In Pennsylvania Superior Court, the case is Commonwealth v. McKown. The court rules that Pennsylvania residents are required to have a license to carry issued by Pennsylvania, and that residents cannot lawfully carry on licenses issued by foreign jurisdictions, even if reciprocity exists. What’s the court’s reasoning? Because the law says anyone wishing to carry a concealed firearm must apply to his or her sheriff (or Chief of Police for Philadelphia) for a license, which implies that the legislature intended Pennsylvania residents to have Pennsylvania license. This means if you’re a Pennsylvania resident, and are carrying on the license of another state, you are breaking the law. This is a very odd reading of the statute in question, and took quite a stretch, I think, for the court to reach. And if that’s not enough, the “constitutional and criminal law frontiersman” raised Second Amendment claims too.
We point out that neither the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, nor the Pennsylvania Constitution, bestows on any person the right to carry a concealed firearm or transport a loaded firearm in a vehicle. As noted above, the right to keep and bear arms is not absolute, and governmental restrictions on possession of firearms are permitted. Heller, 554 U.S. at 626-627. Here, the statute in question, 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 6106, while falling within the scope of the Second Amendment, merely restricts hidden guns and the transport of loaded guns by those persons who do not have a license. We discern no error in the trial court’s conclusion that, under intermediate scrutiny, section 6106 does not violate the Second Amendment or the Pennsylvania Constitution …
… Pursuant to these police powers, we conclude that 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 6106 serves to protect the public from persons who would carry concealed firearms for unlawful purposes. This is an important governmental interest, and section 6106 is substantially related to the achievement of that objective. Thus, we discern no error in the trial court’s conclusion that section 6106 does not violate the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Well, glad to see that went over so well. But wait, we’re not done yet. He also raised the claim that the Sheriff abused his discretion under the character and reputation law:
Sheriff Nau explained Appellant’s license had been revoked after he struck a person while highly intoxicated. N.T., Sentencing, 9/1/11, at 40. Sheriff Nau also testified that, had Appellant applied to have his license reinstated, he (Sheriff Nau) would have denied the request. Id. at 41. Despite Appellant’s letters in support of his good reputation, we discern no error in the trial court’s conclusion that, based on Appellant’s prior behavior and the testimony of Sheriff Nau, Appellant was not otherwise eligible for a license. Thus, there was no error in the grading of the charge.
So basically the eligibility protection to avoid sentencing enhancement is meaningless if the Sheriff can provide testimony he would have denied your application had you applied. Thanks to this “constitutional and criminal law frontiersman,” the rest of us get to enjoy the train wreck he just created. This train wreck is also brought to you by the Allegheny County Republican Party, who floated the judge who wrote this opinion. She’s not up for recall until 2017 too. The concurring judge is filling in a vacancy, but is a Philadelphia Republican as well. Also, I’d note that you know things are going to go pear shaped when a Court feels the need to say something like this in a footnote:
1 We note with displeasure that Appellant’s brief contains single-spaced text in violation of Pa.R.A.P. 124(a)(3). The trial court cautioned Appellant on this failure as well, and it admonished counsel to double space the text in his filings. Commonwealth v. McKown, 9 Pa. D. & C. 5th 183 (C.P. Centre 2009).
But he’s a frontiersman! Folks, if you’re going to challenge laws, hire a competent attorney. The rest of us have to live with the decisions of judges when you challenge the law without a workable plan and without the necessary skills, so please, don’t do it.
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