Another Problem with Philadelphia Permit Process

The Uniform Firearms Act is pretty clear on this:

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.

Except the Philadelphia police illegally require extra forms that are not prescribed by the State Police, notably two reference sheets. In addition, they require fingerprinting, which is not prescribed as part of the process. They require military discharge papers for those who were in the military, which are not part of the prescribed process. They conduct interviews with applicants. They require naturalized citizens to bring their naturalization papers. None of this is in the spirit of “shall be uniform throughout this Commonwealth.”

Either these issues need to be addressed, or Chief of Police’s authority to issue permits should be assigned to the State Police instead.

18 thoughts on “Another Problem with Philadelphia Permit Process”

  1. This parallels what’s going on over here in PRNJ. New Jersey Second Amendment Society ( is running a program called Operation Establish Compliance, which first established in court that towns needed to follow the state law when it comes to issuing FPIDs and Handgun Purchase Permits. So far, every town that’s been targeted has removed their illegal extra requirements. Sounds like something gun owners need to do in PA with Philly.

  2. With all Philly has been doing, how is the AGs office turning a blind eye? Really, they just keep doing anything they want and keep getting away with it. It’s too bad we don’t have anyone in PA who will sue over this nonsense. If it’s not stopped it will spread to other counties and it will get worse and worse.

    1. The problem with a lot of these laws is there really isn’t a penalty for violating them. Someone would have to sue over the extraneous requirements, which is going to be at their own expense.

      1. I was poking it more as this is a case the NRA should take up, or the SAF or GOA (not like the unorganized PAFOA actually does anything beyond some OC stomping). If philly continues to do this, the cancer will certainly spread to other counties.

        1. A practical problem is that you need to have standing to file suit; the NRA, GOA, or anyone else can’t just walk in off the street and say “I don’t like what you’re doing; I think you’re breaking the law; I’m suing!”

          The issue about the uniformity of the application process and form was one of my key arguments when I filed suit against the Bucks County sheriff for adding a “doctors note” requirement to the application process. As I related the story recently, I prevailed only in the sense that the sheriff unilaterally changed his policy, removing the requirement; but it also mooted my suit and denied us a precedent. However, I was very lucky to be able to file suit at all, because the deputy mishandled things and accepted my application without the doctors note, and my application was denied, giving me standing to sue. Had the deputy simply refused to accept my “incomplete” application I might have had a good deal more difficulty establishing standing.

          I don’t know about fingerprinting, but I believe more than one other county has required DD214s or other military records from veterans. I agree it’s a violation, but it went on for years and no one in those counties would challenge it. I’m having a mental block at to its name at the moment, but one was the one whose county seat is Stroudsburg; Montgomery and Delaware Counties may be others.

          1. This “You Must Have Standing” issue drives me nuts. We ought to have standing when something illegal is being done by a government agency, merely because we’re attempting to enforce compliance!

            1. Yeah, but standing is really important to make reasonable limits on the number of lawsuits.

  3. I am a Philly resident who recently renewed an LTCF with the PPD. Does this give me standing to sue?

    1. Not sure. But I’m wondering if someone can turn in an LTC application, just the PSP prescribed application, refuse the rest of the nonsense, and have standing when the application is refused, or the are denied for not complying with the illegal requirements.

      1. I think that would be the way it would have to be done Sebastion.

        Otherwise they might dismiss it as “you don’t have standing” or “you weren’t harmed so you don’t have a case.” which we all know is BS, but courts seem to love to get out of doing their job that way!

      2. Refusal to accept the application would serve as a constructive denial, thus establishing standing. You’re complying with state law, they’re not.

    2. IANAL, but I don’t think it would unless you were denied based on the extra requirements.

    3. You might not have standing, but I seem to recall that Sebastian has a list of about twenty-nine people who do have standing. Why not drum up a lawsuit from among that list?

  4. Post-McDonald incorporation via the 14th Amendment. Couldn’t Philadelphia be sued in the federal courts for violating the “equal protection” clause?

  5. Where do these arguments get hung up? I am thinking it is the “city of first class” area that keeps the system all out of whack.

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