Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default Important read for anyone trying to get firearms relief for mental health prohibition

    This is an important read for anyone trying to get firearms relief for a mental health prohibition in Pennsylvania. On July 1, 2019 the ATF approved section 6105 (f) (1) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code for federal firearms relief.

    This section states:

    Upon application to the court of common pleas under this subsection by an applicant subject to the prohibitions under subsection (c)(4), the court may grant such relief as it deems appropriate if the court determines that the applicant may possess a firearm without risk to the applicant or any other person.

    This means that anyone who successfully obtains state relief under this section for a mental health commitment (302, 303, 304) or adjudication of incapacity is now also eligible for federal relief. Previously, relief was only available under 18 PA CS 6111.1 (g) (2) which states:

    A person who is involuntarily committed pursuant to section 302 of the Mental Health Procedures Act may petition the court to review the sufficiency of the evidence upon which the commitment was based. If the court determines that the evidence upon which the involuntary commitment was based was insufficient, the court shall order that the record of the commitment submitted to the Pennsylvania State Police be expunged. A petition filed under this subsection shall toll the 60-day period set forth under section 6105(a)(2).

    Due to several bad pieces of case law (In re Kevin Jacobs, In Re Keyes (the most damaging one of all), In Re Vencil) relief under section 6111.1 (g) (2) was very difficult to obtain and expungements of 303 and 304 commitments were impossible.

    I'm currently 17 years old and my 302 expungement case was just filed in the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas today. Without going into too much detail, when I was 14, I was 302'd for "acting out". My lawyer is Michael P. Gottlieb (Norristown) for anyone wondering. I'd definitely recommend him for any firearms-related issues.

    I used to enjoy target shooting before the 302 happened, and I knew when I got 302'd that I'd never be able to do it again. I then began researching how I could obtain relief. I then learned about the mess that the case law mentioned above created. I've decided to be nice and not call out the attorneys by name (although the attorney who did the Keyes case has already been called out multiple times on the forum).

    I first contacted J. Michael McCormick (an attorney who does a lot of 302 expungements in Western PA) and learned what I needed to do. I then read another member's post where he said he used Michael Gottlieb for his 302 expungement and that he was based in Norristown and I looked him up and I realized I could get there on public transportation since I'm too lazy to get my driving permit. I contacted him and now I'm finally getting closer to having my gun rights restored.

    For anyone in a situation similar to mine, I wish you the best.

    Fun fact: The FBI has over 868,000 mental health record from Pennsylvania in the NICS index so far.

    I'm making a list of 302 expungement lawyers and will be posting it on the forum soon. So far some names are:
    Joshua G. Prince (sigforlife on the forum)
    Adam Kraut
    Michael P. Gottlieb
    Michael A. Giaramita
    Marc Scaringi
    J. Michael McCormick
    Philip G. Kline Jr (Gunlawyer001 on the forum)

    Just one more warning, if you file any civil lawsuit, your case will be available on the internet (I found mine on the Delaware county court website). I hope no one finds my real name and address based on the limited information I gave.
    Last edited by GeneralRaptor2002; August 16th, 2019 at 04:00 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Important read for anyone trying to get firearms relief for mental health prohibi

    Your counsel should've filed it under seal pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. 6105(f)(3), the MHPA and applicable case law, so that no one could find it or review the filings. There's probably still time to get it sealed, but you won't be able to un-ring the bell for those that already saw it.
    Joshua Prince, Esq. - Firearms Industry Consulting Group - www.PaFirearmsLawyer.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Important read for anyone trying to get firearms relief for mental health prohibi

    Good luck!
    Life has a melody.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Important read for anyone trying to get firearms relief for mental health prohibi

    Quote Originally Posted by SigForLife View Post
    Your counsel should've filed it under seal pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. 6105(f)(3), the MHPA and applicable case law, so that no one could find it or review the filings. There's probably still time to get it sealed, but you won't be able to un-ring the bell for those that already saw it.
    We filed pursuant to 6111.1 (g)(2) only due to the facts of the case. I also found a few other cases filed pursuant to 6105 (f)(1) and 6111.1 (g)(2) on the court docket search websites of the following counties:
    Delaware
    Bucks
    Montgomery
    Philadelphia
    Northampton
    A few others I can't remember (I think Erie was one) but the search system was Infocon which covers many counties but is so poorly designed that I gave up on using it.
    I tried searching in Chester County, but their court record search system costs $50 to access. Or I'd have to go to a Chester County library to access it without paying and I'm too lazy.

    You can find them by going to party search and typing in "Pennsylvania State Police" and looking for cases in which the Pennsylvania State Police was the defendant.

    In case anyone was wondering why I was researching these cases, it was to see who the lawyers handling the cases were so I could make a list of lawyers who handle 302 expungements.

    By the way Josh, my father told me he met you and Adam Kraut once (he was a doctor in Allentown and you two were the lawyers on a worker's compensation case). Small world isn't it?
    Last edited by GeneralRaptor2002; August 16th, 2019 at 06:18 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Important read for anyone trying to get firearms relief for mental health prohibi

    Also, I'm not too worried about people finding out about this case, I've already had to explain to enough people who are impressed by my knowledge of firearms about the whole 302 situation when they ask what guns I shoot. What shocks them even more is how difficult it was to get relief in the post-Keyes post-vencil pre-ATF Decision Pennsylvania. What shocks them even more than that is when I explain the defunding of the federal relief program 18 USC 925 (c). The intended effect was to "stop arming violent felons" but the unintended consequence was that people who were adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution in a state without a relief program had no way to restore their rights, while a murderer could get a pardon. While some felons who were granted relief under 925 (c) went on to commit more crimes, a study linked here https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publicatio....aspx?id=85112 also showed that some people granted PA governor's pardons went on to re-offend. In one case, a man named Reginald McFadden who had been granted a commutation of sentence by Bob Casey Sr. (the father of our senator Bob Casey Jr.) raped and murdered some women within 92 days of release.

    No system is perfect, but people need an effective remedy to restore their constitutional rights.

    I propose that we allow people to pay $3500 to have their 925(c) applications reviewed. If it's denied you can appeal (as the law says) but if you're denied because you're "likely to act dangerously in a manner to public safety", you're denied. As far as I know, very few murders have been committed by a felon who has had their rights restored. Just like the number of murders with legally owned NFA items. And yet some democrats are proposing banning suppressors for everyone!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Important read for anyone trying to get firearms relief for mental health prohibi

    Quote Originally Posted by JustinHEMI View Post
    Good luck!
    Thanks. This has been a long journey for me. But, the day where the case is filed has finally arrived. I hope within the next 3 months I get a court hearing. Just have to wait for the Pennsylvania State Police, Delaware County District Attorney (Katayoun Copeland), Crozer Chester Medical Center, and Delaware County Behavioral Health to respond to the petition.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Important read for anyone trying to get firearms relief for mental health prohibi

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneralRaptor2002 View Post
    Thanks. This has been a long journey for me. But, the day where the case is filed has finally arrived. I hope within the next 3 months I get a court hearing. Just have to wait for the Pennsylvania State Police, Delaware County District Attorney (Katayoun Copeland), Crozer Chester Medical Center, and Delaware County Behavioral Health to respond to the petition.
    Uhhh...why were any parties beyond the PSP considered respondents? The case law from the PA Supreme Court (to my own surprise) has already established that the only party that is an indispensable party to this type of action is the PSP.
    Joshua Prince, Esq. - Firearms Industry Consulting Group - www.PaFirearmsLawyer.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Important read for anyone trying to get firearms relief for mental health prohibi

    Quote Originally Posted by SigForLife View Post
    Uhhh...why were any parties beyond the PSP considered respondents? The case law from the PA Supreme Court (to my own surprise) has already established that the only party that is an indispensable party to this type of action is the PSP.
    I didn't actually know that. Literally, every case I've seen has had at least one respondent besides the Pennsylvania State Police on them. You can check the court docket search websites for yourself.
    I've been researching the 302 expungement issue for months, read tons of cases, and I've learned a lot about it but I never found that out.

    To my mother's disappointment, I want to be a lawyer (she's a lawyer). I guess mental health is an area of law I'd be good at.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Important read for anyone trying to get firearms relief for mental health prohibi

    Again, just remember, you’re relying on public cases, not on sealed cases, because obviously the public doesn’t have access to them.
    Joshua Prince, Esq. - Firearms Industry Consulting Group - www.PaFirearmsLawyer.com

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