scherr v. Handgun Permit Review Board, 880 A.2d 1137 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 2005) that Article 28 of the Maryland Constitution does not provide an individual right.

Please join us in congratulating Chief Counsel Prince on this achievement!

 


Firearms Industry Consulting Group® and FICG® are registered trademarks of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C.

Prince Law Offices, P.C. is licensed to use these trademarks, in accordance with Civil Rights Defense Firm’s approval.

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