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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.

Targeting Gun Ranges to Steal Guns

It seems that two armed robbers decided they needed more guns and robbed people coming out of a local shooting range (Delaware Valley Sports Center) to get them. Unfortunately, they also shot one of the victims as they were fleeing. Police also say that there was a robbery at another area gun shop the night before.

Be careful and extremely observant, shooters in the Philadelphia area. These people have more guns and ammunition, and they are clearly willing to shoot you if they think they can get more guns off of you.

I will say that this makes the private club Sebastian shoots at more appealing because there’s no easy access without having to closely follow a member in and no easy exit.

Philadelphia Bans 3D Gun Printing

It is now illegal to hit “Print …” in Philadelphia, if the thing you loaded was a design for a firearm.

Which is interesting, because the author of the bill, Kenyatta Johnson, isn’t aware of of any local gun-printing 3-D printers. ”It’s all pre-emptive,” says Johnson’s director of legislation Steve Cobb. “It’s just based upon internet stuff out there.”

It’s not “preemptive,” it’s just stupid. It’s up there in terms of ignorance with burning witches. It’s not going to preempt anybody, because no one is going to be dissuaded from hitting “Print …” if they are seriously intending to cause harm. It is also quite arguably, and ironically, given Johnson’s quote, preempted by state law banning cities and local communities from regulating firearms.

It is not unusual for people who don’t understand new technology to be frightened by it. That goes double if you’re a politician. The same primitive fears of the unknown were responsible for all manner of laws when the automobile first appeared, or really any new technology first appeared on the scene. Life among the barbarians, I suppose.

Philly Looking to Ban 3D Printing of Guns

Perhaps they heard the news that a 3D printed gun was made out of metal, using Selective Laser Sintering. This is an expensive process, outside the where the technology is as far as the hobbyist is concerned, but technology always gets cheaper. Though, Perhaps Philadelphia City Councilmen just sit around thinking of ways to screw the Second Amendment, when they aren’t busy allowing the city to continue to circle the bowl. Regardless of the motivation, Philadelphia City Council is looking to outlaw the 3D printing of guns.

“The prohibition that city ordinances can’t overcome as it relates to state legislation is primarily ownership, transfer of a firearm. This goes to manufacturing,” he said. “We’ve spoken with the Law Department. We believe that if there is a challenge in the court system, it will be something we’ll be able to defeat.”

This is true, but there’s another element of the UFA they are ignoring:

No political subdivision may bring or maintain an action at law or in equity against any firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association or dealer for damages, abatement, injunctive relief or any other relief or remedy resulting from or relating to either the lawful design or manufacture of firearms or ammunition or the lawful marketing or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public.

It could be argued that this only means that subdivisions can’t sue manufacturers, but I would argue this is further evidence the state intended to reserve this body of law for the state legislature. Another question is whether a prosecution would be considered an “action at law.”

Regardless, I would not expect this ordinance to necessarily to go down. As we’ve seen, Pennsylvania courts will do what they can to screw gun owners. We’ve seen it with the law against firearms registries that the courts have ruled does not actually prevent the state from running a registry, as long as they call it a record of sale. We’ve seen the courts ignore plain meaning when it comes to reciprocal licenses. So I don’t exactly have great faith the courts will do the right thing here.

Now With “More Me”

In the mailbox this morning:

Discover the IMPROVED INQUIRER! If you haven’t seen The Inquirer in a while, it’s time to look again. Because there’s a better Inquirer, and improved Inquirer, now with MORE YOU.

There’s already enough of me, I think. In fact, there could stand to be about 50 pounds less of me. I don’t want more me in my newspaper, but I’d really like one that presents local news in a balanced fashion, and isn’t just a mouthpiece for the establishment left. So until they apologize for that, instead of saying “MORE YOU,” I’ll continue monitoring other sources.

Seriously, that has to be the dumbest marketing campaign I’ve ever seen. I hope they didn’t pay too much for someone to come up with the MORE YOU campaign. If so, I’d want my money back.

“Assaulted: Civil Rights Under Fire” Comes to Philly

It’s going to be screened at the Ritz at the Bourse, 4th and Ranstead Street, Philadelphia, PA. That’s here, for those interested.

Assaulted: Civil Rights Under Fire
With Guest Speaker Gun Rights Attorney Joshua Prince

Thursday, August 8th 7:30pm $13.00
Ritz at the Bourse, 4th and Ranstead Street, Philadelphia

Tickets are available ONLINE ONLY. Please reserve yours ASAP.
You will not be charged unless/until screening attendance threshold is met.

Here’s the trailer:

The LTC Process in Philly

Despite the state making an effort to standardize the LTC application process, Philly is still wants to do things their own way.

The application itself is 4 (four) pages if you print some of them front/back. Doesnt that go against what is outline in:

18 Pa.C.S. § 6109: Licenses (c) Form of application and content.–The application for a license to carry a firearm shall be uniform throughout this Commonwealth and shall be on a form prescribed by the Pennsylvania State Police. The form may contain provisions, not exceeding one page, to assure compliance with this section. Issuing authorities shall use only the application form prescribed by the Pennsylvania State Police.

Or am I just dense?

You’re not dense, no. But the law doesn’t honestly mean anything to these people, and it’s always just been cheaper to go get yourself a Florida license that to try to challenge the system. Kathy Kane might have just changed that equation, however. In every jurisdiction except for “cities of the first class,” which Philadelphia (and only Philadelphia) is under PA law, the issuing authority is the sheriff. For Philadelphia it is the Chief of Police. One bill I’ve seen would allow applications to be made to neighboring jurisdictions. This would be a useful first step, on the way to fixing this issue by not requiring permits, and may be useful for people who live in sprawling counties where the neighboring sheriff may actually be closer.

Things I Don’t Understand About Voting in Philly

I’m baffled by the stories that come out of Philadelphia after every single election. Last November, one polling location staffed by many Democrats thought it was perfectly appropriate to line up the voting machines in a room with a giant mural of a candidate on the ballot. A judge had to step in and let them know to cover it up. I wouldn’t even care if it was my candidate, my first thought would be to send someone out for a tarp, bed sheet, or giant roll of paper to cover it since it could clearly be seen as electioneering. But, no. This is something that Philadelphia poll workers needed a court to order.

After yesterday’s primary, the news was complaining about the lack of “shenanigans” that required court intervention in Philadelphia. I mean, how dare these people think that holding reasonable elections without rampant violations of election laws is acceptable?

That said, the main story this highlight still leaves me baffled. Apparently a candidate on the ballot tried to convince a poll worker running the elections to wear a temporary tattoo that promoted his campaign. The story says that the candidate was joking (but he apparently doesn’t dispute that he made the suggestion), but the opposition still went to court in order to get a judge to make it official that candidates should not be pushing poll workers to campaign illegally inside polling places. I would think this is common sense, but apparently not in Philadelphia.

And for these many reasons, I’ll never understand that city. I’m even more confused by the voters who consider all of this reasonable behavior.

Only The Police Are Responsible Enough to Have Guns

An M16 is missing from a Philadelphia Police locker:

“Obviously, this is very, very serious,” Ramsey said. “And believe me, we will get to the bottom of it, one way or another, I guarantee that.”

You’d think a critical mass of plutonium had gone missing or something. I mean, not that it’s not a problem, but I won’t lose any sleep over a missing M16, at least not anymore than who might be buying pressure cookers.

I’d also note that I hope that the weapon pictured in the story is not typical of the condition of the firearms in the PPD arsenal. If so, ugh.

Philadelphia Crapping on Preemption Yet Again

They are banning guns in parks and city owned public property. Obviously, this is illegal under Pennsylvania’s preemption law, but since there’s no cost to violating preemption, they routinely do it. Unfortunately, this also shows how little regard Philadelphia has for its police officers, who would be open to civil rights suits for enforcing this ordinance, given that preemption is well-established in the Courts. Any officer enforcing this law is open to being personally sued, and that suit can reach up the chain of command all the way to Nutter. Pennsylvania has a bill pending that would give teeth to the preemption statute, but so far it hasn’t moved.

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