The City of Philadelphia’s Legal Argument

Unfortunately, I think it’s plausible. From the updated post from yesterday:

“The legal department has determined that this is public information. Its publication is legal. An individual who is denied a permit and files an appeal, that person has waived their right to confidentiality. All that said, within the government, there is a concern about the propriety of publishing the information, and so we’re looking at this again. On the one hand, city government wants to be transparent and believes in the concept of open data. Access to information makes for strong citizenry and effective government. But on the other hand, there are public safety concerns with regard to this information.

So the appeals process in Philadelphia is that you first appeal to a board, which will review your case. My understanding is that it is very rare for the board to overturn the determination of the Philadelphia Police. The next step is an appeal in Commonwealth Court, and court records are public information. So the city is suggesting that once the appeal is made, because it goes to a court case which is public record, it no longer becomes private information protected by the Uniform Firearms Act.

This isn’t over, by a long shot. More to come.

2 thoughts on “The City of Philadelphia’s Legal Argument”

  1. I think this falls under the heading of “just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD do something.” There was a case down south (I think in one of the Carolinas) a few years ago where a newspaper found that state law made concealed carry paperwork public records so they literally published the names and addresses of all permit holders in their city. The one letter to the editor I remember was from a woman who’d gone into hiding and purchased a handgun to protect herself from an abusive former spouse. Publishing the list meant that she had to assume she needed to pack up and move again.

    I’ve been waffling for years over whether I should get a permit in PA. I’ve been balancing the likelihood that I may at some point need a gun when I’m out in public against the absolute certainty that the government will at some point misuse any information I give them. Cases like this just reaffirm my belief that my caution wasn’t misplaced.

    1. Unless you’re always on foot (like in a large city) you pretty much need one in PA to carry legally. No such thing as open carry while driving, it’s considered concealed.

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