Major Pennsylvania Firearm Law Cases from 2017


As the year is coming to a close, I thought it important to document some of the monumental court decisions and issues that Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®), a division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., was involved in or obtained in 2017.

  1. Franklin v. Sessions, et al. – in a monumental federal case of first impression, Judge Kim Gibson of the Western District of Pennsylvania ruled that an involuntary commitment under Section 302 of Pennsylvania’s Mental Health and Procedures Act (“MHPA”) is insufficient to trigger a federal firearms and ammunition disability under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4).
  2. Keyes v. Sessions, et al., – in another federal case of monumental importance, Judge John Jones of the Middle District of Pennsylvania held that it was unconstitutional, under a Second Amendment as-applied challenge, to strip Mr. Keyes of his right to keep and bear arms in perpetuity as a result of a single, isolated involuntary commitment. Additionally, in the beginning of 2017, Mr. Keyes’ co-plaintiff, Mr. Yox, learned that the new Administration declined to appeal his grant of relief and withdrew the protective appeal that had been filed in relation to Judge Jones’ grant of his Second Amendment as-applied challenge.
  3. Commonwealth v. Goslin – in another case of significant importance, the Superior Court, en banc, held that an individual may claim the defense of “other lawful purpose” when possessing a weapon on school property. As a result, Attorney Prince did an extensive article on the impact of this decision.
  4. Commonwealth v. Hicks – Attorney Prince filed an Amici Curiae brief before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on behalf of members of the General Assembly, Firearms Owners Against Crime, Firearms Policy Coalition and Firearms Policy Foundation in relation to whether the mere open or concealed carrying of a firearm constitutes reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
  5. Firearms Owners Against Crime, et al. v. Lower Merion Township – after a December 2016 ruling by the Commonwealth Court that Lower Merion Township was precluded from regulating possession and discharge of firearms in their parks, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declined Lower Merion Township’s request for review of the decision.  We also found out that the taxpayer in Lower Merion have paid more than $30,000 in relation to this litigation.
  6. While not a case in and of itself (although related to the settlement of the class action of John Doe, et al. v. City of Philadelphia, et al.), we found out that the City of Philadelphia was generally making decisions on licenses to carry firearms in under 30 days!
  7. We also saw Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman issue a letter regarding firearm and ammunition preemption to all law enforcement agencies in Lancaster County.
  8. We also saw ATF (again) change its position on firearm braces and begin the process of entering into rulemaking regarding bumpstocks.

So what can we expect for next year?

  1. A decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Commonwealth v. Hicks.
  2. ATF to enter into rulemaking regarding bumpstocks.
  3. Hopefully, the enactment of H.R. 38 -Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017.

If you or someone you know has had their right to keep and bear arms infringed, contact Firearms Industry Consulting Group today to discuss YOUR rights and legal options.


Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®) is a registered trademark and division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., with rights and permissions granted to Prince Law Offices, P.C. to use in this article.

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