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Philadelphia Legal Smackdown

Remember two years ago when it came out that Philadelphia disclosed personal information about some license to carry applicants in violation of state law?

They were people who were initially denied licenses and were in the process of appealing the denial, and many of them seemed like highly questionable denials.

Well, several of those folks did call lawyers who worked to sue the city and ended up with a great settlement.

From Josh Prince, one of the four attorneys on the case:

…the City will pay $1.425 million to the class and will be separately responsible for the costs of administering the settlement… Further, and of similar importance, the City has agreed to a number of policy changes…:

  • Not to disclose LTCF applicant information either electronically or in-person;
  • Annual training of the Philadelphia Police Department and Philadelphia License and Inspection Board of Review on the confidentiality of LTCF applicant information;
  • Customer service training for the Philadelphia Gun Permit Unit;
  • Posting a copy of the LTCF Application Notice on its website and where LTCF applications and appeals can be submitted or obtained, as well as, providing a copy to anyone who has his/her LTCF denied or revoked;
  • The City will not required references on the LTCF application and will not contact any references listed on the LTCF application;
  • The City will not require lawful immigrants or US Citizens with a US Passport to provide naturalization papers;
  • The City will not require any applicant to disclose whether he/she owns a firearm during the LTCF application process;
  • The City will not deny an application because the applicant answered “no” to any question regarding whether the applicant had been charged/convicted of any crime where the applicant received a pardon or expungement from the charge or conviction;
  • The City will process all LTCF applications within 45 calendar days;
  • The City will remit $15.00 to any applicant who is denied within 20 days;
  • The City will not require LTCF applicants or holders to disclose to law enforcement that they have an LTCF, that they are carrying a firearm or that they have a firearm in the vehicle; and
  • The City will not confiscate an LTCF or firearm, unless there is probable cause that the LTCF or firearm is evidence of a crime. In the event an LTCF or firearm is confiscated, the officer must immediately provide a property receipt, which shall include the pertinent information

All of the attorneys in this case deserve huge kudos: Benjamin R. Picker, Jonathan Goldstein, Jon Mirowitz, and obviously, Josh Prince.

26 Responses to “Philadelphia Legal Smackdown”

  1. Asdf says:

    45 calendar days is HUGE. I’ve waited as long as 6 months for my license in the past. It took 60 days exactly the last time around.

  2. Pyrotek85 says:

    Holy cow they got all that? Goes to show how far Philly was going to discourage people.

  3. beatbox says:

    Is this from the courts or what the lawyers are asking for? It’s not clear in your post.

  4. beatbox says:

    I see it is a settlement. Wow that is amazing.

  5. Mat says:

    Kudos indeed!

  6. borekfk says:

    I might actually get my CCW permit in Philadelphia now. Too bad they’ll probably still require me to submit a copy of my DD-214 from the Navy.

  7. Wow that’s crazy! Who says Prince is terrible for fighting for our rights?

    If only he could have gotten them to say they won’t deny LTCFs for parking violations- or did he do that too?

  8. BenFoo says:

    It still doesnt remove some of the other wonky requirements that Philadelphia has. Such as – being fingerprinted like a criminal (no other county in PA fingerprints for residents), as well as the passport photo that they dont use, or some of the questions during the interview process.

    HUGE step forward, don’t get me wrong…..but as long as Philadelphia is “different and special” its always going to be “different and special” compared to the rest of the state.

  9. Zermoid says:

    Why do the laws of the State change because of a certain number of assholes being congregated into a certain geographical area?
    I have never understood this, state law should be state law, no matter where you are in the state.

    • Does PA have a “home rule” provision? Some states, like Illinois, does, which allows cities to enact ordinances more strict than state law in some areas of law. This is where Chicago gets their taste for “carve-outs”, exceptions to state law just for the city.

      Perhaps Philly has the same attitude?

      • There is a long tradition of states granting special status to some counties or cities. Pennsylvania adopted a shall issue carry permit law in 1989–but exempted “a city of the first class” (which by Penn. Stat. Ann. 53 sec. 101 (1974) defines the classes of cities based on population. Only Filthadelphia currently qualifies as a “city of the first class,” by having a population above one million) from the shall issue requirement (although permits valid elsewhere in the state were valid in Philly). Eventually, Pennsylvania made Philly shall issue as well–but Philly is still doing its best to pretend that the law does not apply there.

        When Michigan adopted its may issue concealed weapon permit law in 1911, it required every county to set up a concealed handgun licensing board, but only required a permit to carry concealed in counties with a population above a certain size (which amount I can’t immediate remember, but the only county meeting this population was the one where Detroit was located).

        Special exemptions are typically written based on population, but some states do have special legal statuses based whether a city has a charter that grants it home rule.

    • It is very simple: if there are a lot of criminals in a city, allowing concealed carry will reduce the number of Democratic voters too much.

  10. Asdf says:

    “Character and Reputation” should be the next target.

    • Sebastian says:

      That’s state law. It would take a legislative act to get rid of it. Unless you want to challenge it on Constitutional grounds, but I don’t like my chances in State Court, and there is no right to carry outside the home in the 3rd circuit under the Second Amendment.

      • Asdf says:

        I’d like to see “character and reputation” challenged on an as-applied basis, not on it’s face. No reasonable person can conclude that it was intended to give Philadelphia (or any other issuing authority in the state) such broad discretion to include unpaid traffic tickets as an excuse to deny permits.

  11. Adam Z says:

    Awesome for all these people and their lawyers! Way to go Josh Prince!

    Here are some highlights that I noticed in the document which can be found at http://www.phillyltcfclassaction.com

    1.) Total of 3,165 were appealing their denial or revocation of their LTCF. (pg 7)
    2.) 2,190 of those, had their private personal info listed on the city’s website for basically 4 dats.

    And the kicker if there are any leftover funds after everything’s been paid out…then the leftover is divided in the following manner (pg 17):

    1.) 1/3 to NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund
    2.) 1/3 to Philadelphia NRA Eddie Eagle Fund
    etc..

    HAHA!

  12. Dano says:

    Wow, this is an awesome win for Printz. That dolt, ViperGTS, had a chance to get a settlement like this with real changes. He sold out for a crappy $25k

    • Bitter says:

      I don’t think it’s fair to only credit Prince. He certainly made the information easily accessible via his blog, but a team of attorneys worked on this case because of the number of people and issues involved.

      • Dano says:

        He was still part of the team, so it’s still a win for him. Like him or not, and I know there are those who don’t, there are plenty of attorneys who won’t take civil cases when they involve firearms – Josh isn’t on of them. This win is big, every future municipality and solicitor he deals, on firearms issues, will be aware of the dragon he slayed and how much he won. The same to true for the other three on the case. The big difference in this case is that the spotlight was on the actions of the PPD and not the actions of an individual plaintiff. Sometimes the gun rights crowd can be its own worst enemy with its actions and half baked cases – this one was different.

        • Bitter says:

          I never said I didn’t like him! I just felt it was inappropriate to ignore the contributions of the other attorneys that even Josh felt the need to recognize in his post on his law firm blog.

          • dano says:

            I never dissed the other three. Josh has been the most visible one in PA gun rights cases, and yes he’s taken crap for some of his work. You’re focusing on what I didn’t say as if it was something I said. I choose to focus on Josh due to involvement in the community and not just his involvement in a case.

  13. BobC says:

    Congrats! Now, if we could get this type of ruling on the Eastern shore of the Delaware river. Sadly, we can’t even get them to enforce the 30 day limit that is written into the purchase permit/FOID law.

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