Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default LTCF Fees in Morning Call

    http://www.mcall.com/news/local/alle...,4297837.story

    One of our own is working on this, and now it is in the paper. I will not name a name unless he wants to come forth himself, but I was in Gary Day's office while this was being discussed. I take no credit for myself beyond being there. Politics in action and all that. Congratulations to our member and kudos for all the hard work he has done.

    Lehigh County officials are scrambling to figure out if Sheriff Ron Rossi's office has been illegally overcharging gun owners for licenses to carry concealed firearms.
    The sheriff's office sent legislation to the county commissioners this week asking for the fee to be increased from $25 — the amount set by state law — to $38. While other counties also charge more than $25 for such licenses, Rossi's staff began charging the higher fee years ago without legislative approval, spurring a slew of questions and criticism at this week's commissioners' meeting.
    Commissioner Andy Roman said the county may have "a serious issue here" and called for an audit of the program as well as a legal review to see if people who've paid $38 for the licenses are entitled to $13 refunds.
    More than 300 people apply for concealed-carry licenses in Lehigh County each month, officials said, meaning around $50,000 collected per year could be in question. The commissioners didn't vote on Rossi's fee request this week and are expected to discuss the matter more next month.
    Rossi wasn't at Wednesday night's meeting and did not return calls for comment Thursday.
    He did speak to The Morning Call on Tuesday in advance of the meeting, saying his office began charging the higher fee in large part to cover the costs of equipment that produces a hard-plastic version of the firearms license, which can also come in a less durable paper version. He also said applicants can opt for the less expensive paper license if they don't want to pay the extra $13.
    But the written application instructions given by the sheriff's office say nothing about the less expensive option.
    "The completed application must be returned by the applicant personally to the sheriff's office with the appropriate fee of $38.00," the instructions say. That line is capitalized, underlined and in bold text in the instructions. The instructions also say the "concealed-weapons permit is a plastic card" and don't refer to a paper version.
    And Stanley Bialecki, a Bethlehem resident who attended Wednesday's commissioners meeting, said he received a hard-plastic concealed-carry license from the sheriff's office in 2005 and paid the higher rate. He said no one there told him he had the option of paying only $25.
    Bialecki said he didn't have a problem with the higher fee.
    "I do have a problem with it not being done in compliance with the law," he said. "It's the sheriff's department, for God's sake."
    Pennsylvania's Uniform Firearms Act gives county sheriffs the responsibility for handling concealed firearms licenses in most areas, including the Lehigh Valley. That law also sets the fee for such permits at $25 and says anyone "who sells or attempts to sell a license to carry a firearm for a fee in excess of the amounts fixed under this subsection" could be charged with a summary offense.
    Rossi isn't the only sheriff whose office charges more. Many charge more than the state-mandated fee to cover the costs of a hard-plastic license. Northampton County, for instance, charges $35 for a concealed-carry license.
    Bob Merski, the Erie County sheriff and acting director of the Pennsylvania Sheriffs' Association, said his office in northwestern Pennsylvania charges as much as $26 for a license. Applicants there are given the option of a $25 paper license, he said, but are told they can get a hard-plastic version for the extra $1.
    He said almost every applicant wants the more durable plastic version, which stands a better chance of remaining intact for the five years such licenses are valid.
    "A lot of sheriffs across the commonwealth have never had anybody ask for a paper product," Merski said. "They all ask for the plastic card."
    He declined to comment on the fact at least some Lehigh County applicants aren't told they could pay less than $38.
    "That would be a question that the sheriff there would have to answer," he said.
    Christie Caywood, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association, said her organization hasn't received specific complaints about Lehigh County, but its members are concerned about the fees sheriffs charge for concealed-carry licenses.
    "There are always concerns that local authorities may arbitrarily raise the prices, or do so with little warning to gun owners in the community," she wrote in an e-mail. "Low-income families are the ones who feel the greatest impact when any fee changes, and we hope that as the sheriff moves forward with making a formal policy, he will keep these concerns in mind.

    State Rep. Gary Day, a Republican who represents parts of Lehigh and Berks counties, said a constituent complained to him about the $38 fee at Rossi's office. He's been pressing Rossi for answers about the fee since then.
    "This is a big issue to me because it's pretty clear in state statute," he said. "When I found out it was one of my counties, I wanted to work with our sheriff to just get it right, and then I found out that it was across multiple counties."
    Day said sheriffs shouldn't need to charge more than $25 to pay for hard-plastic licenses in part because part of the state-mandated fee is supposed to be set aside to pay for new equipment and other steps to modernize the process.
    He said he thinks Rossi may have received incorrect advice about what his office is allowed to charge for concealed firearms permits, and that the sheriff will give up on the $38 fee.
    "It is a transition period, and I want to recognize that, but it's clear that it should always have been a $25 fee and not higher," Day said. "My goal is to get the policy right. … I'm hoping that he changes the policy, and I would be happy with that."
    Last edited by PennsyPlinker; June 25th, 2010 at 09:22 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: LTCF Fees in Morning Call

    One person can make the differance and be that guy or that gal all you have to do is decide to be the one that takes direct action.

    After all these public offices exist for OUR benefit and enjoyment not the other way around, they work for US we just need to remind them of that from time to time. People that work for US in government have to obey the rule of law as well.

    What is lacking is our willingness to hold them FULLY accountable for their actions.


    Here is the better question to ask

    Who is going to repay all the Citizens that ripped off by this practice of overcharging for LTCF permits?

    If this was a private company doing the same thing, someone would be going to jail IF FULL restitution was not made to everyone that was ripped off for over charging for services not given.

    WHY are not they going to be held fully accountable for their illegal actions or at least not be forced to make it right?


  3. #3
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    Default Re: LTCF Fees in Morning Call

    GREAT WORK GUYS!!!!!!!
    THANK YOU!!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: LTCF Fees in Morning Call

    Quote Originally Posted by WhiteFeather View Post
    One person can make the differance and be that guy or that gal all you have to do is decide to be the one that takes direct action.

    After all these public offices exist for OUR benefit and enjoyment not the other way around, they work for US we just need to remind them of that from time to time. People that work for US in government have to obey the rule of law as well.

    What is lacking is our willingness to hold them FULLY accountable for their actions.


    Here is the better question to ask

    Who is going to repay all the Citizens that ripped off by this practice of overcharging for LTCF permits?

    If this was a private company doing the same thing, someone would be going to jail IF FULL restitution was not made to everyone that was ripped off for over charging for services not given.

    WHY are not they going to be held fully accountable for their illegal actions or at least not be forced to make it right?

    and NOW I know why Bucks County sheriff only accepts CASH.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: LTCF Fees in Morning Call

    Quote Originally Posted by mrjam2jab View Post
    and NOW I know why Bucks County sheriff only accepts CASH.
    No paper trail!!!!!!!!!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: LTCF Fees in Morning Call

    I'm so glad you posted this. Although I'm from Monroe County, this bureaucratic bull effects all of us. I just finished reading the Morning Call article and was going to post on the forum, the web address for this article and decided to check here first. Nice job! I hope Rossi, a former traffic safety trooper, get his head handed on a platter. He has a "Holier than Thou" attitude and I wish I could find a copy of a letter he was sent, by the Lehigh County District Attorney a few years back...had to do with Rossi telling Lehigh County Police Departments what to do with LTC's. Rossi was wrong. I'd like to see the county refund the overcharges...and with interest.

    http://www.mcall.com/news/local/alle...,4297837.story

  7. #7
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    Default Re: LTCF Fees in Morning Call

    A new development in today's paper...

    I tried, but could not avoid reading the comments that follow the article. When I read some of the attitudes espoused by alleged fellow gun owners, it is no wonder we have to fight so hard to retain our basic rights.

    http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/m...,5630482.story

    Lehigh County's sheriff, facing questions over whether he's been illegally overcharging people for licenses to carry concealed firearms, will drop the fee while officials investigate the matter, a county spokesman said Friday.

    Sheriff Ron Rossi's office has been charging $38 for hard-plastic versions of the licenses, even though state law sets the fee for the permits at $25.

    Rossi said his office charged more for the plastic versions to cover the extra costs of producing them, but that people could still receive paper licenses for $25.

    The written applications for the licenses don't list the lower fee as an option, though.

    Rossi did not return a call for comment Friday, but county spokesman Frank Kane said the sheriff has agreed to immediately start charging $25 for all licenses, whether they're paper or plastic.

    Kane said the county's legal department is also investigating to see whether the sheriff's office violated any laws by charging $38. If the probe determines that the higher charge was illegal, the county could then decide whether to offer refunds to people who paid the extra $13.

    "Both of those questions will be addressed," Kane said.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: LTCF Fees in Morning Call

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredGoon View Post
    No paper trail!!!!!!!!!
    Lancaster asks for cash, too... $25 and they give you a receipt.

    Who hands over cash to anyone without asking for a receipt?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: LTCF Fees in Morning Call

    Charging $13 extra to cover the cost of the plastic license is complete bs. The cards themselves are about 5 cents each. The machines used to print the card can be bought for less than $2000, probably closer to $1000. The cost to produce one of the cards is most likely not even $1.



  10. #10
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    Default Re: LTCF Fees in Morning Call

    Chester County asks for cash or money order. I gave them money orders for myself and my wife. I figured this way, I have a receipt, AND they have to work a little by having to cash that money order if they want to get paid.

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