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New Ruling in Pennsylvania on Reciprocity and Second Amendment

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Sheriff Nau explained Appellant’s license had been revoked after he struck a person while highly intoxicated.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.

77 Responses to “New Ruling in Pennsylvania on Reciprocity and Second Amendment”

  1. Patrick H says:

    Not surprising. The courts continue to conclude that any regulation is valid because GUNS.

    And that part about single spacing annoys me. The courts are about justice for everybody. Silly rules like that shouldn’t harm a case, nor should it even been commented on. Our “justice” system is a joke.

    • Shyster says:

      As a lawyer who frequently practices before our appellate courts, I know full well that they expect strict compliance with the Rules of Appellate Procedure. Any lawyer who is not utterly incompetent should know that as well. That’s why the court included that rebuke in the footnote (the slang term for a judicial rebuke is a “benchslap”). The Superior Court is perhaps the busiest court in the state, and you do not want to give them anything other than the best first impression you can possibly give. Filing noncompliant briefs will put you way behind before anyone even gets to the merits of your appeal.

    • Erin Palette says:

      We haven’t had a justice system for quite some time. What we have now is a *legal* system.

    • Roberta X says:

      When you have to read these things all day, every day, you really want them to arrive in a uniform format. Judges go skimming through them marking lines and making notes, I’d bet.

      This is hardly different to the submission guidelines for print and online publications; they specify double-spacing, certain file formats, etc. so they can do their actual job and not be struggling with somebody’s wall’o’text.

      • I’ve been practicing law for going on 30 years, and still recall learning in law school back in the dinosaur days about the need to abide by the court’s procedural rules–which, while inarguably arbitrary are rarely burdensome. They simply want you to submit stuff “their way” so they aren’t dealing with 800 different formats.

        Criminal justice is NOT about “fairness” it is about the ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE. It is a MACHINE. The machine needs to be kept OILED.

        These procedural rules are the oil. And as anyone who has worked in a large organization, whether inside or outside government would understand, such rules are essential to avoid chaos.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      • Sebastian says:

        That’s what I thought. I’m certainly open to the argument that the system deliberately obfuscates itself to the benefit of professionals over the laity, but asking for something to be double ruled doesn’t strike me as too much to ask, nor do other simple formatting requests to help the courts process cases more easily and efficiently.

        • I’ve seen otherwise perfectly legitimate appeals be dumped into the circular file because they were printed on the wrong color paper.

          But, let’s face it, it’s not that hard to simply print them on the correct color paper. The expectation is well known to everyone who regularly operates with the court.

          The courts have reasons for these rules, they are trying to keep things organized. Court clerks are wonderful folks–but they are fundamentally bureaucrats. We need to keep things reasonably simple for them (see, for reference, Obamacare).

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          • Patrick H says:

            Again, that’s not administration of justice, its administration of whatever the hell they feel like saying. Which is pretty much exactly what this opinion is.

            Who gives a shit what format it is in. That’s shooting the messenger. Debate the argument, not the color paper or how many damn lines there are between spaces. That’s taking the easy way out, because how DARE the peons think they know better than us black robbed jerks. HOW DARE THEY.

            • Sebastian says:

              It’s not really administration of justice if the courts can’t organize themselves sufficiently to process cases in a timely manner. I’m not saying they never stack the deck, but I think the courts can have some leeway in setting procedure to make cases flow efficiently.

              • Jake says:

                ^^^^This.

                In addition, the courts will generally give considerable leeway in formatting, etc., to people who are representing themselves. I have, in fact, seen judges bend over backwards and essentially ignore purely procedural rules for these people, even (or even especially) when those violations would normally completely invalidate a case. The ones they really hold to the fire for this are the lawyers – who are getting paid for, among other things, their knowledge of these rules.

                The Court’s language here (saying they admonished “counsel”) sounds like they’re reprimanding his attorney, not him specifically. The attorney should have known better, especially since he’d been told previously.

      • John Fritz says:

        I read single-spaced crap all day long at work. That’s what metal rulers are for.

        It’s easy to tell people what to do when you have the power of the gun behind your request.

        Not arguing with you Roberta, just sayin’…

  2. Joe says:

    Fantastic, I bet Kane is popping champagne over this ruling. After moving here from VA, I continued to carry on a valid VA CHP (I still own property there and visit every so often), but it now looks like I’m not to be trusted anymore and I’ll just have to shell out the time/money to get my PA LTCF.

    Honestly, what’s the point of reviewing other states’ standards and crafting reciprocity agreements if you’re going to just turn around and completely flush it all down the drain?

  3. Bryan S. says:

    “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”

    Somehow, the bear part of keep and bear escapes them.

    • Bryan S. says:

      As does the “shall not be questioned”

    • NUGUN Blog says:

      Really, so at what point do we get to tar and feather judges who can’t read basics “keep and bear”.

      Second, what the !@#$% do they think vehicle is? Oh, hee hee snickers we’re smart. Cars didn’t exist. Ha ha no protection. Well, car = short for carriage. And carriages did exist. And it was well understood that you had a right to bear your arm on your carriage as you traveled.

      *fumes*

    • SDN says:

      Someone ought to challenge this on “full faith and credit” and gently point out that a CHP is no less a state act than a gay marriage license.

  4. HappyWarrior6 says:

    More reasons why constitutional carry is needed in Pennsylvania. I was 50/50 on pushing for it. Now I will push the issue with my legislator.

    As for the impact of this, it’s fairly low considering I don’t even know how many other states still issue carry permits to PA residents without first requiring us to have a PA-issued LTCFs anyway.

    I hope that council remembers to double space those briefs in the appeal.

    • Truecrimso says:

      Good luck with that. The R party controls all 3 branches in PA right now and hey have done jack shit for gun rights. Fuck the government.

  5. JBiros says:

    Guess we can watch as all the reciprocity agreements are declared void,by AG Kane.

    I guess we will have to get a Utah permit to get the unrestricted travel and carry rights .

    We can sit back and watch as those states we currently have reciprocity, cancel agreements.

    More wonderful news.

  6. Lucas Dowlud says:

    Philadelphia filed an amicus brief. This decisions means that Pennsylvanians can no longer carry in Pennsylvania simply by obtaining a carrying license in another state, even if Pennsylvania has a reciprocity agreement with the foreign state. Philadelphia thus wins in this case.

  7. Dave says:

    And this is courtesy of the ass clowns over at PAFOA. Not only is Mr. McKown a PAFOA ass clown, he’s also a known drug user – see previous arrests and incidents of odd behavior in Centre County. These ass clowns at PAFOA just don’t get it. Case law has consequences and these under educated nitwits are making bad case law just because they want to fight a fight at all costs. There you go guys. How sweet does your defeat taste, because I can tell you what it tastes like for the rest of us.

    Hobsen was another bad case and bad plaintiff. His past behavior, just like ViperGTS, made him a bad cause to line up behind. I’m sure you’ll all rant and rave and stage an OC rally or some other BS. You all just need to knock it off. You’re screwing gunowners buy helping fund these bad cases which make bad case law.

    Enjoy your felony conviction Hobsen – YOU EARNED IT.

    • Andy B. says:

      “This train wreck is also brought to you by the Allegheny County Republican Party, who floated the judges who wrote this opinion. . .”

      Does anyone know if those judges were supported by the Allegheny County Sportsmen’s League or FOAC? I’m just suggesting that if they were, there’s a moral in there somewhere.

    • snark says:

      Don’t forget pa2a.org!

    • Patrick H says:

      You are so vitriolic. I wish you weren’t on our side.

  8. Mark Fiorino says:

    Dave,

    I feel it’s unfair for you to generalize everyone at a particular organization because of one case that seems to be a little fishy. I also find your attack on my character to be unacceptable, and your directions for those of us who are working to affect change that we believe is for the better to “just knock it off” to be presumptuous and ignorant.

    Occasionally, the people we elect into these positions make poor decisions. While I agree that, in this particular case, the defendant’s argument fails in the face of the factual evidence, the Court’s rulings are excessively overreaching. To ignore the existing law in an effort to create new case law that invalidates the prior is ridiculous – these findings are absolutely abhorrent, despite the fact that it only affects PA residents. The Court’s interpretation of Title 18 is awful.

    • Matthew Carberry says:

      And yet it stands. Which it would not, if the case had not been brought unnecessarily (based on the summary in the ruling) and then piss-poorly at that.

      I hope he enjoys his “being right.”

      • Mark Fiorino says:

        This, admittedly, was the wrong case to pursue. The Defendant was wrong in the first place, and frankly, should have known better. Ignoring the law and doing what you want anyway is only going to get you screwed – and this time, unfortunately, he screwed a whole slew of other people simultaneously.

        I’m hoping this decision is reviewed or overturned. I wish I knew more about the legal system at this level so I could see what the next steps to get this terrible misinterpretation of the law reversed.

    • Dave says:

      Mark,

      Your past PAFOA posts and court record speak for themselves (have you learned to slow down, not run red lights, get you car inspected, and register your car) – don’t brag about your drunken antics either. They (PPD) dangled a $25k carrot in front of you and you grabbed it. In the end nothing changed. You took donations for the cases, and sold out without so much as getting the PPD to agree to a court order change in policy. They saw you as a sucker. They saw someone of limited means and limited assets and knew they could buy you off for less then what the PPD spends on pens each year.

      • Mark Fiorino says:

        Ah, I see you for who you are now, a troll. Forget that I spent any time on trying to reason with you – your type is immune to logic. Sorry to have wasted your time. :)

        • Dave says:

          That’s your standard line when the truth comes out about your past, your action, and you posts. Let’s play true or false with my past statement – which I stand behind. At the time of your incident you were a part time IT guy driving a decade old car who had to beg for a loaner gun when PPD confiscate your gun. Your past show you to be a toxic person who either thinks you’re not going to get caught or you just don’t care about getting caught. Either way you’ve established yourself with a pattern of lawless and reckless behavior. Then again, you’re really no different than the other posters over on that ass clowning site.

  9. Phil - Quakertown, PA says:

    This is why elections matter, so that we don’t get judges who have agendas or who are too lazy to read statutes (or Senators too obsessed to read Obamacare before enacting it.)

    The statutes are clear on their faces: if applying for a PA LTCF and you’re a PA resident, then you must apply in your home county. If not a PA resident, then that doesn’t apply.

    And if relying on the exception for out-of-state licenses, the home county requirement doesn’t apply, it’s not even in the same statute.

    Here’s the exception for “any person” in 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 6106(b)

    “(15) Any person who possesses a valid and lawfully issued license or permit to carry a firearm which has been issued under the laws of another state, regardless of whether a reciprocity agreement exists between the Commonwealth and the state under section 6109(k), provided:
    (i) The state provides a reciprocal privilege for individuals licensed to carry firearms under section 6109.
    (ii) The Attorney General has determined that the firearm laws of the state are similar to the firearm laws of this Commonwealth.”

    Hobson is a “person”. There’s NO RESTRICTION on state of residence for this exception. Saying that this exception doesn’t apply to Hobson is reminiscent of the Dred Scott decision.

    Here’s the requirement for applying for a PA LTCF:
    18 Pa.C.S.A. § 6109(b)
    “(b) Place of application.–An individual who is 21 years of age or older may apply to a sheriff for a license to carry a firearm concealed on or about his person or in a vehicle within this Commonwealth. If the applicant is a resident of this Commonwealth, he shall make application with the sheriff of the county in which he resides or, if a resident of a city of the first class, with the chief of police of that city.”

    The only way a judge (much less 2 judges) could possibly arrive at this decision would be by failing to read and comprehend what these two separate statutes say, or by not caring what they say. They imputed a requirement in 6109 to erode an exception in 6106. The rule of lenity requires an ambiguity to be resolved in the defendant’s favor; here, there is no ambiguity, yet the majority MADE ONE UP and then used it to justify a wrongful conviction.

    How could the Legislature even fix this? How can they remove a requirement that simply isn’t there? How would they edit 6106 so that “any person” is not limited to “people not residing in Pennsylvania” when there is no such limitation now?

    • MattW says:

      The only problem is that in this particular case, he didn’t have a valid permit as recognized by the PA AG.

      From the ruling: “The
      Commonwealth is correct that, for purposes of section 6106(b)(15), New Hampshire is not among the “Category 2” states identified as having met this criteria concerning similarity of firearm laws on the Attorney General’s website.”

      He didn’t have a valid PA permit at the time, and he didn’t have a valid permit from another state that PA recognized. So to try and challenge the use of the word “may” in 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 6109 was idiotic in the first place.

      Is the ruling overreaching? Most definitely, yes, but so were the challenges brought up in the appeal.

      • twency says:

        The trial court made a finding that the NH permit was no longer valid because the PA permit had been revoked the day before and NH requires a home-state permit for out-of-staters applying for a NH permit. The problem is that there doesn’t appear to be anything in the record supporting the notion that an NH permit is automatically invalidated if the out-of-state NH permitholder’s home state permit lapses or is revoked.

        Further, I believe the trial court erred in finding that a NH permit does not meet the requirements of 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 6106(b)(15). The court makes much of NH not appearing on the “Category 2″ section of the PA AG’s website and concluding from this that the AG has not made the requisite findings for 6106(b)(15)(ii). This ignores that by placing NH in “Category 1″ the AG has made the same determination. (Because there was a written agreement in place 6106(b)(15)(i) was also also satisfied.)

        Finally there’s the issue Phil notes, that the court decided to mix ‘n’ match different sections of the statute to create and absurd reading of “any person”.

        The ruling is an exercise in torturing the statutes to achieve the result desired by the court, rather than the result demanded by justice and the law.

        • twency says:

          My apologies, I misread the opinion in my haste. I though it said the PA license had been revoked the day before the alleged crime, instead it says the revocation occurred prior to the application to NH. That weakens McKown’s case substantially I think, although it still isn’t clear to me if — assuming the NH license was issued improperly — the NH license was nonetheless valid until the administrative oversight was noticed and corrected.

        • MattW says:

          Thanks for the clarification, my ignorance based on the limited reading I did on the PA law after I saw this post. It seems outright reckless that the court would ignore the fact that NH was recognized by the AG at the time of the incident and seemingly outright lie about it in the opinion.

  10. Archer says:

    So where does this leave non-PA-residents with non-PA permits?

    They aren’t going full-Colorado, where you have to be a resident of the state with whom they have reciprocity to carry under that state’s permit, are they? (i.e.: I’m from Oregon. CO doesn’t recognize an OR CHL. They do recognize a Utah permit, but not mine because I’m not a resident of Utah. Ergo, there’s NO LEGAL WAY for me to carry in CO.)

    • Matthew Carberry says:

      Same place they were before. The ruling reads as only requiring PA residents to have a PA permit. Non-PA residents apply reciprocity as usual.

      • Richard says:

        @Archer,
        If I am correct, I believe the main real world impact of the decision will be on Philadelphia residents, where the chief law enforcement officer ignores the law as practiced in every other County. This forces residents of Philadelphia to seek non resident permits from other states.

        • Archer says:

          @ Matthew and Richard:
          Good to know. Thanks!

          These are the kinds of technicalities you need to be 100% clear on before travelling.

  11. Thank God I don’t live in PA.

    • richard says:

      Lisa,
      Its actually not bad:

      Almost no limits on place of carry (unlike Ohio)
      CCW license is cheap and easy to get
      NO Magazine limits or Assault weapon bans
      No statutory municipal preemption
      Open Carry legal(unlike Texas)

      The biggest limits people complain about are that dealer transfers are necessary for handguns and no semi auto rifles or pistols for hunting. (They can be owned, shot, and carried,just don’t shoot a Deer with one!)

    • Zermoid says:

      Think PA is bad?
      Try NJ.
      PA is a virtual Freedom Fest compared to NJ!
      You can’t even buy a BBgun or Paintball gun in NJ without a permit…..
      And don’t even think of carrying it down the street to your friend’s house to show it to them.

      • Bitter says:

        Then again, NJ is a virtual Freedom Fest compared to Pennsylvania on adult beverages. You can’t even buy a combination of three six-packs without just buying massive cases instead. Don’t even think of bringing home a bottle of wine you bought on vacation from that special little out-of-state winery too small to sell in Pennsylvania to enjoy with friends – that’s smuggling!

        I know it’s off topic, but I just couldn’t resist.

  12. bossmanham says:

    I’m a Missourian. On our CCW reciprocity page (found here it still lists PA as having a reciprocity agreement with MO. Does this invalidate that? I’m not as familiar with the case.

    • Sebastian says:

      No… this only affects Pennsylvania residents. If you’re a resident of another state, you can still carry in Pennsylvania on a license this state recognizes.

  13. jdunmyer says:

    If it wasn’t for Philadelphia, that wouldn’t be so bad. In Michigan, ALL out of state permits are recognized, if issued to a resident of that State. NO out of state permits are recognized. However, I’ve heard of no abuses in the [non]issuing of permits within the state.

  14. Self-representation. Awesome.

    In anything but an apocalyptic world, would this guy have drilled his own cavity? Sutured his own gaping wound? Formulated his own antibiotic? Ground his own gunpowder?

    It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the legal game, LIKE ALL GAMES, is rigged in favor of the regular participants. If you are not a regular participant, for God’s sake, hire one to represent you.

    And, yes, of course, I’m a lawyer. Also a Constitutionalist, LIfe Member of the NRA, Charter member of IDPA (member #13), NRA Certified Instructor, blah, blah, blah.

    As noted in the original post, the rest of us pay for this recklessness. Do we even know that this wasn’t some gun-control plant seeking to establish an anti-gun precedent?

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    • Sebastian says:

      I am not certain he was pro-se, but he certainly didn’t have the best lawyer in the world if the first footnote in the opinion was a benchslap.

      • I stand corrected.

        “If you’re not a regular participant in the game, for God’s sake, hire A COMPETENT one to represent you.”

        I would have thought the COMPETENT part was implied, but in today’s world of $600MM Obamacare launch catastrophes I guess it’s worth making explicit.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

  15. Also, nice blog, first time here. Thanks!

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

  16. Roberta X says:

    Gee, and the Republicans keep telling me how They Are My Pals On Gun Rights and feigning hurt when I doubt ‘em and go vote for wild-eyed third-party hacks.

    Nice job, Judges, nice effing job. Nice job Appellant, too. I’m guessing it only takes a teaspoon of annoyingly inept self-representation to poison an entire well of weak-kneed, lukewarm support for gun rights.

    • This decision is now just as valid law as any statute the Pennsylvania gun-rights groups might have spent months or years trying to get passed.

      Nicely done, Blofeld.

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    • Andy B. says:

      I should (and will) defer to any attorneys we have participating here, but friends of mine who were attorneys told me many times that judges just positively hate anyone who is representing themselves, even when they fundamentally agree with the points they are trying to make. One opinion was, that they smack them down just to show they aren’t as smart as they think they are.

      • Patrick H says:

        Yep, that’s the problem with the system. You can’t represent yourself. You have to get some who is an expert at playing the games. That’s not justice, that’s rigged to ensure the peons are put in their place.

  17. Taepo says:

    I think it is important for people to read the link to the case itself.

    First, McKown’s PA LTCF was revoked on 14APR08 by his local sheriff due to an incident that occurred 06APR08. A revocation letter was sent out on 15APR08. He then applied to NH for a permit on that same day. However, there is proof that he did not receive the revocation notice until 29APR08, clearly after the fact. So his initial receipt of a NH permit was legal. As the NH permit did not arrive until 19MAY08, he should have known that it was no longer valid per NH law.

    For this reason alone, he would not be able to carry concealed in PA under a NH permit. The court is stretching or overreaching in my opinion as it was not necessary to rule on the challenge about having an out of state permit by a PA resident whether or not they had a valid PA LTCF because he did not have a valid NH permit.

    Second, McKown was probably not thinking about any demonstration or challenge regarding a PA resident carrying under an out of state permit. He originally was concerned about having firearm storage lockers and signage at the court facility per state law. Recall that he called and asked about carrying to the courthouse and storage lockers. Then he took pictures outside the facility showing a lack of required signage. He finally showed up at the appointment and thought he was speaking with the person who checked-in firearms. Now it is not illegal to have a gun in the building where a state court facility is located, just not adjoining hallways and the courtrooms and offices thereof. A lobby or screening area before a secured area would not be included.

    Court facility definition and the requirements for signage and storage lockers for firearms can all be found under 18 Pa.C.S. section 913.

    This second reason is apparently what was the intent of the ‘challenge’ or exercise. It is interesting how the court’s violations (the state) have been glossed over but Mr. McKown’s has been brought to the fore.

    I agree that this was not handled well or that Mr. McKown was the best person to make a challenge; but it is clear to me that you better not challenge the state at all unless you are as pure as the driven snow; a requirement the state never has to meet. Otherwise, you will become the state’s main criminal attraction while the state sneaks out the back door during the misdirection.

    • MattW says:

      I agree with your first point, and as previous comments – including mine – indicate we are all pretty much in agreement that the court overreached in its opinion. That being said, McKown asked for it because of the challenges he brought up in his appeal.

      As to your second point regarding McKown’s intent when he showed up to the court house, I don’t see how it is relevant. He was illegally carrying concealed handgun and was arrested and charged for it. And in a desperate attempt to ditch the felony conviction, he challenged the constitutionality of laws that really didn’t make a different to the original charge anyway.

      His intent and ignorance of the fact that his NH permit (that was not on his person at the time) was not valid don’t matter.

      • Taepo says:

        Hi MattW,

        Thanks for your reply.

        I think that McKown should have known the NH permit was invalid due to the requirement that one must have a resident permit before obtaining (and keeping) the NH permit. Therefore the constitutionality of the law in PA regarding residents carrying under another states license should not even come into play.

        What I am suggesting is that the courts overreached again. They should not have ruled on the constitutionality of the PA state law but rather, ruled that per NH requirements, that permit was invalid and the defendant should have known that.

        I am not a lawyer but in many cases I have read it seems that courts (especially the supreme court(s)) tend to rule on the lowest issue as is possible before making constitutional case law. The defense on constitutionality should have been ignored in this case as he did not have a valid NH license in the first place.

        In this albeit indirect way, I think that it does matter.

        As for his original intent, McKown ignorantly thought he was legal when he was not and should have known it. But that issue was secondary. Many make it sound like McKown was intentionally trying to challenge the law regarding carrying under another state permit while a resident of PA. As your reply indicates, it was incidental to the other issue but there are many who seem to misunderstand this. It is really only a fine point to distinguish but I think an important one.

        • JJ says:

          A NH license (or any state’s license) is valid unless revoked. Did NH revoke it? If not, it was still valid despite their requirement that you have another permit at the time of application.

          • Matthew Carberry says:

            The valid here is “considered valid by PA” not NH.

            As I’m understanding it PA has structured their law to prevent a deliberate end-run around their permit regs by not recognizing a PA resident’s out-of-state permit as valid in PA unless the PA resident has (or can have?) a valid PA permit as well.

            Whether NH considers Mr. McKown as a “valid permittee” in their state or any other is irrelevant.

            • Sebastian says:

              Pennsylvania did not structure its law this way. This is a case of judges bending the law to get the desired result. See Phil’s post above. The law says “any person” in possession of a PA license or a valid license from a reciprocal state. So yes, it actually does hinge on whether the State of New Hampshire views his license as a valid one. Or it should, by plain wording of the statute.

          • Phil - Quakertown, PA says:

            I agree, after a license is issued, and before notice of revocation is received, a citizen is entitled to act in reliance on that license. There’s a fair body of case law relating to motorists, the gist of which is that to be charged for driving with a suspended license, you have to either know that it was suspended, or at least failed to notify PennDOT of your current address where you might be notified.
            The alternative is horrific. As Hobson discovered, the criminal charge is bumped up from a misdemeanor 1 to a felony, if you’re both unlicensed and ineligible for a license, meaning that a citizen in possession of a license which nobody revoked, can be convicted of a felony for not having a license. That bizarre logic could nullify a PA LTCF if the citizen “had bad character”, such that he “should have known” the Sheriff erred in issuing the license.

            The law is supposed to provide citizens with a safe harbor, something they can rely on. Not hidden pitfalls and land mines.

            All of that is beside the point. These judges had an agenda, and the fuzzy reasoning and vague recitation of alleged facts in their decision went far beyond the needs of the case, to implement a very Bloombergian desire to change Pennsylvania’s UFA to a more Brady-friendly version.

  18. Ursa Ele says:

    So, you can’t find even one Philly resident who has been unfairly denied a PA LTCF by the PPD and who also has the financial means to take the City to court and settle this Philly-denial thing once a for all? Not one single person? Well, whatever. The idea that one can not get a PA permit issued to them so they will use a reciprocal non-resident permit issued by some other state is ridiculous. Of course that was never the actual intent of the PA UFA and you know that darn well. If this whole thing comes down to Philly residents getting unfairly denied LTCF that should be issued per the UFA, then that particular foul needs to be settled in court. Pretending that we gun owners think it is perfectly reasonable to just rely on a non-resident carry license issued by a reciprocal state is absurd.

    • HappyWarrior6 says:

      I agree with this, in part. Short of pushing for constitutional carry (which we must push for), this is the fight that we should bring. To me, not much actually changes with this ruling. History will let it be seen as “low impact”.

      Legislatively the “Philly fix” should not be hard. Bring them in line with other counties or, at the very least, let residents go to a neighboring county for LTCFs.

      • Sebastian says:

        And I should note that abuse of discretion isn’t limited to Philadelphia, it’s just much less common in other jurisdictions.

    • Sebastian says:

      Most attorneys who practice firearms law in the area are full of stories of the city abusing discretion. When the city illegally published the names of people who were appealing, I decided to take a look at a lot of the published summaries on their cases, and found examples of what appeared to be abuse.

    • Truecrimso says:

      If you are illegally denied in Philly you have to appeal, with an attorney, through the corrupt Philly courts. You will, in all likelyhood, be ruled against unless and until you get to a level of appeal above the corrupt Philly court system.

      Anyone with enough time and money to afford that will make a campaign contribution and not get denied in the first.

      Government is a mechanism for corruption.

      The same thing happens with denials that often happens with getting illegally confiscated guns back. You go talk to a lawyer. The lawyer tells you that it will cost an arm and a leg and take a long long time and you will have to take off from work a number of days over a period of months or years which will change as every time you show up the other side will request to reschedule. It’s cheaper and easier to get an out of state license/permit or just buy a new gun.

  19. Gary Harper says:

    Read the title banner…”shall not be questioned.” Technically, our Commonwealth Constitution is saying that you can open carry anywhere “without question.” Concealed carry is admittedly more of a public safety / violent crime issue, but not from a strict rendering of your Constitutional right to carry “without question.” If you follow the logic of this decision to its illogical conclusion, then a driver with a VA driver’s license cannot drive here, and a MD plate on a truck is invalid.

  20. PA_Injustice says:

    It should have been understood by McKown that the PA Superior Court regularly overreaches in it’s rulings on gun related cases. Unless the ultimate intention was to reach the PA Supreme Court, it should never have been pursued.

    The PA Supreme Court has a much better track record of careful jurisprudence in gun related cases to keep it’s rulings consistent with each other and the intention of the legislature (although failures might be discoverable).

    Perceptions of McKown’s personal character or history is irrelvant to properly discerning the factual legal basis of this case. The PA Superior Court ruling is delirious in it’s wanton disregard for the actual law.

    For the sake of all gun owners in PA, lets hope this case does make it to the PA Supreme Court for review of the legal technicalities that have been wholly and abusively discounted and discarded by the handful of activist judges who have ruled on this case. It would be hard to have a more negative outcome than has already been obtained.

    Constitutional Carry is long overdue in Pennsylvania not only to right so many of the convoluted wrongs in the multiplicitous carry laws that currently exist, but especially to dethrone those in Philadelphia who think they are above the law because of the First-Class City Status (which should really be considered a Low-Class City Status) and to kill the should-be-illegal PSP gun registry (which includes a flamingly horrible ruling by the PA Supreme Court).

    ***With Freedom and Justice for All***

  21. O. Rly says:

    906 MAL 2013 is the Pa. Supreme Court docket for Hobson McKown’s petition for allowance of appeal. It’s been for years suggested that the case was meant to reach the Pa. Supreme Court and apparently as of recently, promised by the defendant: cases.hobsonlylemckown.com. Of course, he probably hasn’t held the judges at gunpoint to take the case, so it can’t be promised that they’ll actually take any issue requested of them.

    However, if you look through the entire jurisprudence of Pennsylvania on the Right to Bear Arms and the High Powers clause, you will find a house of cards. Every ruling is one paragraph on the right to bear arms, one declaration that ‘no right is absolute’. It is strange that the Pa. Supreme Court did not take Caba v. Weaknecht, which challeneged the validity of 18 Pa.C.S. 6109 in the Commonwealth Court, but Caba conmmenced years after McKown. The Court has simply never taken a case like it and created binding precedent. Ever.

    P.S. Sebastian’s article here is an example of “I’m a Gun Owner, but… (Hobson McKown ruined it for all of us!)” Don’t blame the police for the arrest. Don’t blame the county, who was to provide lockers, the district court administrator who was to provide where the lockers go and the signage at the court facility, the sheriff who provides courthouse security, or the president judge who supervises that all law is followed in his judicial district, don’t blame the DA and all the ADAs who prosecuted this, all the trial court judges who rendered their insane decisions, it’s not really the fault of the Superior Court judges who will just do what they do… Hobson McKown brought this train wreck and we all have to suffer… because we’re the one who built the train and its tracks, powered that train and sent it off toward the cliff.

    • Matthew Carberry says:

      Nope. McKown knew of the lack of lockers, and could have adjusted to it in the short term to conduct his business that day, or could have chosen to not conduct his business while bringing the unlawful lack of locker situation to the attention of all and sundry and stated his intent to sue.

      He directly caused the situation by choosing to address it in the worst possible way. This is yet another case that proves that, if you actually want to -win- in the real world, it is never enough to simply be “right”, you also have to be smart.

      • O. Rly says:

        Too bad, Matthew Carberry — the lack of lockers was a condition that CONTINUED to exist for YEARS following McKown’s arrest. Only 4+ years later did anyone bother putting any sign up ANYWHERE in that court facility noting anything close to the requirements in 913(d) and 913(e)… and this new sign actually says ‘leave it in your car… but if you demand to carry a weapon, we have a locker somewhere…” I don’t think 18 Pa.C.S. 913 says anything about leaving it in one’s car. What if one has no car? You can go to this office yourself, you could have checked there once a year to see if anything had changed. Now, sec. 913 does say that a sign has to be at every public entrance to a building containing a court facility (there is no sign at all on the public entrance to this office AS OF TODAY) and a sign at the entrance of every “court facility” meaning every judges chambers, every courtroom, every adjoining corridor to any of those, any attorney’s meeting room, etc. I’ve never seen a courthouse or other building containing a court facility ANYWHERE meet that standard, ever. We have an organized criminal syndicate on our hands, Matthew Carberry, the worst that has ever existed.

        • Phil - Quakertown, PA says:

          In other words, everything that he (you) did has failed utterly. The protest of the non-compliance by the DJ’s showed no results. The claims in the courts failed utterly, even yielding a scolding by the court over basic line-spacing errors that were repeated from the lower court. Every single goal that you (he) had remains untouched. All that has been accomplished is that the poor bastards in Philly have completely lost the ability to carry under ANY out-of-state license, thanks to your Jihad.
          So he is a convicted felon, lost his gun rights for life, and while he was at it he incompetently argued his case in such a way as to ruin the only escape valve for Philly residents who were arbitrarily denied a Pa LTCF. Thanks for that.
          The only possible argument is that you are trying to make things so bad for everyone that they rebel. Which would put you in the same class as any terrorist who uses and victimizes the innocent to achieve his own goal of finally mattering, despite what everyone in school said abut “the weird doper kid”.
          God save us from self-appointed “activists” who are unable to recognize their own failures, and keep pushing ahead despite the screams and pleas of their victims to “STOP!!”, like some deaf octogenarian who drives through a crowd because she can’t understand what she’s doing to the people falling under her wheels, or take her aged foot off the gas pedal.

        • Matthew Carberry says:

          And if McKown hadn’t have gotten himself arrested by knowingly carrying where he knew there weren’t, right or wrong, lockers provided, he could have been fighting the locker issue all those years.

          I assume you are the plaintiff in continuing legal actions and press campaigns to force the courthouse to obey the law?

          McKown could also have been challenging the portions of the carry law as facially invalid, at least in the court of public opinion, without getting himself arrested first. That he only chose to do so after being arrested under them, and making a poor showing of it, was also unwise.

          It is not enough to be right, you have to be smart if you want to win.

          Resting on “rightness” -after- you have been arrested without intending to be, and then making bush-league errors in your case, which ends up ruining things for everyone else doesn’t earn you a lot of sympathy.

      • O. Rly says:

        I don’t think you understand, Matthew Carberry. Hobson McKown challenged 18 Pa.C.S. 6106 (firearms not to be carried without a license) and 18 Pa.C.S. 913 (possession of firearm or other dangerous weapon in court facility) as facially void under the Pennsylvania Constitution. The facts don’t matter, as to what was or wasn’t the case at the district court office. The only fact that matters is that he was arrested under those sections, and that he challenges them as unconstitutional and therefore void. It is that challenge which he is taking to the Pa. Supreme Court.

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