BREAKING: Pennsylvania Court Issues Preliminary Injunction Against AG Shapiro’s Ban on ‘Partially Manufactured’ Receivers

fpc firearms policy coalition

Press release . . .

Today, Judge P. Kevin Brobson of Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court issued a 17-page opinion and order enjoining Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) Commissioner Colonel Robert Evanchick and his agents, servants, and officers “from implementing or enforcing PSP’s new policy addressed to partially manufactured receivers…” PSP issued and enforced the now-blocked policy after being directed to by Attorney General Josh Shapiro in an opinion issued last month. The Court’s opinion and order are available at FPCLegal.org.

Just 4 days after Shapiro’s ‘legal opinion’ was published, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) Law filed a lawsuit and sought an emergency injunction on behalf of its members and co-petitioners Landmark Firearms LLC, US Rifle LLC, and Polymer80, Inc. The petitioners were represented by attorney Joshua Prince, Chief Counsel of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., at the January 21 preliminary injunction hearing.

The “indefiniteness of PSP’s new enforcement policy on what constitutes a firearm in this Commonwealth creates the potential for arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement,” Judge Brobson explained in today’s opinon. “The public policy of this Commonwealth does not favor such vague laws.” And while there “are many ills that our society faces, and government can be an effective force in combatting them,” the “laudable intentions and policy goals of a government agency, however, cannot override limits on governmental power. Simply put, the ends cannot justify the means.”

Josh Shapiro

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

“Under the PSP’s policy, good, law-abiding people and businesses were threatened with numerous criminal and civil penalties for things that not even the State Police could define. Today, the Commonwealth Court found that the PSP’s policy violated the constitutional rights of our clients and others,” commented Prince about the ruling. “We are gratified by the Commonwealth Court’s appropriate and sound decision enjoining the Pennsylvania State Police from enforcing its new policy regarding what it refers to as ‘partially manufactured frames and receivers.’”

“Today’s order protects people from a dangerously vague interpretation of the law. As the Court pointed out, a law is void on its face if it is so vague that a person of common intelligence must guess as to its meaning,” explained FPC Director of Legal Strategy and co-counsel, Adam Kraut. “Attorney General Josh Shapiro and the PSP attempted to shoehorn a radical expansion of the law into the definition to suit a political agenda. But nowhere in the Uniform Firearms Act nor its regulations are the terms ‘frame’ or ‘receiver’ defined. We are delighted with this positive development and look forward to further litigating on behalf of the People, civil rights, and individual liberty.”

Individuals and others who wish to support the case can join FPC at JoinFPC.org or make a tax-deductible donation to Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF) at bit.ly/fpf-donate. Further information is available at JoshShapiroIsATyrant.com.

Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, especially the fundamental, individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, advance individual liberty, and restore freedom.

Firearms Policy Foundation (www.firearmsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPF’s mission is to defend the Constitution of the United States and the People’s rights, privileges, and immunities deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition, especially the inalienable, fundamental, and individual right to keep and bear arms, through research, education, legal action, and other charitable programs.

comments

  1. avatar Sam Hill says:

    Took 308 lines to say the judge said stuff it.

    1. avatar Billy says:

      Never understood why they called them briefs.

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        “Briefs” are what lawyers file with the court, and often enough, they are not. However, most courts have by rule enacted page limitations, and briefs in excess of that limit cannot be filed without leave of court. Courts file decisions and orders. There is no limit on how long or short they can be.Most are under two pages, bur there are always exceptions.

      2. avatar Sam Hill says:

        Lmao. Me neither. Briefs are what women USED to wear.

  2. avatar Sam I Am says:

    Cannot find “permanent” in the article. Is the injunction temporary, pending appeal? Is the law overturned on its face? Can the state salvage the law by word tweaking so as to retain the severity of the intent of the law?

    1. avatar TFred says:

      The application for relief specifically called for a preliminary injunction.

      See opinion here:

      https://www.firearmspolicy.org/evanchick

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “The application for relief specifically called for a preliminary injunction.”

        Thanx for the link. What we have here is a limited cease fire. Further events to be announced.

    2. avatar frank speak says:

      PA Ag’s have traditionally filed “opinions” on anything they didn’t like…sec.908..[prohibited offensive weapons]…is full of questionable decisions on many things…stun guns, for example…and rarely gets challenged…”firearms” in this state generally refers to pistols…the only item highly regulated…and registered…[illegally?]…..

      1. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

        Actually 18 PACS 908 has been challenged numerous times and there is a good deal of case law on exceptions. Virtually every type of kitchen, hunting, or novelty knife has been adjudicated as having an “other lawful purpose” under 908. Nunchucks have been adjudicated as having an “other lawful purpose” and that would seem to apply to all other common martial arts weapons as well. Pistols were adjudicated multiple times and eventually the statute was amended to exclude them, which is what you will see in the current version (subsection 3 under exceptions).

        Stun guns are exempted with some requirements on labeling or having the instructions present, which was added in 2002.

        Regarding the “purchase database” which the police refer to as a “registry” and use as a “registry”, Allegheny County Sportsman’s League and Firearm Owners Against Crime sued the state over that back in the early 2000’s. It went to the PA supreme court which ruled that it is not a registry because it is incomplete. Firearms legally acquired in other states and brought here when one moved here are not required to be entered into it. Transfers between parents and children, grandparents and grand children, and transfers between spouses do not have to be entered into it.

        Never the less it is an abomination and plenty of guns have been confiscated during routine interactions with LEOs when a firearm was either not present in the (nota)registry, or was present and associated with a different person than was currently in possession of it.

        https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/LI/consCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&ttl=18&div=0&chpt=9&sctn=8&subsctn=0

        908. Prohibited offensive weapons.

        (a) Offense defined.–A person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if, except as authorized by law, he makes repairs, sells, or otherwise deals in, uses, or possesses any offensive weapon.

        (b) Exceptions.–

        (1) It is a defense under this section for the defendant to prove by a preponderance of evidence that he possessed or dealt with the weapon solely as a curio or in a dramatic performance, or that, with the exception of a bomb, grenade or incendiary device, he complied with the National Firearms Act (26 U.S.C. § 5801 et seq.), or that he possessed it briefly in consequence of having found it or taken it from an aggressor, or under circumstances similarly negativing any intent or likelihood that the weapon would be used unlawfully.

        (2) This section does not apply to police forensic firearms experts or police forensic firearms laboratories. Also exempt from this section are forensic firearms experts or forensic firearms laboratories operating in the ordinary course of business and engaged in lawful operation who notify in writing, on an annual basis, the chief or head of any police force or police department of a city, and, elsewhere, the sheriff of a county in which they are located, of the possession, type and use of offensive weapons.

        (3) This section shall not apply to any person who makes, repairs, sells or otherwise deals in, uses or possesses any firearm for purposes not prohibited by the laws of this Commonwealth.

        (c) Definitions.–As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

        “Firearm.” Any weapon which is designed to or may readily be converted to expel any projectile by the action of an explosive or the frame or receiver of any such weapon.

        “Offensive weapons.” Any bomb, grenade, machine gun, sawed-off shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches, firearm specially made or specially adapted for concealment or silent discharge, any blackjack, sandbag, metal knuckles, dagger, knife, razor or cutting instrument, the blade of which is exposed in an automatic way by switch, push-button, spring mechanism, or otherwise, any stun gun, stun baton, taser or other electronic or electric weapon or other implement for the infliction of serious bodily injury which serves no common lawful purpose.

        (d) Exemptions.–The use and possession of blackjacks by the following persons in the course of their duties are exempt from this section:

        (1) Police officers, as defined by and who meet the requirements of the act of June 18, 1974 (P.L.359, No.120), referred to as the Municipal Police Education and Training Law.

        (2) Police officers of first class cities who have successfully completed training which is substantially equivalent to the program under the Municipal Police Education and Training Law.

        (3) Pennsylvania State Police officers.

        (4) Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs of the various counties who have satisfactorily met the requirements of the Municipal Police Education and Training Law.

        (5) Police officers employed by the Commonwealth who have satisfactorily met the requirements of the Municipal Police Education and Training Law.

        (6) Deputy sheriffs with adequate training as determined by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

        (7) Liquor Control Board agents who have satisfactorily met the requirements of the Municipal Police Education and Training Law.

        (Dec. 20, 1983, P.L.291, No.78, eff. imd.; July 6, 1984, P.L.647, No.134, eff. 90 days; July 11, 1985, P.L.235, No.58, eff. 60 days; Oct. 4, 1994, P.L.571, No.84, eff. 60 days; Nov. 6, 2002, P.L.1096, No.132, eff. 60 days)

        2002 Amendment. Act 132 amended subsec. (c).

        References in Text. The act of June 18, 1974 (P.L.359, No.120), referred to as the Municipal Police Education and Training Law, referred to in subsection (d)(1), was repealed by the act of December 19, 1996 (P.L.1158, No.177). The subject matter is now contained in Subchapter D of Chapter 21 of Title 53 (Municipalities Generally).

        Cross References. Section 908 is referred to in section 6105 of this title; section 3304 of Title 5 (Athletics and Sports).

        908.1. Use or possession of electric or electronic incapacitation device.

        (a) Offense defined.–Except as set forth in subsection (b), a person commits an offense if the person does any of the following:

        (1) Uses an electric or electronic incapacitation device on another person for an unlawful purpose.

        (2) Possesses, with intent to violate paragraph (1), an electric or electronic incapacitation device.

        (b) Self defense.–A person may possess and use an electric or electronic incapacitation device in the exercise of reasonable force in defense of the person or the person’s property pursuant to Chapter 5 (relating to general principles of justification) if the electric or electronic incapacitation device is labeled with or accompanied by clearly written instructions as to its use and the damages involved in its use.

        (c) Prohibited possession.–No person prohibited from possessing a firearm pursuant to section 6105 (relating to persons not to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms) may possess or use an electric or electronic incapacitation device.

        (d) Grading.–An offense under subsection (a) shall constitute a felony of the second degree if the actor acted with the intent to commit a felony. Otherwise any offense under this section is graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree.

        (e) Exceptions.–Nothing in this section shall prohibit the possession or use by, or the sale or furnishing of any electric or electronic incapacitation device to, a law enforcement agency, peace officer, employee of a correctional institution, county jail or prison or detention center, the National Guard or reserves or a member of the National Guard or reserves for use in their official duties.

        (f) Definition.–As used in this section, the term “electric or electronic incapacitation device” means a portable device which is designed or intended by the manufacturer to be used, offensively or defensively, to temporarily immobilize or incapacitate persons by means of electric pulse or current, including devices operating by means of carbon dioxide propellant. The term does not include cattle prods, electric fences or other electric devices when used in agricultural, animal husbandry or food production activities.

        (Nov. 6, 2002, P.L.1096, No.132, eff. 60 days)

        2002 Amendment. Act 132 added section 908.1.

  3. avatar P-T-M says:

    Excellent!

  4. avatar TFred says:

    I couldn’t find the information by browsing the web page, but Google popped out the deep link here:

    https://www.firearmspolicy.org/evanchick

  5. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    Can’t find a path to upend freedom and liberty, build,build and build away.

  6. avatar JP Ruiz says:

    I thought that this case was in one of the Federal District Courts overseeing PA, as this 80% lower issue revolves around Federal Law.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      It doesn’t revolve around federal law. PA can define a firearm however it wishes. Well, apparently they can’t, but a state can generally do so even though they often follow federal guidelines.

      NJ includes airguns (think pellet rifles) in the same laws as regular modern rifles.

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        The attorney general of the State of Pa cannot pass laws, only enforce them. What this stooge did was to “re-interpret the statute to fit his political persuasion. The AG does not get to expand the law.

  7. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

    I still think a 79% lower would be a good thing moving forward.

    1. avatar Sam Hill says:

      I’m all for diy, but 99.9% is more my speed. If you got to play semantics with the law, go for broke.

      1. avatar barnbwt says:

        How about “receivers don’t fire bullets, and therefore cannot be firearms?”

        1. avatar Sam Hill says:

          I like that a lot. Pretty much self-explanatory receive-r not sender. How could any half way
          intelligent short bus rider confuse it with a firearm, even an ATF third grade drop out should be able to distinguish the difference between the two

        2. avatar Hannibal and the Elephants says:

          BATF already crashed that party and made receivers firearms. In the process BATF also muddled up the definition of a receiver. So, eg., strictly reading BATF, an AR lower receiver is not a firearm since, for example it does not contain the bolt. PSP is just trying to one up BATF on the definition of firearm so that NICS would not be applicable and another (PA) background check process would need to apply.

        3. avatar Anymouse says:

          It’s a stupid argument. A car can’t drive without wheels, so if I take the wheels off a Ferrari, it’s not longer a car?
          The Roh case didn’t yield a final opinion, so there’s no precedent. I haven’t seen Judge Selna’s preliminary decision, but it seems wrong. Even if there was a verdict, it would be limited to CA Central District and would eventually be overturned on appeal. An AR lower 1) houses the hammer, and 2) firing mechanism (trigger, sear, springs). Those are the 2 mandatory parts of the regulation. The only ambiguity of the regulation is what make up a firing mechanism.
          This isn’t the Achilles Heel of gun regs. The BATFE could rewrite it to remove ambiguity. Unfortunately, we probably wouldn’t like the results. They could require both the upper and lower to be serialized and married such that they must be sold together and can’t be legally interchanged.
          The more interesting part of the case is what construes manufacturing. Can I purchase an unfinished part and contract someone the perform the finishing machining on it? If an employee mounts your part in a jig, sets up the tooling, loads the program, and leaves you to turn on the machine, are you the one who manufactured it? Did your son make his school project if you did everything except write his name on it? Where is the line? What if you mount the part in the jig, but an employee does a pass/fail check for safety before you turn it on? What if they teach a class with demonstrations and provide setup tools, but you do all the steps with minimal supervision?

  8. avatar guy says:

    Dude! That’s fantastic but everyone write your representatives about the RGGI tax. Its gonna kill coal in Pa and then Ohio and West Virginia will just take all the money we could’ve been receiving. I’m a Boilermaker 30 years old with a wife and two sons if you dont think this is gonna hurt all Pennsylvanians your crazy. Help me get back to work so I can afford some 80% lowers lol.

    1. avatar Sam Hill says:

      To guy:
      Retired NTM, Local 374 Hammond, IN. Word of advice from an old fart. Put in as many hours as you can, your pension will thank you later in life. I helped build a storage tank at Charmin Paper Co. In Mehoopany, Pa. Hope it still standing. Good fortune to you and yours.

      1. avatar guy says:

        Thanks Mr.Hill for paving the way for younger guys like me to get into boilermaking I appreciate it. I haven’t turned down a job yet dont intend to either.

        1. avatar Sam Hill says:

          You are entirely welcome. Sounds like you might be in the apprentice program, if so, don’t let them ol’salts rag on you too much, and hang in there. If you’re already a journeyman, good work. Welding is the way I went. Meant I worked more, but bullgangers and fitters is where our local drew the most pushers and GF’s. Good luck.

      2. avatar guy says:

        Yea 1st year brand new to stick, but I migged for 6 years Truck Bodies and Trailers. I built dump truck beds from 8′ one tons to euc bodies, mine boxes, and vacuum tanks that you mount in a chassis. I’m in the 154.

        1. avatar Sam Hill says:

          Sounds like you got it going for you, that’s great. Last word of advice and this goes for now and after you graduate. Save as best you can and when work dries up, and it will, from time to time, always get a withdrawal card. Keeps you in good sted if you have to go out for another craft. Or take a short order cook job just for beans. Chicken today, feathers tomorrow.

  9. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    I live in Pa and this schmuck was getting a bit too big for his britches thinking he could make law as well as enforce it! Far too many state’s AGs are starting to think that way. Legislatures should tell them to kiss off and effect a couple of removals from office. A recent previous did that on her own, getting convicted of a felony.

    1. avatar Huntmaster says:

      ^This. For State legislators also.

  10. avatar davida says:

    exactly stops legislators from being arrested for failure to up hold there oaths of office?

    when the bank is being robbed and the guard gets the jump on him .. since when is the attempt just let slide by saying ‘i’ll drop the bills …” THE ATTEMPT is the offense . the time has come to arrest gun grabbers (every cosigner and person who voted for said bills ) for failure to uphold oath of office to defend the constitution. arrest them , charge them , strip there retirements pay s from office , heavily fine them , and BAN from ever holding any office again. domestic treason is serious stuff. and note the following as standing law since 1803 ;see my profile post ‘law of the land ” pic . this should happen ASAP of the vote .

    the above is reasonably justified for even proposing the bills that have bin written up all ready that they wish to pass. the reason so many county’s have adopted gun sanctuary status is evident the bills ARE clearly unconstitutional. and an attack on self defense freedom. Arresting them is the safest way to deal with this threat right NOW. no need to do much more then arrest them for now, and let supreme court deal with them . the charges have to have a chance to stick.

    get the cops , national guard ect ready to go NOW…

    MAKE every legislator physically resist a lawful arrest for cause.

    1. avatar Sam Hill says:

      That’s really an absolutely fine idea. The problem comes from the reality of the fact law enforcement officials take a similar oath and reality comes from them not going around arresting one another. Cops do pick the laws they choose to enforce, irrespective of what they blithely claim on the side of the road and in the courtroom. They lie as much as any human and all politicians.

  11. avatar JIM ABRAHAM says:

    Josh Prince is a fantastic attorney.

  12. avatar Anymouse says:

    This is why FPC gets my donations instead of the NRA, which seems to be more worried about providing jobs and perks for the current leadership.

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