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Undetectable Firearms and 3D Printing

Special Guest Author – Rick Vasquez of Rick Vasquez Firearms LLC and

former ATF Acting Chief of the Firearms Technology Branch

If you had zero knowledge of firearms as many talking heads on the media display, you might believe there is a new phenomenon called 3D printing of guns. Additionally, you may believe polymer firearms were recently designed, and thirdly, you would likely have no idea what the Undetectable Firearm Act is. With this lack of knowledge, you may spew disinformation about how modern firearms are undetectable and easily bypass all security elements.

Polymer firearms have been around several years. The first successful firearm with a polymer receiver was the H&K VP70 pistol. This pistol was introduced circa 1970. Then, of course, the Glock which took polymer firearms to a new height was introduced circa 1980-1982 ( https://eu.glock.com/en/explore-glock/glock-history). After this date, the use of polymers in firearm receivers has become common place.

During the 1980’s, the hysteria on plastic guns played out in the media exactly as it is today. There was hysteria over the ability of a polymer firearm to pass through a metal detector. In 1986, there was a supposed incident at the Atlanta Airport in which a Glock passed the screening, and it created media hysteria. It was later discovered that the screening machine was not properly being used, but why waste a good story?

The media began covering plastic and undetectable guns that could not be discovered with airport equipment. I have provided a few links to stories from the 1980s on undetectable firearms. (Footnote 1) Of course, a good lawmaker could not let misinformation go without passing an anti-gun law. Because of the issue created by the media, the Undetectable Firearm Act was passed in 1988. (Footnote 2)  Imagine if this law had made plastic firearms unlawful, what the historical impact would have been to our military and law enforcement?

But what can Congress do to alleviate a law they proposed impacting manufacturers in heavy democrat districts in 1988? If the law prohibits polymer firearms, manufacturers like Glock and S&W would be out of business. This is easy! Congress changes the meaning of a firearm receiver in the new statute. In the Gun Control Act, Title 18 U.S.C. section 921 (a)(3) firearm is defined as (3) The term “firearm” means (A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon; (C) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or (D) any destructive device… Such term do not include an antique firearm.

The undetectable statute is listed in its’ entirety below but for comparison to the definition of a firearm receiver already in the Gun Control Act, the pertinent parts are here: Title 18, U.S.C., Chapter 44, Section 922 (p)(1) It shall be unlawful for any person to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive any firearm–

(A) that, after removal of grips, stocks, and magazines, is not as

detectable as the Security Exemplar, by walk-through metal detectors calibrated and operated to detect the Security Exemplar; or

(B) any major component of which, when subjected to inspection by the types of x-ray machines commonly used at airports, does not generate an image that accurately depicts the shape of the component. Barium sulfate or other compounds may be used in the fabrication of the component.

(2) For purposes of this subsection –

(A) the term “firearm” does not include the frame or receiver of any such weapon;

(B) the term “major component” means, with respect to a firearm, the barrel, the slide or cylinder, or the frame or receiver of the firearm; and …

In the Gun Control Act, the firearm frame is all of the following: the housing, the registered part, the part that must be serialized, and the part a background check must be conducted on for a lawful transfer. Under the Undetectable Firearm Act the receiver as defined in the GCA is not restricted to be made of plastic or polymer or any non-metallic substance. The Undetectable Firearms Act was written to only prohibit the ability of a slide or barrel to be made that does not have the same detectability as the “security exemplar.”

Recently Government experts have been informing the media that a firearm must have the same amount of metal as a security exemplar made of 3.7 ounces of PH 17- 4 stainless steel. This is incorrect, the law does not require that the slide or barrel possess at least 3.7 ounces of PH17-4 stainless steel, the law requires the handgun must be as detectable under the equipment used in 1988, as the security exemplar. This is the misinformation that is being passed through the media. Whether they are getting the information through lawmakers or law enforcement bureaus, the research is not being conducted.

This watered-down version of the law was passed to protect manufacturers in heavy democrat voting districts and then appear that they are protecting citizens against terrorist. In 1988 and today, polymer firearms are made with metal slides and barrels. These polymer receivers do not have 3.7 ounces of PF 17-4 stainless or other metal in the “receiver” that is regulated in section 921(a)(3).

 

3D Misunderstanding:

Of course, once Cody Wilson made the Liberator pistol using a 3d printer and plastic, the antigun hysteria has reawakened. Numerous government agencies bought 3D printers and made a Liberator pistol with a file that was uploaded to the internet by Cody Wilson.

Then they did their own testing. The testing shows that the plastic barrel may withstand one or a few rounds of .380 caliber ammunition.3 Numerous other agencies made AR15 lower receivers and also tested them. With affordable and available 3D printing, the AR 15 receiver is a more viable firearm to make using a 3D printer. The difference in the AR receiver is that the receiver is not the part of the firearm that accepts the chamber pressure. The chamber pressure is captured in the steel barrel in the upper assembly. Of course, there are more expensive aluminum and steel 3D printers available, but the hobbyists are not going to purchase these to make a firearm. These versions of 3D printers will eventually be cost effective as technology advances.

Remember, the Liberator is a one-shot pistol that must be disassembled to be reloaded. The World Trade Center was destroyed by terrorists using boxcutters. Does the technology at the airport have the capability to pick up boxcutters?

The report prepared by a law enforcement agency on the Liberator informed Cody Wilson that if he made the Liberator pistol, he must install a 3.7 ounce piece of metal into the receiver. The following instruction was given:

The steel block recommendation reads as follows:

“Once the frame is finished, epoxy a 1.19×1.19×0.99″ block of steel in the 1.2×1.2×1.0″ hole in front of the trigger guard. Add the bottom cover over the metal if you don’t want it to show.

Once the epoxy has dried [sic], the steel is no longer removable, and is an integral part of the frame. Now your gun has 6 ounces of steel and is thus considered a ‘detectable’ firearm.” This is statutorily incorrect as 922(p) does not consider the firearm receiver the receiver. It considers the barrel and slide assembly the detectable portions. Additionally, this block of steel is not in the shape of a security exemplar and would not give off the satisfactory image required by the statute.

Cody Wilson should have been properly informed that the Liberator, having a smooth bore, is an “any other weapon” (AOW) under the National Firearms Act. If he were a licensed manufacturer of firearms and had paid the special occupational tax to make NFA weapons, he could properly register the Liberator as an “AOW”. Regardless of the registration, the barrel assembly must comply with 922(p) and have as much detectability as a 3.7-ounce 17-4 PH stainless steel security exemplar.

Since the invention of plastic firearms, there have been other designs of firearm receivers that could create an undetectable concern. Firearms manufacturers are currently making an internal metal chassis that is considered the firearm, and the polymer grip is only a housing. The following link shows a 80% pistol chassis for a Sig pistol for sale. https://www.1776supplyco.com/product/80-p320-pistol-frame/. The chassis, being the receiver, does not weigh 3.5 ounces nor will it show the same resonance as the security exemplar. Another example of a firearm that can be made with simple tools and with the receiver not being made of metal is the after-market Glock 80% receiver. https://www.glockstore.com/Spectre-Polymer80-Compact-Textured. These firearms are more available and easier to make than a 3D printed Liberator.

The real issue is the fact that our lawmakers and senior law enforcement heads do not know the subject or the laws that they pass. When asked what they are doing to fix a problem that does not exist, they create media hysteria by commenting with bizarre explanations.

Technology is advancing daily. Don’t view technology changing in a few years or even months. Think of it changing in a matter of days. The technology being used by the firearms industry is very critical to all aspects of its industry. All firearms built or provided for our military are developed by private firearms manufacturers. Our military and law enforcement do not have a firearm making capability. Therefore, firearms manufacturers, in an effort to sell their product to our military, invest hundreds of millions of dollars developing technology that benefits all sectors of U.S. manufacturing.

3D printing is a perfect example of advancing technology that was not being used to it’s potential in the manufacturing industry. Until Cody Wilson built the Liberator pistol, very few people even knew what 3D printing was or that the technology existed. Many sectors of all industry and manufacturing are now using 3D printing technology for development of different products. The cost of rapid prototyping and making new designs is decreasing rapidly.

Modern manufacturing is moving forward with new technologies and instead of trying to impede the progress by our lawmakers and law enforcement, people need to be looking for methods of detection. In 2003, I visited the Transportation Safety Administration Technology Center in Atlantic City, NJ. I met with senior personnel and discussed the types of technology that could detect supposed undetectable firearms and other undetectable items. At the time, the magnetometer that ATF owned for testing was so outdated, it could not be repaired and had not been used in several years.

In 2003, I received a lot of information regarding detection equipment and a lot of information regarding magnetometers. All of this was shared with management. Magnetometers that were in use by TSA in 2003 were technologically superior to the one that was used at the same time by FTB.   What technology is available in 2018? Previous magnetometers, as the model that FTB owned, were required to be able to detect a set of 3 specific weapons. The equipment that TSA had was sensitive enough to detect all polymer firearms, polymer knives and other weapons. Additionally, current magnetometers are calibrated on a daily basis.

Instead of fighting technology, embrace it. Use technology to defend against all threats and use the best detecting machines at the airport. A razor-sharp ceramic knife is a far superior and deadly weapon than a one or two-shot firearm that must be disassembled to be reloaded. If our airports do not have the proper equipment to detect these types of items, then our law makers should be fired. In closing, just imagine the historical impact on our law enforcement and military if our law makers had outlawed the use of plastic in the manufacturing of firearms.

 

Rick Vasquez

Former Assistant Chief/Acting Chief

ATF Firearms Technology Branch Current

Firearms Industry Advisor

 

http://articles.latimes.com/1988-04-26/news/mn-1594_1_plastic-gun https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1986/05/15/the-deadly-truth-about-plastic- guns/d5d14631-ed41-4fb4-bf8c-63098269cabc/?utm_term=.1ad13948a40e.

2 https://www.congress.gov/bill/100th-congress/house-bill/4445/all-info

3 https://www.wired.com/story/a-landmark-legal-shift-opens-pandoras-box-for-diy-guns/

Attachment:

Title 18, U.S.C., Chapter 44, Section 922 (p)(1) It shall be unlawful for any person to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive any firearm –

(A) that, after removal of grips, stocks, and magazines, is not as detectable as the Security Exemplar, by walk-through metal detectors calibrated and operated to detect the Security Exemplar; or

(B) any major component of which, when subjected to inspection by the types of x-ray machines commonly used at airports, does not generate an image that accurately depicts the shape of the Barium sulfate or other compounds may be used in the fabrication of the component.

(2) For purposes of this subsection –

(A) the term “firearm” does not include the frame or receiver of any such weapon;

(B) the term “major component” means, with respect to a firearm, the barrel, the slide or cylinder, or the frame or receiver of the firearm; and

(C) the term “Security Exemplar” means an object, to be fabricated at the direction of the Secretary, that is –

(i)constructed of, during the 12-month period beginning on the date of the enactment of this subsection, 3.7 ounces of material type 17-4 PH stainless steel in a shape resembling a handgun; and

(ii) suitable for testing and calibrating metal detectors:

Provided, however, That at the close of such 12-month period, and at appropriate times thereafter the Secretary shall promulgate regulations to permit the manufacture, importation, sale, shipment, delivery, possession, transfer, or receipt of firearms previously prohibited under this subparagraph that are as detectable as a “Security Exemplar” which contains 3.7 ounces of material type 17-4 PH stainless steel, in a shape resembling a handgun, or such lesser amount as is detectable in view of advances in state-of-the-art developments in weapons detection technology.

 

 

 

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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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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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With a Second Stroke of a Pen, PA Governor Wolf Ensures that Firearm Rights are Restricted by Renewing Proclamation of State of Emergency

Yesterday, for the second time, Pennsylvania Governor Wolf renewed a proclamation declaring Pennsylvania’s heroin and opioid epidemic a statewide disaster emergency, seemingly triggering the firearm prohibitions found in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6107 during declared emergencies.

As I discussed extensively in my prior blog article – With a Stroke of a Pen, PA Governor Wolf Limits Firearms Rights by Proclaiming a State of Emergency – pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. § 6107, an individual, who could generally carry a firearm in public without a license to carry firearms (LTCF) (with the exception of in the City of Philadelphia as a city of the first class), cannot do so during a state of emergency. As I additionally blogged about – Are the Great American Outdoors Show (GAOS) and State Game Land Hunting in Jeopardy as a Result of Governor Wolf’s Proclamation of Emergency? – the proclamation affects gun shows and would force a hunter on state game lands to prove, as a defense to prosecution, that he/she was lawfully engaged in hunting.

Most importantly, in my third and last article on the proclamation – Lose Your Second Amendment Rights if You Violate Section 6107 as a Result of Governor Wolf’s Opioid Proclamation – if you are convicted of a violation of Section 6107, because it is graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree, you will be prohibited under federal law from purchasing and possessing firearms and ammunition.

Please contact your State Representatives and demand that they immediately repeal Section 6107, so that YOUR rights aren’t infringed and so that YOU aren’t forced to pay attorney fees and costs to prove, as a defense, one of the exceptions in Section 6106. When contacting them, also demand that the draconian transportation laws of Section 6106 be repealed, as well.

If you or someone you know has had their right to keep and bear arms infringed as a result of this state of emergency, contact Firearms Industry Consulting Group today to discuss YOUR rights and legal 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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Violating Pennsylvania’s Human Relations Act by Denying Sales of Firearms and Ammunition to Those Under 21 Years of Age?

Recently, numerous companies, including Dicks, Walmart, and even Pennsylvania-based Dunkelberger’s Sports Outfitters, started refusing to sell rifles and shotguns to individuals between the ages of 18 and 21, seemingly in violation of Pennsylvania’s Human Relations Act.

Before addressing PA’s Human Relations Act, let’s review Pennsylvania’s constitutional provisions. First and foremost, Article 1, Section 1 – Inherent rights of mankind – provides:

All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing and protecting property and reputation, and of pursuing their own happiness.

Article 1, Section 21 – Right to bear arms – provides:

The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.

More importantly and frequently overlooked, Article 1, Section 25 – Reservation of powers in people – provides:

To guard against transgressions of the high powers which we have delegated, we declare that everything in this article is excepted out of the general powers of government and shall forever remain inviolate.

Accordingly, the rights acknowledged by Article 1, Sections 1 through 24, including the right to self defense, the ability to acquire property and the right to bear arms, are inalienable as acknowledged by the Constitution.

In turning to PA’s Human Relations Act, the Findings in Section 952 provide, inter alia,

The practice or policy of discrimination against individuals or groups by reason of their race, color, familial status, religious creed, ancestry, age, sex, national origin, handicap or disability, … is a matter of concern of the Commonwealth. Such discrimination foments domestic strife and unrest, threatens the rights and privileges of the inhabitants of the Commonwealth, and undermines the foundations of a free democratic state.

Section 953 then goes on to provide, inter alia, that:

The opportunity for an individual … to obtain all the accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any public accommodation … without discrimination because of race, color, familial status, religious creed, ancestry, handicap or disability, age, sex, national origin, … is hereby recognized as and declared to be a civil right which shall be enforceable as set forth in this act.

For those wondering what all is included as a public accommodation, it includes, in addition to a plethora of other entities, “retail stores and establishments.

Anyone aggrieved under the PA Human Relations Act can file a complaint for discrimination with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.

Hopefully, these retailers will reconsider their age-based policies denying individuals their inalienable rights to bear arms and to defend themselves.

If you or someone you know has been denied your right to keep and bear arms, contact Firearms Industry Consulting Group today to discuss YOUR rights and legal 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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Lose Your Second Amendment Rights if You Violate Section 6107 as a Result of Governor Wolf’s Opioid Proclamation

As our viewers are aware, on January 10th, when Governor Wolf issued his Opioid Proclamation, which triggered the prohibitions of 18 Pa.C.S. § 6107, I addressed the issue in my article – With a Stroke of a Pen, PA Governor Wolf Limits Firearm Rights by Proclaiming State of Emergency. Thereafter, Governor Wolf’s Office issued a canned statement stating that the Proclamation did not effect firearm rights, but failed to address the issues that I raised, which resulted in my re-addressing of the issues, including in relation to the “exceptions” being defenses that must be proven in a court of law as a defense to prosecution, the hunting on state game lands and the impact on the Great American Outdoors Show. Today, Philly.com published an article, which in addition to failing to address the issues I’ve continually raised relative to the Proclamation,  now implied that the Governor’s Office contends that a violation of Section 6107 is “a citation.”

Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 9.40.27 AM.png

Unfortunately, once again, if the Wolf Administration did state that it was only a citation,  it is once again misleading the public on this issue, because pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. § 6119, it is a misdemeanor of the first degree – our highest grade misdemeanor – which can be punished, per 18 Pa.C.S. § 106(b)(6), by up to 5 years in jail.  As a result, if an individual is convicted of a violation of Section 6107, it triggers the federal prohibition of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1); whereby, that individual will be prohibited for the remainder of his/her life from possessing and purchasing firearms and ammunition. Specifically, Section 922(g)(1)

(g) It shall be unlawful for any person–
(1) who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year; …
to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.
As further defined by 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20), a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year as:
(20) The term “crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year” does not include– …
(B) any State offense classified by the laws of the State as a misdemeanor and punishable by a term of imprisonment of two years or less.
Thus, as a misdemeanor of the first degree in Pennsylvania can be punished by up to 5 years in jail, the Section 922(g)(1) prohibition is triggered.
Hopefully, the misinformation from the Governor’s Office will cease; however, if Governor Wolf disputes the effect of his Proclamation on firearm rights or the grading of a resultant conviction, I am more than happy to debate him on the law.
I believe it is also necessary to point out that although I responded in the comment section of the Philly.com article, the “editorial board” apparently elected to delete my comment as it cannot be found in the comment section. So much for their request that readers “contribute to an engaging dialogue.” Below is a screenshot of my comment, which was later removed.
Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 9.49.56 AM.png
If you or someone you know has had their right to keep and bear arms infringed as a result of this state of emergency, contact Firearms Industry Consulting Group today to discuss YOUR rights and legal 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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Governor Wolf’s “Interpretive Jiggery-Pokery” on his Proclamation’s Impact on Firearm Rights in Pennsylvania

In an article published today – Gov. Wolf: Opioid declaration doesn’t affect gun rights – Governor Wolf’s spokesman J.J. Abbott is quoted as stating that I am “flat-out wrong” in relation to the impact of Governor Wolf’s Opioid Proclamation on firearm rights, as set forth in the two articles that I have written on the topic. The first article is: With a Stroke of a Pen, PA Governor Wolf Limits Firearm Rights by Proclaiming State of Emergency. The second is: Are the Great American Outdoors Show (GAOS) and State Game Land Hunting in Jeopardy as a Result of Governor Wolf’s Proclamation of Emergency?

As neither Mr. Abbott nor the Governor (or anyone from his Office for that matter) has reached out to me and provided me with the seemingly canned statement that they are providing to reporters, for purposes of this article, I will rely on the statements reported in the Public Opinion article, which, as I address below, are nothing but smoke and mirrors and fail to address the real concerns, including the impact to the Great American Outdoors Show.

But first, since Mr. Abbott felt it necessary to call into question my legal aptitude, it is necessary to address his and the Governor’s qualification to provide legal advice. As they are surely aware, the unauthorized practice of law is a criminal offense, pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § 2524, where the first offense is a misdemeanor of the third degree and a second or subsequent offense is a misdemeanor of the first degree. In reviewing the attorney lookup of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, it does not appear that either Mr. Abbott nor Governor Wolf are licensed attorneys. Hopefully, someone within the Governor’s Office with an actual juris doctorate has reviewed the legal issues.

Regardless of whether the Mr. Abbott or Governor Wolf are attorneys, or whether someone within the Governor’s Office who is an attorney reviewed the legal issues, it is important for the the citizens of the Commonwealth, as well as the non-citizens who will be attending the Great American Outdoors Show, to know that any statement by the Governor as to the applicability of the law to a set of facts is immaterial and does not preclude a court of law from convicting you, even if your conduct comports with the conduct approved by the Governor.

But let’s put all of that aside and look at exactly what the canned statement said. As reported in the article:

The governor’s declaration does not allow for law enforcement to confiscate firearms, and the governor worked with law enforcement to ensure that his actions to fight this epidemic have no impact on citizens and their firearm rights.

 

And what does this have to do with my articles? While I absolutely mention the prohibition on government confiscation found in Section 6107, at no point did I ever claim that the Proclamation authorized the seizure or confiscation of firearms.  In fact, in my first article, I explicitly stated that “Section 6107 specifically prevents any form of confiscation of firearms, accessory or ammunition from occurring solely as a result of a state of emergency.” Seemingly benefiting from my article, the Governor’s statement then goes on to corroborate that “[t]he law specifically does not allow for any firearms to be seized, taken or confiscated as a result of the disaster declaration.” So, at least this portion of the statement is merely an attempt to distract the reader from the actual issues raised in my articles. But what about the rest?

The statement goes on to declare that:

A declaration specifically has no effect on people with a concealed firearms license, someone using a firearm with an active hunting license or someone open carrying a firearm if actively engaged in self-defense.

For a minute, let’s set aside the Superior Court’s decision in Commonwealth v. Anderson. How exactly are my articles and legal conclusions “flat-out wrong”? In my first article, I specifically addressed that individuals with licenses to carry firearms (LTCFs) were exempt, as were individuals who were actively engaged in self-defense. And in my second article, I specifically addressed hunting on state game lands. Once again, it seems as though the Governor’s Office has to rely on my articles to determine the law and then in their statement, although stating I am “flat-out wrong,” agree with my legal conclusions.

See how that works? They claim both Senator Scott Wagner and I am providing misinformation, then agree with the information I provided, while sidestepping the actual issues and concerns that I raised. So, let’s look at the issues that I have raised and which their statement fails to address.

Commonwealth v. Anderson

As it runs afoul of their narrative, the statement fails to address the Superior Court’s en banc decision in Commonwealth v. Anderson, where the court held that the “exceptions” found in Section 6106(b) are “defenses” that need to be proven at trial. Thus, any individual claiming “exception” under Section 6106(b) can be prosecuted and forced to argue the exception as a defense to the prosecution. This is extremely important since it would apply to anyone claiming exemption under Section 6106(b), including hunters and many of the vendors and attendees of the Great American Outdoors Show, as discussed further below. It appears that the Governor’s Office did not feel is necessary to advise everyone of this extremely concerning aspect, especially in light of it running contrary to their contention that the Proclamation has “no impact on citizens and their firearm rights.”

Open Carrying Absent an LTCF

Once again, the statement is devoid of any mention in relation to individuals who open carry a firearm absent an LTCF. In Commonwealth v. Hawkins, 547 Pa. 652 (1997), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court explicitly acknowledged that

[i]n all parts of Pennsylvania, persons who are licensed may carry concealed firearms. 18 Pa.C.S. § 6108. Except in Philadelphia, firearms may be carried openly without a license. See Ortiz v. Commonwealth, 545 Pa. 279,    , 681 A.2d 152, 155 (1996) (only in Philadelphia must a person obtain a license for carrying a firearm whether it is unconcealed or concealed; in other parts of the Commonwealth, unconcealed firearms do not require a license)

As a result of Proclamation and interplay of Section 6107, individuals, who do not have an LTCF, are now prohibited from open carrying firearms throughout Pennsylvania. So, just how does the Proclamation not “impact [] citizens and their firearm rights,” Mr. Abbott?

The Great American Outdoors Show

As I discussed at length in my second article, there are grave concerns for the vendors and attendees of the Great American Outdoors Show, since all of them, absent an LTCF, pursuant to Commonwealth v. Anderson, would have to argue as a defense to prosecution their exemption under Section 6106(b). More importantly, almost all of the attendees and a number of the vendors, absent an LTCF, would not meet any of the exceptions found in Section 6106(b). Interestingly, the statement is completely devoid of any mention of the Great American Outdoors Show and how the Proclamation effects it.

Offer to Debate

Since the Governor’s Office felt it necessary to call into question my legal aptitude and I assume an apology will not be forthcoming to Senator (and future Governor) Scott Wagner and myself from the Govenor’s Office, I would welcome the opportunity to debate Governor Wolf on the effects of his Proclamation on the firearm rights of the citizens and visitors of the Commonwealth, but I would suggest that he first dust off his non-existent juris doctorate and brush up on the Uniform Firearms Act before the debate, especially since the law is clearly contrary to his Office’s statement.

Contact Governor Wolf’s Office

For those of you who value your inalienable rights, I would suggest that you contact (phone: 717-787-2500 and fax: 717-772-8284) the Governor’s Office and respectfully let them know that you do not appreciate your rights being infringed and their less-than-honest statements on the impact of the Proclamation in relation to your firearm rights. If Governor Wolf is such a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, as his Office is claiming, I anticipate that by Monday, at the latest, he will be calling upon the General Assembly to repeal 18 Pa.C.S. § 6107 and 35 Pa.C.S. § 7301(f)(8).

 

For those unaware, “interpretive jiggery-pokery” was utilized by the late Justice Antonin Scalia in King v. Burwell, the landmark decision on the Affordable Care Act, where he referred to some of the details in the case as “pure applesauce” and criticized the court’s “interpretive jiggery-pokery” analysis as the only way the Affordable Care Act could be found to be constitutional. Jigger-pokery describes dishonest manipulation or nonsense, akin to hocus pocus, humbug, bambosh, baloney, berley (among the Australians), bunkum, hogwash (also known as eyewash), flapdoodle, flim-flam, flumadiddle, rubbish, galbanum (coming from a French word for empty representations), hooey, hot air, motormouthing, poppycock or malarkey

 


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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