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The City of Philadelphia recently settled a class action lawsuit concerning people who had applied for a license to carry firearms (LTCF). While the city didn’t admit to any wrongdoing, they agreed to pay $1.4 million to plaintiffs and to change their licensing procedures. The lawsuit stemmed from the City of Brotherly Love posting personal information from LTCF applications on line (actual agreement here, in a PDF file). What they’ve agreed to do going forward is revealing. First . . .

the city agreed not to post LTCF info where the public could find it. That’s expected. It’s the following actions that are more significant:

  • The city will not require references for LTCF applications. This can be a major hurdle for someone trying to obtain a carry license. Not everyone knows people who are willing to be a reference for an action the local government clearly disapproves of. It is also possible that references can be intimidated or found to be “unacceptable”.
  • The city will not require naturalization papers for citizens or legal residents who provide a passport, unless they can show reason to do so, such as irregularities in the passport. Thus, another considerable paperwork burden is eliminated.
  • The city will not deny LTCF on the basis of convictions or charges where the conviction or charge was expunged or pardoned. What good is an expungement or pardon, if you are still treated as if they did not happen?
  • The city will process applications within 45 calendar days, and notify the applicants of the decision. This is required by Pennsylvania law. I suspect that the city was not following the law previously.
  • If the application is denied, the city will refund $15 of the $20 application fee. A small thing, but it is a little less incentive for the city to deny applications, and a little less risk in applying for a license.
  • The city shall train employees not to tell applicants that they *must* disclose the possession of a LTCF permit or a firearm to police officers. Such disclosure is voluntary under Pennsylvania law.
  • The city shall train officers not to confiscate any LTCF license or legally carried firearm unless there is probable cause to believe the license or firearm is evidence of a crime. If confiscated, officers *must* provide a receipt, including information such as officer name and badge number, and serial number of the firearm being confiscated. This is a simple step that should have been followed all along. All too often, cities engage in legalized theft of firearms.
  • The city shall not require applicants to disclose if they own firearms as part of the application process.

So the city wouldn’t admit of any wrongdoing, but look at the remediation they’ve agreed to. Add up all of the above and consider the extent to which they were throwing up roadblocks to citizens exercising their right to keep and bear arms. And how far the city has fallen from the days of Benjamin Franklin. The settlement is a great step forward for Second Amendment supporters in Philadelphia.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Gun Watch

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  1. now if we can just make politicians PERSONALLY LIABLE for crap like this, it would stop

    • You know as well as I that that ain’t never gonna happen except for intentional torts for which punitive damages may be recoverable. Besides the hurdle of sovereign immunity, the duty of an employer to indemnify employees for torts committed in the course of employment, plus the fact that employees are “insureds” under the terms of liability policies (and most entities have such policies) pretty much prelude such a result except in the case of intentional torts for which punitive damages may be recoverable. Finally, who would serve in an elected office if subject to personal liability not covered by insurance? Anarchy would ensue.

  2. Good to see these changes. I just moved to Philly recently, and the reference requirement was an issue for me. The state form requires you to list two references as line items, but the city had added two full-page forms your references were supposed to fill out. These forms included listing a PA drivers license number – but being new here I don’t know anyone local yet that I’m comfortable asking to fill out the form and essentially vouch for me. I think I’ll go ahead and submit the form next week without references and see if they’ve actually adopted these new procedures.

  3. What about the gap between what they say they will do and what they really do? The Progressives have learned much from Obamacare.

    • HA! Good point! Obama learned a lot from the two dicks, Dick Daily and Dick Durbin before he exited Chicago politics.

    • Speaking of two Dick’s I should have referenced anti’s rather than progressives. My apologies to pro-gun progressives.

    • It’s now part of a court settlement as well. So, if you read what one of the attorneys on the case said, it’s much easier to get Philly back in court if it fails to live up the the terms of the settlement and end up in contempt. Judges don’t like contempt and tend to come down very hard on a party that won’t honor the court settlement. So, this is a much bigger win than people think. It was a dragon slaying that was a long time coming. My guess is that the city is going to knock off some other stuff as well since they’ll end up back in court and they’ll get spanked again – I’m talking about the open carry stuff that’s gone on there.

  4. It is about time. As I am a resident of Bucks County, getting/renewing my permit is a piece of cake. I can carry in Philly no problem, but I have always thought Philly’s rules for residents were crap. This is great news.

  5. “The city will process applications within 45 calendar days, and notify the applicants of the decision.”

    I believe NY state has a similar provision. They get around it by forcing applicants to make an appointment months ahead just to obtain and fill out the application. It’s amazing what can be done to screw with the process on the ground…

  6. The good news: The city of Philadelphia will process your LTCF properly

    The bad news: You live in the city of Philadelphia

    Friendly tourist information….drive into town in the morning, see the Liberty Bell, hopefully get the hell out of town before lunch.

  7. When is this supposed to go into affect? I live in Philadelphia since January and have yet to apply for my LTCF.

  8. Just about every year for the past couple of decades, whatever mayor that’s in office tries to carve out Philly from the rest of PA in firearms laws. So far, Harrisburg has been pretty good in slapping them down, but it’s an ongoing fight all the time. I am glad to see this settlement come about, and can only hope that the powers in charge of the city will actually do stuff the way they are SUPPOSED to by law, instead of making up their own rules as they go.

  9. My county only takes two weeks to process an LTCF and they ask for references. Then again, you are not looked on unfavorably for providing a reference.

  10. And what about the nice psychiatrist that just used his own pistol to shoot a killer in a hospital in the Philly area? Even the press doesn’t seem to be hiding it this time, calling him a hero even though the hospital prohibits him from carrying.

  11. Very nice. I hope the other counties in PA get rid of the reference requirement too. My county is very gun friendly, as is the sheriff (who gives out the LTCF immediately after you pass the background check which takes like 5 minutes), but the LTCF application form does require two references. I have heard that they don’t bother calling them, at least in my county, but still: if it’s a shall issue state (it is), then why should references be needed? What if I don’t want anyone knowing that I’ve applied for an LTCF? That’s kind of the whole point of concealed carry, that nobody who you don’t want knowing knows.

  12. So like most States with the exception of AZ they have turned a right into a taxed privilege and people think this is a good thing?

    • You used to be able to carry concealed in all states without a permit. Then, from the 1820s on, there were a number of states where you were not allowed to carry concealed…

      Then, after the War Between the States, the number of states where concealed carry was made illegal expanded enormously, mostly to keep black people disarmed.

      Another wave of repression hit in the early 1900’s where numerous states made concealed carry illegal, including New York with the infamous Sullivan law.

      By 1950, only one state protected your right to carry concealed without a permit. That was Vermont.

      In 2003, Alaska joined Vermont.

      In 2010, Arizona Joined Alaska and Vermont.

      In 2011, Wyoming joined Arizona, Alaska, and Vermont.

      In 2014, Arkansas joined Wyoming, Arizona, Alaska, and Vermont.

      There have been several states in play in the last few years. I expect more to be joining shortly.

  13. Is this effective immediately? Or is there a date on when it goes into effect? Or just a source for this info?

    • Philadelphia City Hall, the tallest masonry building in the world. The walls are enormously thick at the base. There’s so much stone in that thing that supposedly when the city considered demolishing it half a century ago they found that doing so would bankrupt the city.

  14. When I got mine a little more than a year ago, they insisted it was 45 business days. Clearly in violation of code, but they got away with it until now.

  15. They also tell you you must disclose you are carrying at any police contact, which is also inconsistent with PA law

  16. In case anyone else in Philly cares about when this goes into effect, I found this:

    Re: Philadelphia LTCF Disclosure Class Action Settlement
    The effective date will be when Judge Allen signs the final order approving the settlement. The hearing is scheduled for Oct 29th, so provided that doesn’t change, Judge Allen will hopefully issue the order approving it either on the 29th or shortly thereafter. There is 30 days for any party to appeal, so checks won’t go out to the class members until the appeal period tolls.

    And with regards to Mark Kessler, I’m not related to him and I’ve never received any money from him. I think you’re confusing me with Attorney Joseph Nahas, who has represented him in the employment and other issues.
    Joshua Prince, Esq. – Firearms Industry Consulting Group –

    Don’t rush to 990 spring garden yet….

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