Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default 302 Moving To Another State Legality?

    Hello, I am a 22 year old Pennsylvanian who is a victim of our egregious 302 laws.

    For those who are unfamiliar with these laws, a 302 in Pennsylvania is a form of "involuntary commitment" to a mental institution that permanently bars a person from owning firearms for their entire life. In my case, and many others, this happens without any form of due process, and essentially allows a single doctor to permanently strip you of your rights. It's not at all uncommon for this to happen to teens as young as 14 years old. (In my case, 17 years old.) I've seen estimates that there are possibly over 100,000 Pennsylvanians who are also the victims of these laws, so this is not a small problem in the slightest. The expungement process is not particularly easy, nor cheap, and there are likely no more than 10 lawyers in the state who are truly knowledgeable about this area of law.

    Personally, my options to fight this are extremely limited. To make matters worse, there was a ruling earlier this year that essentially gives those committed via 302 a 6-year statute of limitation to get it expunged. Otherwise, it's there forever.

    6-year stature of limitation ruling: https://www.scaringilaw.com/blog/202...h-commitment-/

    Because my commitment happened in 2015, I have 1 year to seek expungement. Considering I'm 22 and just trying to get my adult life together. I simply won't have the money this year for that. That being said, I have no choice but to rest my hopes on either a relief from disabilities petition, or moving to another state, because it was ruled that a 302 isn't a disqualifier under federal law.

    Relief from disabilities info: https://www.pennlago.com/restoring-y...02-commitment/

    302 not a disqualifier under federal law: https://blog.princelaw.com/2019/08/0...%20ammunition.

    TL;DR: What I am wondering is if anybody else with a 302 on their record has any experience moving to another state and owning firearms? What steps would need to be taken? I'm definitely planning on speaking with an experienced lawyer before making any major life decisions, but wanted to check to see if anyone else was able to chime in beforehand. I'm assuming that this is somewhat uncharted territory though. Also, if any of my information seems incorrect or I'm missing any other possible routes I could go with this, I'd really appreciate the info. I look forward to hopefully getting some answers though. Thank you.


    P.S. Don't take anything I said in here as any sort of legal advice. I'm not a lawyer, and it's possible that I'm misinterpreting these rulings. If you believe you were 302'd, speak with a lawyer if you don't want to end up in prison.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 302 Moving To Another State Legality?

    Look up Phil Kline. He is here on the forum as Gunlawyer001
    Aggies Coach Really ??? Take off the tin foil bro.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 302 Moving To Another State Legality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daycrawler View Post
    Look up Phil Kline. He is here on the forum as Gunlawyer001
    I tried sending him an email and haven't gotten a response yet. Maybe he'll see this post.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 302 Moving To Another State Legality?

    The 302 follows you everywhere you go since all the states are linked up with health records. That happened a while ago to prevent someone with a 302 from going to another state, they'll still show it in the system and it will disqualify you. You need to get a lawyer and file to be declared legally competent to own and possess a firearm again. They will trigger the second part of the article you listed from Joshua Princes article which I recommend.

    Keep in mind the complexity and how involved yours may be. I had the unfortunate timing of doing mine years and years ago, started the process in 2015. That law didn't exist at the time, after multiple appeals it went through the local court, the superior court and up to the supreme court. I'm now in an internal limbo partial thanks to Covid while it has been sent back to the lower court to update a few things.

    I literally have a paper from 5+ years ago that has everything I need to end the bs but the PSP just dicks around. I've spent close to $30k over the last 5+ years and I'm stuck again waiting for someone to pull their head out of their ass to sign some forms to make it officially. It's an incredibly frustrating process and asinine to see how the legal system works.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 302 Moving To Another State Legality?

    Quote Originally Posted by widgetman101 View Post
    The 302 follows you everywhere you go since all the states are linked up with health records. That happened a while ago to prevent someone with a 302 from going to another state, they'll still show it in the system and it will disqualify you. You need to get a lawyer and file to be declared legally competent to own and possess a firearm again. They will trigger the second part of the article you listed from Joshua Princes article which I recommend.

    Keep in mind the complexity and how involved yours may be. I had the unfortunate timing of doing mine years and years ago, started the process in 2015. That law didn't exist at the time, after multiple appeals it went through the local court, the superior court and up to the supreme court. I'm now in an internal limbo partial thanks to Covid while it has been sent back to the lower court to update a few things.

    I literally have a paper from 5+ years ago that has everything I need to end the bs but the PSP just dicks around. I've spent close to $30k over the last 5+ years and I'm stuck again waiting for someone to pull their head out of their ass to sign some forms to make it officially. It's an incredibly frustrating process and asinine to see how the legal system works.
    That's really unfortunate. It's completely against common sense that something that was ruled "not a disqualifier under federal law" would follow you around the country. It shouldn't be much of surprise though considering half our legal system isn't "common sense". I've read your posts before on here widgetman, and your situation is one of the most unfortunate and a reason I'm so discouraged about this. I'm 22, and at my age, even a $2,000 legal bill will drastically change my life. $30,000 is absolutely impossible. I suppose the only thing to do now is forget about guns, save up money, and try again in a couple of years when I can afford it... Assuming there is no statute of limitations if I go for the relief from firearm disability route. As it stands now, expungement won't be happening. I have a year to do it, due to the statute of limitations and I can't empty my entire savings into this.

    I saw a statistic somewhere that the state police have over 800,000 mental health related entries in the PICS database. Some of those are for the same person multiple times, but however you slice it, that's absurd. We need a politician who will say something. Unfortunately, they're afraid of people accusing them of "giving guns to crazy people".

    All people like us are asking for is a reasonable process to show that we're normal people... Normal people who perhaps a doctor or police officer caught at our worst moment. It's incredibly sad that unless I have the means to shell out thousands of dollars, I'm considered a criminal if I want to teach my future children how to hunt or safely handle guns... All because I was going through a rough time when I was a teenager and maybe said a few sentences that I didn't mean... Disgusting.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 302 Moving To Another State Legality?

    Yeah it sucks and it's something I've been dealing with for what seems like forever now. It's just that much more annoying now considering all the riots and things going on with no way to really protect my family if things go from bad to worse.

    Keep in mind I'm probably in that exception group that really drove the costs up. In the start it was I think a $100 consultation fee and then I believe an initial $500 retainer to gather the required documents etc and file. Once it came time for the court date to be set etc I believe I had a new retainer of $3,000 that should have covered everything.

    The original verdict didn't go my way so we appealed it then won the appeal. The irony is if I didn't appeal and left the original verdict I'd be legal to own and buy a gun right now. However, at the time that law didn't exist so I basically had to seek expungement. We appealed the original verdict which added around $1,000 then ended up winning the appeal.

    The PSP dicked around till the 29th day to announce they were appealing the new verdict. That's where the money starts to add up quick once the appeal started and you move into the higher court. You have to compile brand new documents then wait for the judges to rule and file other documents/details. There were other rulings that helped our case while mine was underway that ultimately played a factor as well, it's JMY vs something can't remember off the top of my head the full case.

    After they ruled instead of letting the updates on vacation go back to the local court the PSP appealed again to the Supreme Court. That took over a year to hear anything on and then earlier this year it was getting sent back to the local court. The kicker is the Supreme Court notes literally everything related to the change in law and that my original order has all that already covered. You think the PSP would just consider the matter moot? Nah, they'll waste as much time as possible and run this out as far as they can. With Covid the courts are backed up as I was originally hoping they'd have it re-submitted to complete by fall so I could hunt with a gun for the first time in a long time.

    That's looking like it's less and less of a reality and if I don't get this fixed by election season if Biden gets in once this is all said and done I'll be lucky to be able to buy a .22 single shot with his gun control agenda. Consult a lawyer but realistically you're probably looking at $2-3k minimum to be free and clear and if anything unusual pops up it can compile fast.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 302 Moving To Another State Legality?

    Prohibited in one state equals prohibited in all. Ianal.
    The Gun is the Badge of a Free Man

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 302 Moving To Another State Legality?

    Quote Originally Posted by widgetman101 View Post
    Yeah it sucks and it's something I've been dealing with for what seems like forever now. It's just that much more annoying now considering all the riots and things going on with no way to really protect my family if things go from bad to worse.

    Keep in mind I'm probably in that exception group that really drove the costs up. In the start it was I think a $100 consultation fee and then I believe an initial $500 retainer to gather the required documents etc and file. Once it came time for the court date to be set etc I believe I had a new retainer of $3,000 that should have covered everything.

    The original verdict didn't go my way so we appealed it then won the appeal. The irony is if I didn't appeal and left the original verdict I'd be legal to own and buy a gun right now. However, at the time that law didn't exist so I basically had to seek expungement. We appealed the original verdict which added around $1,000 then ended up winning the appeal.

    The PSP dicked around till the 29th day to announce they were appealing the new verdict. That's where the money starts to add up quick once the appeal started and you move into the higher court. You have to compile brand new documents then wait for the judges to rule and file other documents/details. There were other rulings that helped our case while mine was underway that ultimately played a factor as well, it's JMY vs something can't remember off the top of my head the full case.

    After they ruled instead of letting the updates on vacation go back to the local court the PSP appealed again to the Supreme Court. That took over a year to hear anything on and then earlier this year it was getting sent back to the local court. The kicker is the Supreme Court notes literally everything related to the change in law and that my original order has all that already covered. You think the PSP would just consider the matter moot? Nah, they'll waste as much time as possible and run this out as far as they can. With Covid the courts are backed up as I was originally hoping they'd have it re-submitted to complete by fall so I could hunt with a gun for the first time in a long time.

    That's looking like it's less and less of a reality and if I don't get this fixed by election season if Biden gets in once this is all said and done I'll be lucky to be able to buy a .22 single shot with his gun control agenda. Consult a lawyer but realistically you're probably looking at $2-3k minimum to be free and clear and if anything unusual pops up it can compile fast.
    Yeah, I'm also in Erie which is about the farthest possible city from any 2A lawyers, and therefore means more money. If I could simply pay $2-3k to have all this gone from my life, I'd do it in a moment. I can't afford getting sucked into "anything unusual popping up" though. I may try making a gofundme, but that's a long shot and I really don't want to advertise to the world that I'm a soft target. The only light at the end of the tunnel is the statute of limitations only being for "expungement" as far as I know. "Relief from firearm disability" isn't an expungement, so perhaps I can come back to that after a bit? Either way, after I get my paperwork in the mail from the hospital, I'm going to give Joshua Prince a call to at least get some answers in terms of future options.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 302 Moving To Another State Legality?

    OK, so I'll preface this by saying I too am not a lawyer but...

    PA shares its mental health background with the federal NICS system. What Im reading says this started to happen in 2013
    https://patch.com/pennsylvania/horsh...check-database

    Previously they had not shared this information which meant that someone could merely move to another state and purchase a firearm- exactly what you're asking. Heres the kicker though- Joshua Prince took the PA 302 to the top and it was determined that the lack of due process meant you couldnt be stripped of your gun rights. Why this satisfies the federal government but not the state of PA is beyond me, but what that should suggest is that if you do a federal background check on you one wouldnt expect you to be flagged if you were in another state.

    https://blog.princelaw.com/2019/08/0...ms-disability/

    This is merely conjecture on my behalf- you'd really have to speak with one of the gun lawyers to get an absolute answer.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 302 Moving To Another State Legality?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnSmith33 View Post
    OK, so I'll preface this by saying I too am not a lawyer but...

    PA shares its mental health background with the federal NICS system. What Im reading says this started to happen in 2013
    https://patch.com/pennsylvania/horsh...check-database

    Previously they had not shared this information which meant that someone could merely move to another state and purchase a firearm- exactly what you're asking. Heres the kicker though- Joshua Prince took the PA 302 to the top and it was determined that the lack of due process meant you couldnt be stripped of your gun rights. Why this satisfies the federal government but not the state of PA is beyond me, but what that should suggest is that if you do a federal background check on you one wouldnt expect you to be flagged if you were in another state.

    https://blog.princelaw.com/2019/08/0...ms-disability/

    This is merely conjecture on my behalf- you'd really have to speak with one of the gun lawyers to get an absolute answer.
    That's what I was thinking too, but the responses I've gotten on here seem to indicate otherwise. Obviously there was a ruling that a 302 is not a disqualifier under Federal law. The question is if the feds care about that and removed me from the NICS as a result. It would be nice if that was the case, but I'd say it's unlikely.

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