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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.



Filed under Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

President Trump and Vice President Pence to Lose Second Amendment Rights

Yesterday, President Trump stated that “[i]t takes so long to go to court to get the due process procedures, I like taking the guns early. Take the guns first, go through due process second” seemingly without consideration for what he was proposing or the impact on his and Vice President Pence’s Second Amendment rights.

What am I talking about?

Well, someone needs to be living under a rock to have missed all the unsubstantiated allegations regarding the President’s mental health during his candidacy and presidency. In fact, there is even a book by Brandy X Lee – The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President – in which these putative experts contend that President Trump suffers from varying and differing mental health conditions. More recently, Joy Behar claimed that Vice President Pence was mentally ill, because of his religious convictions in speaking with Jesus.

But what does this have to do with the President’s comment?

Well, he seemingly ignores the fact that absent due process, both his and Vice President Pence’s Second Amendment rights could be stripped, absent even their knowledge or opportunity to be heard, because of someone’s – potentially vindictive and even baseless – views or beliefs. See, that is what due process protects against – or at least is suppose to protect against. While we can argue about the level of due process and whether the courts place appropriate consideration on the evidence before depriving someone of a constitutional right, the right to be heard against allegations is a fundamental tenet of our Founding Constitutional Agreement.

As our viewers know, I recently litigated a case in the United States District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania, where Judge Kim Gibson found that a Section 302 evaluation under the Pennsylvania Mental Health and Procedures Act was not sufficient to trigger a federal prohibition, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(4), due to the lack of due process provided the individual. There, like what is seemingly being proposed by the President, the Government contended that an individual was stripped of his right to Keep and Bear Arms – an inalienable right that is acknowledged by the Constitution – as a result of a doctor merely signing a form, in the absence of the individual being provided any of the tenets of due process, including having an opportunity to confront those speaking against him/her. More specifically, the individual is not (1) provided an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses nor have a witness testify on his/her behalf; (2) provided an opportunity to challenge evidence nor submit evidence in support of his/her position; (3) provided counsel; or (4) provided a neutral arbiter, since the doctor is paid by the hospital and there are, unfortunately, financial incentives for a hospital to keep an individual for further evaluation.

Could you imagine the outrage if there was a proposal that would permit someone, even the President, to be stripped of his/her First Amendment rights, in the absence of due process, because someone believed that the person suffered from a mental illness, regardless of how baselessness of the claim? Speaking of which, why do we permit a person who has been involuntarily committed to be a reporter? And with all the talk about raising the age to 21 to purchase any firearm, why aren’t we talking about equal application of the law to all constitutional provisions? If its okay to restrict an individual’s constitutional right to Keep and Bear Arms, why aren’t we also restricting his/her First, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment rights, until the person is 21? That’s right, such would be unconstitutional and as Justice Thomas recently stated in his dissent to the denial of certiorari in Jeff Silvester, et al. v. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General of California

it seems, rights that have no basis in the Constitution receive greater protection than the Second Amendment, which is enumerated in the text. Our continued refusal to hear Second Amendment cases only enables this kind of defiance.

Because I still believe that the Second Amendment cannot be “singled out for special—and specially unfavorable—treatment,” I respectfully dissent from the denial of certiorari. (citations omitted)

Given the constitutional issues involved and the likelihood for abuse, Mr. President, I respectfully implore you to reconsider your remarks and thereafter, come out in support of all of our constitutionally acknowledged rights, including opposing any proposal, which would permit any constitutional right to be stripped from an individual in the absence of due process.


Filed under Firearms Law

Join the Fight to Stop the Regulation of Bump Stocks

As many of our clients and viewers are aware, Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®) a division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., has submitted substantial comments in opposition to rulemaking entered into by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and spearheaded the opposition to ATF-41P. Unfortunately, as it appears that ATF intends to move forward expeditiously with a proposed rule in relation to bump stocks (and potentially other firearm accessories which purportedly permit or result in higher cyclic rates by the operator), we’re asking for your support so that we can prepare a comprehensive comment with appropriate expert reports, so that if ATF enacts any form of regulation, we will be able to challenge it in court.

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Although we do not yet have the text of any proposed rule, we already know that ATF intends to propose a rule, which will ban, at a minimum, bump stocks. There are also concerns, depending on the language proposed by ATF, whether it could impact competition triggers and other tangentially related parts and accessories. Hence, it is imperative that we begin retaining experts to provide expert opinion on functionality of bump stocks and other parts and accessories, which could be included in any proposed rule. We also must begin formulating all arguments in opposition so that we can ensure that all issues can later be raised in court, if necessary.

Thus, we have set up a page on our website – Challenging Bump Stock Rulemaking – where we have further information about the issue. Unfortunately, we can’t do this without your support. Unlike the Government, we don’t have unlimited funds at our disposal.

Anyone wishing to donate can:

  • Pay via our secure website: Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C. – Please place “Bump Stock Regulation” in the reference field
  • Mail donations to: Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., 646 Lenape Rd, Bechtelsville, PA 19505; or,
  • Call our office at 888-202-9297.

When submitting your donation, please include a note or inform the staff that you are donating in relation to the Bump Stock Regulation.

For those interested in some of the comments that FICG has drafted and filed on behalf of Industry Members and itself in opposition to rulemaking by ATF, see:

FICG Files Comment in Opposition to ATF – 41P – ATF’s proposed (and later enacted) rule to impose additional burdens on fictitious entity applications.

FICG Files Comment on behalf of David Goldman, Esq. of GunTrustLawyer.com in Opposition to ATF-41P

FICG Files Comment in Opposition to ATF 51P – ATF’s proposed rule to ATF’s to amend the definitions of “adjudicated as a mental defective” and “committed to a mental institution.”

FICG Files Comment in Opposition to ATF 29P on Behalf of Dead Air Armament – ATF’s advanced notice of proposed rulemaking regarding silencer engravings.

FICG Files Comment in Opposition to ATF’s Proposed Changes to the 4473 Form



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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Filed under ATF, Firearms Law

After an Arrest in Pennsylvania, You Get a Free Phone Call, Right? Well, Not Exactly…

Having watched a lot of Law & Order, most individuals believe that upon arrest, they will be provided at least one free phone call but that isn’t exactly true in Pennsylvania.

Upon arrest, there is no immediate right to a phone call in Pennsylvania. Within a reasonable time of being arrested, the Police officer must either release the defendant or bring the defendant before a Magisterial District Judge to be preliminarily arraigned on charges.

What is a reasonable time? Unfortunately, this is has never been strictly defined in PA and has varied on a case by case basis. One day is generally accepted to be the longest acceptable time to be held without being arraigned.

Moreover, the police do have the authority to arrest people and then release them to be charged later by citation or summons. This type of arrest and release is only allowed in public drunkenness and DUI cases, or in cases in which the individual cannot immediately verify their identity.

There is no right to call anyone during that period of time.

If the police do choose to question a defendant, the individual’s Miranda Rights are implicated. The police must advise a defendant of those rights, including the right to counsel. If a defendant invokes his right to counsel (which you should ALWAYS do IMMEDIATELY, regardless of what the police threaten you with or promised to you), questioning must cease, although there are plenty of examples where the police or a different police officer continues asking questions. In our experience, in most instances, the police will simply end questioning upon invocation of counsel and will not give a defendant an opportunity to obtain counsel.

After the police prepare the charges, a defendant will be brought before a Magisterial District Judge for preliminary arraignment. A defendant does not have a right to contact anyone, including counsel, before or at arraignment. Some judges have also made it difficult for lawyers who know that their client has been arrested to appear at preliminary arraignment (we believe that this a violation of the 6th amendment but have never had a chance to litigate it).

However, after preliminary arraignment, a defendant does have a right to contact individuals, including his/her attorney. The Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 540 states:

 (H)  After the preliminary arraignment, if the defendant is detained, the defendant shall be given an immediate and reasonable opportunity to post bail, secure counsel, and notify others of the arrest. Thereafter, if the defendant does not post bail, he or she shall be committed to jail as provided by law.

There is no case law interpreting this provision.

At this point, depending on the county, the defendant may be held in custody by the police, the sheriff or a constable. In our experience, the magisterial district judge will normally allow for multiple phone calls.

But, what if my attorney’s phone number is in my wallet or on my phone? Generally, a Judge will allow a defendant to review his/her cell phone or wallet for any phone numbers. We have also seen cases in which the Judge will allow a defendant to use a phone book or will direct court staff to do an internet search to get a phone number. We’ve also seen judges put a defendant in a room with a phone and tell them that they have 15 minutes to call whoever they want.

The only time that we have seen a defendant not be allowed to check their cell phone is if the phone may constitute or contain evidence of a crime. For example, drug dealers often exchange text messages about drug deals. A court would not give a defendant the chance to delete text messages.

So, while there is no obligation to allow a defendant to have access to a wallet or cell phone, the arraigning court does regularly allow it. Even if a defendant is not given that access, they can certainly use a phone book to look up their attorney’s number, or they can call a family member or have a family member call their attorney.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, contact Prince Law Offices, P.C. today to discuss YOUR rights and legal options.

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Filed under Criminal Law, Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

Monroe County Sheriff Martin is ENJOINED from Enforcing Unlawful License to Carry Firearms Requirements

On January 16, 2018, Wyoming County President Judge Russell Shurtleff, specially presiding, issued an Order unsealing a December 13, 2017 Decision and Order in the John Doe, et al. v. Monroe County, et al. case, which granted a preliminary injunction against the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and Sheriff Todd Martin in relation to their unlawful license to carry firearms (LTCF) requirements. As our viewers are aware from a prior Pocono Record article, I am representing the Plaintiffs in this matter.

The preliminary injunction precludes the Monroe County Sheriff from:

  1. Sending out postcards advising applicants of their license renewal, denial or acceptance;
  2. Requiring applicants to submit Local 1% Earned Income Tax Forms, Federal Income Tax Returns, Pa. State Tax Returns or Real Estate Tax Bills;
  3. Requiring written documentation from an applicant’s doctor as to the specific nature of applicant’s disabilities, as well as, any medications the applicant may be taking due to the disability;
  4. Requiring a copy of the applicant’s Social Security Statement;
  5. Requiring a copy of an applicant’s DD-214 (military discharge papers);
  6. Requiring any references to be Monroe County residents; and,
  7. Requiring an applicant to provide a list of medications that he or she may be prescribed.

If you or someone you know has had their confidential license to carry firearms applicant information disclosed or are being required to provide information for a license to carry firearms, which is not provided for in the licensing provision, 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.


Filed under Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

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.”

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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.
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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.



Filed under Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

Donald Trump Jr.’s Confidential Firearm License Information is Disclosed by Pennsylvania Judge

The Time-Tribune is reporting that Lackawanna County Judge Thomas Munley disclosed on Wednesday that Donald Trump Jr. applied for a license to carry firearms (LTCF), after Lackawanna County Sheriff Mark McAndrew refused to disclose the purpose of Mr. Trump’s visit, likely due to the confidentiality provisions of all LTCF applicant information.

18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(i) provides in pertinent part:

(i) 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.

As many of our viewers are aware, a little over a year ago, I was successful in John Doe, et al. v. County of Franklin, et al,. in having the Commonwealth Court declare that the use of unenveloped postcards, where LTCF applicant information was specified on the postcard, was a violation of Section 6111(i). In fact, the court specifically held that:

“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.

It is unknown why Judge Munley felt it necessary to disclose Mr. Trump’ confidential information and reason for being at the Sheriff’s Department.

If you or someone you know has had their confidential license to carry firearms applicant information disclosed, 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.




Filed under Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law