Falls Township Rifle and Pistol Association

354 Newbold Road, Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania


Category: Legislative

February 2015 Legislative Report


Significant Win in Federal Court

Today, in the case of Mance v. Holder, Judge Reed O’Conner pronounced a key portion of the Gun Control Act of 1968 unconstitutional. This ruling in the Northern District of Texas enjoins the federal government from enforcing several key provisions of the act, which relate to purchasing firearms out of state. Under the original Gun Control Act of 1968, only Federally Licensed Dealers were permitted to conduct interstate transfers. The Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986 allowed individuals to purchase long guns from out of state FFLs, but handguns remained restricted to in-state purchases only. Judge O’Conner did not find the law narrowly tailored enough to justify its burden on the Second Amendment right, and struck the handgun provision down. This ruling is certain to be appealed by the federal government.

Despite today’s ruling, most Federal Firearm Licensees are not likely to begin selling handguns to out-of-state buyers until they have guidance from ATF, which is not likely to come until the case has been fully litigated. Enforcement of the law may be enjoined today, but that does not mean it will be enjoined tomorrow. The Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit may decide to stay the injunction while the government’s appeal is pending.

While private person transfers (PPTs) were not specifically challenged in this case, so even if higher courts uphold this ruling, it would remain unlawful for unlicensed individuals to transfer a firearm interstate. But individuals would be able to purchase a handgun out of state.


Municipalities and cities all over the Commonwealth continue to repeal their illegal ordinances in the face of a new state law that strengthens our preemption statute. The new statute makes the municipality responsible for legal costs, and also gives any PA resident, or a group representing PA residents, standing to challenge an illegal ordinance. So far the only holdouts are Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, and Harrisburg. NRA is involved with lawsuits against the first three of those cities to force compliance.

NIJ Report from Obama Administration’s DOJ

The NRA managed to get a copy of a National Institute of Justice study, the research branch of Obama’s Department of Justice, which details that current gun control proposals will be ineffective without more draconian measures than the ones being proposed. See this article appearing today in the Washington Times that details the findings. The study notes:

“Since assault weapons are not a major contributor to US gun homicide, and the existing stock of guns is large, an assault weapon ban is unlikely to have an impact on gun violence. If coupled with a gun buyback and no exemptions, then it could be effective.”

“Buyback” is the new euphemism for confiscation. The document makes numerous references to the Australian buyback program. When Australia banned all semi-automatic rifles in 1997, gun owners were forced to turn them all in, but received $200 dollars in compensation from the government. The alternative to taking this payment and turning over the guns was jail time. See this NRA video on the DOJ memo here:

Attention Lower Makefield Residents

UPDATE: On February 20, the Lower Makefield Township Supervisors voted unanimously to rescind their previous resolution to lobby for more power to ban the possession of lawfully carried firearms in common public areas like parks. If their resolution had gained traction, and resulted in weakening of state preemption for firearms regulation, law-abiding gun owners would face certain legal pitfalls if they were forced to memorize carry or possession restrictions for each of the 56 cities, 958 boroughs, and 1,547 townships in Pennsylvania.

Thank you to all of the residents and club members who came out to the meeting, with little notice, to make sure that this mistake was corrected and the resolution rescinded. We truly believe your presence in the audience, and at the podium for those who spoke, made a difference. The supervisors seemed to understand that the gun issue was not relevant to the ordinary function of Township business, and will hopefully refrain from pursuing more gun control resolutions in the future.

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February 2013 Legislative Report

Given at the General Members Meeting, 02/13/2013 


California Senator Diane Feinstein has introduced her new ban, S.150. It uses a single feature test to determine what it and isn’t an “assault weapon”, and would effectively ban most modern semi-automatic long guns if they had a pistol grip, thumbhole stock, or “anything that would function as a grip.” It also poorly defines “barrel shroud” as any part, which the shooter can grip with the non-shooting hand, which either partially for fully encircles the barrel. Think about how a wood stock works on a rifle or shotgun.

The good news is that gun owners are having a fair amount of success influencing lawmakers. The likelihood of new bans on semi-automatic firearms and magazine size limitations passing Congress are getting slimmer as gun owners keep the pressure on. We are not out of the woods on new bans yet, by a long shot, but our prospects look better than they did last month.

The real threat that’s shaping up in Congress is a ban on private transferring of firearms. When one buys a firearm from a dealer, a 4473 form and background check is required, but that requirement has never been applied to occasional transfers between private individuals who live in the same state. In Pennsylvania, we’ve been living under such a ban for handguns, but this would add new federal requirements for both handguns and long guns, essentially creating de-facto national registration for all firearms. All transfers would be forced to go through a dealer, adding about 30-50 dollars to the cost of selling a gun to someone else, and creating difficulty for giving firearms as gifts. Anti-gun politicians have even been fighting against exceptions for transfers between immediate family, and between people who have already passed background checks to get concealed carry permits. It’s quite clear that creating a registration scheme is the primary goal of this legislation.

Banning private transfers of long guns is a “middle ground” position being taken by many Congressmen, including local Congressmen Mike Fitzpatrick and Pat Meehan. Please contact Mike Fitzpatrick’s office, even if you have already spoken to him, and make it clear you expect him to oppose all gun controls, including expanding background checks to private transfers. If anything gets through, it is going to be used as a base by which to expand on in further legislation. It is very important that every proposal from the gun control groups be defeated.

New Jersey

New Jersey is currently under grave threat, with approximately 43 anti-gun bills introduced. You can find a complete list on the club’s web site under “Latest News.” Just keep scrolling down until you find it. There was hearing today in Trenton for approximately 20 of these bills, many of them quite draconian, including a reduction of magazine sizes from 15 to 5 rounds, requiring in-home inspections for firearms owners, requiring a mental health clearance from a doctor, background checks for ammunition purchases, a ban on 50 caliber or greater firearms, and a ban on mail order ammunition.

Gun owners turned out in huge numbers today to pack the hearing room. An emergency permit had to be issued so that people could remain outside the Capitol and continue to protest. Keep talking to lawmakers, and telling them you oppose all these measures.


Attorney General Kathleen Kane kept her campaign promise to the gun control groups and Pennsylvania, and modified our current reciprocity agreement with the State of Florida. Non-resident Florida Concealed Weapons Licenses will no longer be recognized in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania residents can still carry in Florida on a Pennsylvania licenses, but a New Jersey resident with a Florida license may no longer carry in Pennsylvania. It is unclear at this time whether Attorney General Kane has plans to modify our reciprocity agreements with any other states. A lawsuit has been filed to challenge Kane’s legal authority to modify or revoke agreements once entered into.

On the legislative front, the Republican leadership in the House, and Governor Corbett, have remained, so far, firm in their insistence that gun control will not be considered, but don’t count on this to last if lawmakers do not hear from gun owners.

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