You Cannot be Stopped for Carrying a Gun in PA

Pretty good decision from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in regards to whether you can be stopped if the police spot you carrying a gun. I’m hoping this also dissuades the folks who seem to think maybe the Supreme Court is up for revisiting Ortiz. I feel better that they are not after seeing this.

6 thoughts on “You Cannot be Stopped for Carrying a Gun in PA”

  1. Really amazing decision. At least there are some rights they are still willing to protect.

    I agree as well on Ortiz- they are not likely to change it.

  2. I’d urge my fellow Pennsylvanian’s to not get too cocky over a State Supreme Court decision.

    The first time I ever went to court over a gun/hunting issue was in 1964. In 1963 the State Supreme Court had declared that local hunting ordinances were unconstitutional. So, instead of exercising some caution, I assumed the local hunting ordinances in my township were dead, and went about my business hunting.

    I was arrested under a local hunting ordinance. When I attempted to broach the issue that such ordinances had been declared unconstitutional, the local judge cut in “Shut the fuck up, you’re guilty! I had to appeal my conviction to the next level of the Court of Common Pleas, and to do that took money, which I didn’t have. Fortunately a local gun club agreed to fund my appeal, and I was vindicated. But the point of the story is I had to purchase my constitutional rights, either with my own money, or find someone else to fund it. Most people aren’t as lucky as I was.

    Twenty years later – twenty-one years after the first State Supreme Court decision — a friend faced the identical issue in his township. In his case the township appealed the overturning of his conviction, so he wound up having to fight it all the way to the State Supreme Court again, where once again the Supreme Court declared local ordinances to be unconstitutional. That was over thirty years ago, but it has made no practical difference, and municipalities still carry “preempted” firearms and hunting ordinances on their books to this day, to be applied selectively, probably with defendants perceived to be too unsophisticated, and/or too poor, to know or pursue their rights.

    Also, don’t expect alleged “gun rights” organizations to leap to your aid for anything but high-profile cases that are useful for fund-raising. When I took the county sheriff to court to challenge a straight-up firearms rights issue in 1995 (a concealed carry issue) considerable arm-twisting was necessary to raise the money locally, the NRA was nowhere to be found, and GOA donated $500 of the several thousand that was required. But, full disclosure, I had begun to serve as a de facto regional spokesman for GOA at that time, so they had some interest in me.

    What everyone, but especially gun owners, needs to understand is that in the United States you have not one single right that you can’t afford to purchase in court, or can’t get someone else to sponsor. Unless you are of the class who can afford to keep attorneys (or political parties) on retainer, the cop on the beat is the arbiter of what the constitution or the law means. And sometimes even a battery of attorneys isn’t enough to challenge that.

    1. I am very glad you won your case, but really steamed you had to appeal at great expense to get the lower court to obey its superiors. Judges like that make me understand Tim McVeigh’s motivations (although not his actions). That judge was a tyrant, pure and simple!
      Thank you for the warning, Andy B.!
      – Arnie

    2. When I was living in Logan, Utah, years ago, I remembered some controversy about Logan having a law on the books that was pre-empted by Utah law. Apparently the law was passed before pre-emption, but at the time I thought it was somewhat sort-of petty that activists were angry at the City Council for the law. (Having said that, I can’t remember *precisely* how it played out, but I thought the City Council was petty for keeping it, too.)

      Your comment is a reminder why we shouldn’t consider calling for the removal of laws passed in flagrant ignoring of pre-emption to be petty. It is the city council being petty for passing such laws, or keeping them on the books!

  3. That will not stop the blue MAFIA from doing as they damn please, and getting away with it. Kentucky is, and has always been an open carry state. After they past the law allowing CC I took the three day long mandatory school on what was and was not legal in the commonwealth. Local towns and city’s cannot make gun laws of any kind. They do anyway. You cannot be stopped for having a firearm. The cops do as they please. They habitually lie and fabricate laws that do not appear in the KRS. The only state that ever changed cop attitude for the better was Indiana, when they made it LEGAL to shoot cops who came on your property without warrant and in self defense. “No Knock” raids, civil asset forfeiture and police brutality all but stopped within weeks. The use of SWAT all but ended. Now they are talking about taking away the semi-auto handguns and “patrol carbines” and issuing S&W revolvers and shotguns. With a maximum of 26 carried rounds. IMO this would be the best thing to happen in 40 years. Ending “Spray and pray” policing and Reminding the badge thugs who is really in charge.

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