Tag Archives: ordinance

Part 2: Lower Merion Township – Taxpayers on the Hook for Legal Expenses related to Illegal Firearms Ordinance

As I reviewed back in May of 2015, the Lower Merion Township taxpayers were already on the hook for approximately $4,900 in legal fees, as a result of its unlawful firearm ordinances.  Although the Commonwealth Court declared the ordinances unlawful and the PA Supreme Court refused to hear the Township’s appeal of the matter, the Township has nevertheless enacted a new discharge ordinance on September 19, 2017 and the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas will hear argument in late-October regarding the Township’s violation of the Commonwealth Court’s decision. While the litigation continues, I was interested in just how much the taxpayer of Lower Merion Township have paid in relation to it, so I submitted another Right to Know Law request. Today, I received their response.

While the billings take some time to calculate, since the prior billings, it appears that another $26,514.44 was paid, resulting in a total attorney fee of over $31,000 through July of this year. It is unfortunate that the Lower Merion Township Commissioners have elected to not only defend their illegal ordinances but also enact new ordinances in violation of the law at the taxpayers expense. If you are a resident of Lower Merion Township, you should let the Commissioners know that you do not appreciate your money being used for their political views.

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Montgomery District Attorney Requested to Investigate and Charge Lower Merion Township for Proposed Firearm Regulation

As our viewers are aware, we became aware on August 30, 2017, that at its upcoming September 19th meeting, Lower Merion Township is considering a new firearm discharge ordinance, even after the Commonwealth Court struck down its current discharge ordinance and held that municipalities may not regulate discharge.

As a result, in a letter sent today, Attorney Joshua Prince formally requested that Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele open an investigation into this matter and file appropriate charges, including for violations of Section 6120 and official oppression.

We hope that District Attorney Steele will take a proactive approach, similar to that of Lancaster County District Attorney Crag Stedman, who recently sent out letters to all law enforcement agencies in Lancaster County advising that municipal regulation of firearms and ammunition is unlawful. Regardless, we would again urge everyone, especially residents and taxpayers in Lower Merion Township, to make the Commissioners aware of your position. The hearing on September 19th will start at 7:30 PM at Township Administration Bldg – 2nd Floor Board Room, 75 East Lancaster Ave, 2nd Floor Board Room Ardmore, Pennsylvania 19003-2323. Their telephone number is 610-649-4000 and you can contact the individual commissioners here.

If your rights have been violated by an illegal firearm or ammunition ordinance or regulation promulgated by a state agency, county, municipality or township, 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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Strattanville Borough Declines To Move Forward With Firearm Discharge Ordinance

As our viewers are aware, we previously blogged about Strattanville Borough’s proposal to enact a firearm discharge ordinance, which resulted in Firearm Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®), a division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., submitting a letter written in opposition on behalf of Firearm Owners Against Crime (FOAC) by Chief Counsel Joshua Prince.

Last night, Strattanville Borough voted, 5-2, not to move forward with the firearm discharge ordinance due to the legal ramifications and FOAC preparedness to institute legal proceedings against the Borough, if it moved forward with any form of firearm or ammunition regulation.

Please join us in congratulating FICG and FOAC in this accomplishment!

If you or someone you know has been the victim of an unlawful municipal firearm or ammunition regulation or ordinance, 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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FICG On Behalf of FOAC Files Letter In Response To Strattanville Borough’s Proposed Illegal Firearm Ordinance

Yesterday, it was reported by Reporter Scott Shindledecker of ExploreClarion.com that Strattanville Borough was considering enacting an ordinance prohibiting the discharge of firearms in the borough.

Borough Solicitor Ralph L.S. Montana was quoted as saying that he has his work cut out for him because “[t]here aren’t too many places in Pennsylvania that have firearms ordinances.” Maybe that is due to the fact that municipal firearm and ammunition regulation is unlawful pursuant to Article 1, Section 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, as affirmed by the PA Supreme Court in Ortiz v. Commonwealth, and our state preemption statute found in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6120.

Although Solicitor Montana was unwilling to share a copy of his proposed ordinance before submitting it to the Borough Council on Wednesday, August 9th at 7 PM, he did mention that he found Rose Valley Borough’s [unlawful] ordinance, which this ordinance would be based upon.

As a result, Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®), a division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., on behalf of its client, Firearm Owners Against Crime (FOAC), filed a letter in opposition to the proposal; wherein, Chief Counsel Joshua Prince explains the constitutional and statutory protections and case law precluding such regulation. In the event Strattanville Borough moves forward with the proposal, FOAC is prepared to file a legal challenge against the Borough and request the District Attorney to file criminal charges for violations of Section 6120.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of an unlawful municipal firearm or ammunition regulation or ordinance, 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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Allentown RTKL Response to Illegal Firearm Regulation Proposals

As many of our viewers are aware, I frequently submit Right to Know Law (RTKL) requests to municipalities in relation to firearms law matters. After the City of Allentown noticed its intent to propose and adopt new firearm ordinances, in violation of 18 Pa.C.S. § 6120, I filed a RTKL Request seeking information relative to the proposals, including communications related thereto.

Specifically, I requested:

Any letter, email, fax or written communication from any person in the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office or any person from the Office for Solicitor for the City of Allentown relating to any existing or proposed ordinance or regulation relating to firearms or ammunition from January 1, 2008 through the present.  Reporter Emily Opilo recently published an article stating that letters received from District Attorney Martin and Solicitor Wild relating to a proposed ordinance regulating firearms and ammunition were discussed at a meeting on August 17, 2016 – http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-lost-gun-law-committee-20160817-story.html

Today, I received a response from the City approving in part and denying in part my request. In addition to the cover letter, they produced 52 pages of records. While many of the pages are copies of cases, pages 1-2, 45-50 and 51-52 are letters from Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin informing the City, the City Council members and Mayor Ed Pawlowski that any such regulation is unlawful and unconstitutional. While it is extremely refreshing to see a District Attorney actively involved in a firearm and ammunition preemption issue, its unfortunate that no mention was made of the criminality of violating Section 6120, as such would be a misdemeanor of the first degree, pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. § 6119, as well as constituting official oppression. Maybe, District Attorney Martin was saving the best for last, in case they elected to move forward with an illegal and unconstitutional regulation.

I, personally, would like to thank and commend District Attorney Martin for immediately and preemptively addressing this issue. Come election time, please always remember that District Attorney Martin is a staunch defender of Article 1, Section 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.

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Lower Merion Township – Taxpayers on the Hook for Legal Expenses related to Illegal Firearms Ordinance

As our viewers are aware, we filed suit against Lower Merion Township regarding its illegal firearm ordinance on March 20, 2015 and its request for a Stay was denied on May 14, 2015. In litigating this matter, on April 30, 2015, I filed a Right to Know Law (RTKL) request seeking documents in the Township’s possession relating to Section 109-16, since the Township filed Preliminary Objections to stay discovery and a decision on the merits.

In responding to my RTKL request, the Township turned over a number of documents, including the most recent attorney billing of May 11, 2015 from High Swartz in the amount of $4,900 and a March 27, 2015 letter from Delaware Valley Insurance Trust denying coverage in relation to the lawsuit. Specifically, the letter states

The POL Coverage Part of the applicable Trust Coverage Document does not provide coverage for the Township in this matter because the plaintiffs are not seeking to recover compensatory damages, but only declaratory and injunctive relief, and because the plaintiffs have alleged in their Complaint that the Township willfully violated 18 Pa. C.S. §6120 and otherwise engaged in willful misconduct in refusing to amend or repeal the allegedly illegal ordinances. The Trust therefore respectfully declines coverage and requests that the Township retain defense counsel at its own expense in this matter.

Accordingly, the residents of Lower Merion Township will be responsible for all the costs incurred by its counsel, as well as, our attorney fees and costs, when the matter is decided in our favor. It is unfortunate that the Lower Merion Township Commissioners have elected to defend its illegal ordinance at the taxpayers expense. If you are a resident of Lower Merion Township, you should let the Commissioners know that you do not appreciate your money being used for their political views.

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Allentown: Only “Wealthy, White Individuals” Need Apply As Residents

Recently, during the debate over Allentown council’s repeal of its illegal firearm ordinances, Democrat Michael Donovan, a former member of city council who supported Allentown’s lost and stolen gun law, declared that “Allentown is the third largest city in the state” and “It is claiming a renaissance for wealthy, white individuals who wish to be safe.”

Wow, apparently, as some have contended for years, being a wealthy, white person has its perks, which apparently includes not being held accountable and being permitted to violate state law without prosecution. (For those unaware, the regulation of firearms by a municipality, since 1974, has been a misdemeanor of the 1st degree – Where Art Thou Oh Lehigh County District Attorney Martin?).

But, where is the national coverage and outrage over such a blatantly racist comment? Oh, I forgot…it wasn’t said by a Republican, so it isn’t news worthy. Maybe it’s time we change that…

 

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