PITTSBURGH, PA (December 3, 2020) — Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in a federal lawsuit challenging the ban on firearm carry imposed by the laws and policies of Defendants Allegheny Sheriff William Mullen, County of Allegheny, Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Colonel Robert Evanchick. The case, Cowey v. Mullen, is assigned to United States District Court Judge Christy C. Wiegand. The motion can be found at FPCLegal.org.

The brief in support of plaintiffs’ motion argues that the State’s criminal ban on the carry of firearms, especially during a declared state of emergency, unconstitutionally prohibits law-abiding people from exercising their rights. Additionally, it argues that Sheriff Mullen and his Sheriff’s Office are imposing policies and practices that delay and deny access to a license necessary to lawfully exercising a fundamental right. Individually and collectively, it says, these laws and practices amount to a total ban on carry, something the Constitution and Supreme Court’s precedents do not allow. 

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“Pennsylvania law broadly bans the carry of firearms unless you have a license, and Allegheny County Sheriff Mullen and the Sheriff’s Office are not making those available to law-abiding individuals like the plaintiffs and others like them. That regulatory scheme is unconstitutional under any form of heightened constitutional scrutiny,” said FPC’s Adam Kraut, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs. “It is not even rational for the State to impose upon our clients and all law-abiding people a criminal ban on carrying firearms when it would otherwise allow unlicensed carry by the same individuals if the Commonwealth were not in a state of emergency declared by Governor Wolf.”

Firearms Policy Coalition and FPC Law are the nation’s next-generation advocates leading the Second Amendment litigation space, having recently filed several major federal Second Amendment lawsuits including challenges to the State of Maryland’s ban on so-called “assault weapons” (Bianchi v. Frosh), the State of Pennsylvania’s and Allegheny County’s carry restrictions (Cowey v. Mullen), Philadelphia’s Gun Permit Unit policies and practices (Fetsurka v. Outlaw), Pennsylvania’s ban on carry by adults under 21 years of age (Lara v. Evanchick), California’s Handgun Ban and “Roster” laws (Renna v. Becerra), Maryland’s carry ban (Call v. Jones), New Jersey’s carry ban (Bennett v. Davis), New York City’s carry ban (Greco v. New York City), the federal ban on the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition by federal firearm licensees (FFLs) to adults under 21 years of age (Reese v. BATFE), and others, with many more cases being prepared today. To follow these and other legal cases FPC is actively working on, visit the Legal Action section of FPC’s website or follow FPC on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.

The Cowey case is another important lawsuit filed as part of FPC’s comprehensive strategy to defend freedom, advance individual liberty, and restore the Constitution and its guarantees for individuals throughout the United States. If you would like to support FPC’s Cowey case and many other pro-Second Amendment lawsuits, legal action, and research, please chip in $5, $10, $25, or whatever you can at https://www.firearmspolicy.org/donate or Join the FPC Grassroots Army at JoinFPC.org


FPC is urgently seeking individual and FFL plaintiffs for a number of lawsuits that are being prepared to challenge laws and policies that infringe on fundamental rights, including (but not limited to):

  • Laws and policies that prevent individuals from purchasing and/or possessing so-called “assault weapons” (semi-automatic firearms with standard characteristics) and “high-capacity” magazines (standard magazines that hold more than 10 rounds)
  • Laws and policies that prevent 18-20-year-old young adults (under age 21) from obtaining handguns from FFLs and carry loaded, operable arms in public for self-defense
  • Laws and policies that prevent individual adults (over the age of 18) from carrying loaded handguns and other arms outside of their home
  • Laws and policies that prevent individuals from acquiring and/or possessing handguns and other arms without first acquiring a “purchase permit” 
  • Laws and policies that prevent individuals from acquiring or possessing firearms due to a conviction for a non-violent crime, or mental health adjudication that did not involve an involuntary commitment  
  • Laws that prevent honorably discharged veterans from acquiring or possessing firearms because they have been classified as “a mental defective” due to the agency’s determination that they “lack the mental capacity to contract or manage his or her own affairs” because they need assistance managing VA benefits and have a fiduciary

If someone you know meets the criteria above, or if you would be interested in participating in litigation as a supporting FFL, please contact us:

Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend constitutional rights—especially the right to keep and bear arms—advance individual liberty, and restore freedom through litigation and legal action, legislative and regulatory action, education, outreach, grassroots activism, other programs. FPC Law is the nation’s largest public interest legal team focused on Second Amendment and adjacent fundamental rights including freedom of speech and due process, conducting litigation, research, scholarly publications, and amicus briefing, among other efforts.