FPC Statement on Status of Right-To-Carry Lawsuit Against Philadelphia, Police Commissioner Outlaw, and PSP Commissioner Evanchick

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PHILADELPHIA (December 8, 2020) — Today, counsel for Firearms Policy Coalition and four individual Philadelphia residents attended two telephonic status conferences to discuss the pending motion for preliminary injunction in the case of Fetsurka v. Outlaw, a case challenging the ban on handgun carry imposed by the laws and policies of defendants City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, and Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Colonel Robert Evanchick. The case and motion can be found at firearmspolicy.org/philadelphia.

In response to FPC’s federal Second Amendment lawsuit and motion, the Philadelphia defendants purportedly reopened their Gun Permit Unit and began accepting applications electronically, one of the demands FPC made of those defendants in its motion and proposed order. FPC’s motion explicitly requested a number of orders, including one requiring the Philadelphia Defendants to provide “at least one Internet-based alternative means of accepting and processing applications for licenses to carry firearms, such as but not limited to e-mail,” for the carry license application process. 

“We are pleased to see that this important case has already forced the City to make historically significant changes, and FPC will continue to litigate against the City in this and other cases until all law-abiding individuals can exercise their fundamental, individual right to bear arms in Philadelphia,” said FPC Director of Legal Strategy Adam Kraut. 



The Court has set another status conference for this coming Friday, December 11, 2020. Much is left to be resolved in the case, which claims that the Philadelphia Defendants have engaged in the enforcement of unconstitutional laws, policies, and practices for some time, and indeed reflect systemic constitutional infirmities, that may require our counsel to undertake extensive discovery before summary judgment or trial. As a reminder, the Fetsurka plaintiffs seek in the operative complaint:

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  • A declaratory judgment that Defendants’ laws, regulations, policies, enforcement practices, and actions individually and/or collectively prevent Plaintiffs, Plaintiff FPC’s members and supporters, and similarly situated individuals who are not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights, from carrying loaded, operable firearms in public on their person and in their motor vehicles, for all lawful purposes including self-defense, and thus violate the right to keep and bear arms protected under Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution;
  • An order temporarily, preliminary, and permanently restraining and enjoining Defendants and their officers, agents, servants, employees, all persons in concert or participation with them, and all who have notice of the injunction, from enforcing Defendants’ laws, regulations, policies, enforcement practices, and actions that individually and/or collectively prevent Plaintiffs, Plaintiff FPC’s members and supporters, and similarly situated individuals who are not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights, from carrying loaded, operable firearms in public on their person and in their motor vehicles, for all lawful purposes including self-defense;
  • A declaratory judgment that Philadelphia Defendants’ policies and practices of treating constitutionally necessary firearm-related services as “nonessential” or “second class” to other City of Philadelphia services are unconstitutional under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution; 
  • An order temporarily, preliminary, and permanently restraining and enjoining Philadelphia Defendants’ policies and practices of treating constitutionally necessary firearm-related services as “non-essential” or “second class” to other City of Philadelphia services;
  • An order requiring Philadelphia Defendants and their respective units, employees, officers, and agents, and all those with such powers delegated to them, to: 1) provide one mail or courier-based LTCF application submission and license issuance alternative; 2) provide one or more electronic alternative means for the submission and processing of LTCF applications; 3) provide a waiver or one or more alternative means for payments of LTCF application fees; 4) cease requiring paper, in-person only LTCF applications, interviews, and materials and information not required to determine if an applicant is “disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights,” as the Supreme Court defined in Heller; 5) accept and timely process applications for a LTCF in a manner commensurate with the fundamental right at stake; 6) provide their GPU with the funding, personnel, and/or resources necessary to support the demand for their constitutionally required services; and, 7) immediately issue a LTCF to Plaintiffs Fetsurka, Sieck, Defina, and Scott, and to similarly situated members of Plaintiff FPC and the public, upon their submission of an application as soon as they are confirmed by Defendant Evanchick’s E-PICS online system as not “disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights,” as the Supreme Court has defined in Heller; 
  • Nominal damages against Defendant Outlaw; and,
  • All other and further legal and equitable relief, including injunctive relief, against Defendants as necessary to effectuate the Court’s judgment, and/or as the Court otherwise deems just and equitable; and, h) Attorney’s fees and costs pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988 and any other applicable law.

As the Supreme Court made clear in its recent orders in the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York case, given the nature of the claims, including the prayer for damages, the case is hardly moot, and it appears far from over. FPC looks forward to vindicating the rights of these plaintiffs and restoring the Second Amendment in Philadelphia and throughout the United States.

Firearms Policy Coalition and its FPC Law team are the nation’s next-generation advocates leading the Second Amendment litigation and research space, having recently filed several major federal Second Amendment lawsuits including challenges to the State of Maryland’s ban on “assault weapons” (Bianchi v. Frosh), the State of Pennsylvania’s and Allegheny County’s carry restrictions (Cowey v. Mullen), Philadelphia’s Gun Permit Unit policies and practices (Fetsurka v. Outlaw), Pennsylvania’s ban on carry by adults under 21 years of age (Lara v. Evanchick), California’s Handgun Ban and “Roster” laws (Renna v. Becerra), Maryland’s carry ban (Call v. Jones), New Jersey’s carry ban (Bennett v. Davis), New York City’s carry ban (Greco v. New York City), the federal ban on the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition by federal firearm licensees (FFLs) to adults under 21 years of age (Reese v. BATFE), and others, with many more cases being prepared today. To follow these and other legal cases FPC is actively working on, visit the Legal Action section of FPC’s website or follow FPC on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.

The Fetsurka case is another important lawsuit filed as part of FPC’s comprehensive strategy to defend freedom, advance individual liberty, and restore the Constitution and its guarantees for individuals throughout the United States. Individuals who wish to support the lawsuit can do so at JoinFPC.org and www.firearmspolicy.org/philadelphia.

NOTICE — POTENTIAL PLAINTIFFS NEEDED!

FPC is urgently seeking individual and FFL plaintiffs for a number of lawsuits that are being prepared to challenge laws and policies that infringe on fundamental rights, including (but not limited to):

  • Laws and policies that prevent individuals from purchasing and/or possessing so-called “assault weapons” (semi-automatic firearms with standard characteristics) and “high-capacity” magazines (standard magazines that hold more than 10 rounds)
  • Laws and policies that prevent 18-20-year-old young adults (under age 21) from obtaining handguns from FFLs and carry loaded, operable arms in public for self-defense
  • Laws and policies that prevent individual adults (over the age of 18) from carrying loaded handguns and other arms outside of their home
  • Laws and policies that prevent individuals from acquiring and/or possessing handguns and other arms without first acquiring a “purchase permit” 
  • Laws and policies that prevent individuals from acquiring or possessing firearms due to a conviction for a non-violent crime, or mental health adjudication that did not involve an involuntary commitment  
  • Laws that prevent honorably discharged veterans from acquiring or possessing firearms because they have been classified as “a mental defective” due to the agency’s determination that they “lack the mental capacity to contract or manage his or her own affairs” because they need assistance managing VA benefits and have a fiduciary

If someone you know meets the criteria above, or if you would be interested in participating in litigation as a supporting FFL, please contact us:

If you would like to support FPC’s Fetsurka case and many other pro-Second Amendment lawsuits, legal action, and research, please chip in $5, $10, $25, or whatever you can at https://www.firearmspolicy.org/donate or Join the FPC Grassroots Army at JoinFPC.org.

Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend constitutional rights—especially the right to keep and bear arms—advance individual liberty, and restore freedom through litigation and legal action, legislative and regulatory action, education, outreach, grassroots activism, other programs. FPC Law is the nation’s largest public interest legal team focused on Second Amendment and adjacent fundamental rights including freedom of speech and due process, conducting litigation, research, scholarly publications, and amicus briefing, among other efforts.

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