HARRISBURG, PA (January 31, 2020) — Today, Judge P. Kevin Brobson of Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court issued a 17-page opinion and order enjoining Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) Commissioner Colonel Robert Evanchick and his agents, servants, and officers “from implementing or enforcing PSP’s new policy addressed to partially manufactured receivers…” PSP issued and enforced the now-blocked policy after being directed to by Attorney General Josh Shapiro in an opinion issued last month. The Court’s opinion and order are available at FPCLegal.org.
Just 4 days after Shapiro’s ‘legal opinion’ was published, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) Law filed a lawsuit and sought an emergency injunction on behalf of its members and co-petitioners Landmark Firearms LLC, US Rifle LLC, and Polymer80, Inc. The petitioners were represented by attorney Joshua Prince, Chief Counsel of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., at the January 21 preliminary injunction hearing.
The “indefiniteness of PSP's new enforcement policy on what constitutes a firearm in this Commonwealth creates the potential for arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement,” Judge Brobson explained in today’s opinon. “The public policy of this Commonwealth does not favor such vague laws.” And while there “are many ills that our society faces, and government can be an effective force in combatting them,” the “laudable intentions and policy goals of a government agency, however, cannot override limits on governmental power. Simply put, the ends cannot justify the means.”
“Under the PSP’s policy, good, law-abiding people and businesses were threatened with numerous criminal and civil penalties for things that not even the State Police could define. Today, the Commonwealth Court found that the PSP’s policy violated the constitutional rights of our clients and others,” commented Prince about the ruling. “We are gratified by the Commonwealth Court’s appropriate and sound decision enjoining the Pennsylvania State Police from enforcing its new policy regarding what it refers to as ‘partially manufactured frames and receivers.’”
“Today’s order protects people from a dangerously vague interpretation of the law. As the Court pointed out, a law is void on its face if it is so vague that a person of common intelligence must guess as to its meaning,” explained FPC Director of Legal Strategy and co-counsel, Adam Kraut. “Attorney General Josh Shapiro and the PSP attempted to shoehorn a radical expansion of the law into the definition to suit a political agenda. But nowhere in the Uniform Firearms Act nor its regulations are the terms ‘frame’ or ‘receiver’ defined. We are delighted with this positive development and look forward to further litigating on behalf of the People, civil rights, and individual liberty.”
Individuals and others who wish to support the case can join FPC at JoinFPC.org or make a tax-deductible donation to Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF) at bit.ly/fpf-donate. Further information is available at JoshShapiroIsATyrant.com.
Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, especially the fundamental, individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, advance individual liberty, and restore freedom.
Firearms Policy Foundation (www.firearmsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPF’s mission is to defend the Constitution of the United States and the People’s rights, privileges, and immunities deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition, especially the inalienable, fundamental, and individual right to keep and bear arms, through research, education, legal action, and other charitable programs.