As you may be aware, Firearms Policy Coalition is currently fighting a number of cases in Pennsylvania on a wide range of issues that include violations of state preemption laws, restrictions on "partially-manufactured” firearms, and laws prohibiting young adults from carrying guns for self-defense. Here are the cases we are currently working on along with the case names of each lawsuit:
Federal District Court:
Fetsurka v. Outlaw: Second and Fourteenth Amendment lawsuit challenging the City of Philadelphia and State of Pennsylvania's laws, policies, and enforcement practices that infringe the right to bear arms, including but not limited to the closure of the Gun Permit Unit purportedly due to the coronavirus.
“The recent shutdown of the City’s Gun Permit Unit places Philadelphians who want to carry handguns for self-defense in a particularly dangerous position,” said FPC’s Adam Kraut. “Pennsylvania law prohibits individuals from carrying a firearm in Philadelphia without a license to carry firearms. And State law also prohibits individuals from carrying firearms in public during a declared State of Emergency, which Pennsylvania has been under since Governor Wolf’s 2018 proclamation..”
Status: A status conference is scheduled for December 11, 2020.
Lara v. Evanchick: Second Amendment lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania's ban on the right to bear arms as to law-abiding young adults.
Pennsylvania’s statutory scheme prohibits law-abiding young adults from carrying a firearm for self-defense and prevents them from acquiring a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms (LTCF) because of their age. Evanchick’s enforcement of the State’s laws generally prohibits law-abiding young adults from transporting firearms, in the absence of an LTCF. And, pursuant to State law, because Pennsylvania has been under a State of Emergency since January 10, 2018, all individuals must have a valid LTCF to carry or transport firearms on public streets and property, including for purposes of self-defense and other otherwise-lawful purposes, in violation of the right to keep and bear arms.
Status: A motion for a preliminary injunction and expedited trial on the merits was filed on December 1, 2020.
Cowey v. Mullen: Federal Second and Fourteenth Amendment lawsuit challenging Allegheny County Sheriff William P. Mullen's, Allegheny County's, and State of Pennsylvania's laws, policies, and enforcement practices that infringe the right to bear arms, including but not limited to the closure of the ACSO Firearms Division purportedly due to the coronavirus.
The FPC Legal team prepared and filed the lawsuit, which challenges the county defendants’ policies and practices, including the Firearms Division closure, as well as the Commonwealth’s ban on carrying firearms, all of which work to prevent the plaintiffs and FPC’s members, and others like them, from exercising their fundamental right to bear arms in public.
Status: A motion for a preliminary injunction was filed on December 3, 2020.
Landmark Firearms v. Evanchick: Petition and motion for injunction against Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Robert Evanchick regarding Attorney General Josh Shapiro Legal Opinion and PSP enforcement rule over "partially-manufactured (often referred to as 80%) frames and receivers and kits".
Along with Attorney General Shapiro publishing his misguided opinion, the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) modified its “Instant Check System” website to include a new rule the Commissioner apparently began enforcing. The rule in pertinent part said that, “[a]s of 12-16-19, the sale of partially-manufactured (often referred to as 80%) frames and receivers and kits which include the same, requires a background check through the Pennsylvania Instant Check System, in accordance with the Attorney General's binding opinion and applicable requirements within the [Uniform Firearms Act]. No sales may occur by a licensed firearms dealer without such a check. PSP is not yet ready to process such checks. . .”
Status: FPC secured a preliminary injunction against the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Legal Opinion in January 2020.
FOAC v. City of Pittsburgh: Lawsuit challenging the City of Pittsburgh, Mayor Bill Peduto, and six City Council members over the City's latest local gun laws.
Under state law, no “county, municipality or township may in any manner regulate the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by the laws of this Commonwealth.” But, attorney Joshua Prince said, the City of Pittsburgh is more concerned with passing unconstitutional and unlawful gun control than complying with the law.
Status: Oral arguments were held at the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court on October 14, 2020.
City of Philadelphia v. Armstrong: Challenge to City of Philadelphia's law requiring reporting of 'lost or stolen' firearms.
Like FOAC v. City of Pittsburgh, this lawsuit challenges a local gun ordinance under Pennsylvania’s preemption law. In this case, Philadelphia is trying to enforce its law requiring the reporting of “lost and stolen” firearms within 24 hours of the loss being discovered. Violations of the law are punishable by fines of up to $2,000 per day.
Status: The defendant’s motion for permanent injunction was denied, and the denial has been appealed to the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.