Pro-Gun Groups Sues Pennsylvania Sheriff to End Warrantless Searches of Businesses & Homes

On June 20, 2023, the Second Amendment Foundation filed a challenge against Pennsylvania’s enacted firearms regulation and the way Pennsylvania State Police enforce it and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, which comprises warrantless searches.

SAF was accompanied by Shot Tec, LLC, and a private citizen, Grant Schmidt in this lawsuit. The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Joshua Prince and Dillon Harris from the Civil Rights Defense Firm, which is based out of Bechtelsville, Peenslyvania. Defendants in this case are Colonel Christopher Paris, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), and Montgomery County Sheriff Sean Kilkenny. This lawsuit was filed in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.

The lawsuit challenges Colonel Paris and the PSP’s “interpretation, implementation and enforcement” of the gun control regulation “which is being enforced” by Kilkenny, per the court filing. The petition asserts that Sheriff Kilkenny “has implemented a policy…which he contends, based on the PSP’s promulgation and implementation of (the regulation);

…permit him, in the absence of probable cause and a warrant and in violation of…the Pennsylvania Constitution, to come into those…homes or business.”

Plaintiffs further claimed that this inspection gave the sheriff the power to slap sanctions on holders of state licenses to sell guns “for not having ‘safe storage’” in the case an emergency occurs  when the PSP has “failed to promulgate any regulations addressing what constitute ‘safe storage’ or sufficient safeguards…when the General Assembly only delegated to the PSP the ability to establish such standards.”

“The State Assembly has never enacted a law allowing for warrantless searches of licensees, but the state police promulgated a regulation requiring licensees to submit to such searches, which are now planned by the sheriff’s department,” declared SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut. “We believe there are grave constitutional issues involved in this scheme, particularly when an administrative agency simply waives an individual’s constitutional rights by implementing a regulation without any framework from the legislature. Equally troubling is the Sheriff’s assertion that he would revoke a license from and individual asserting their right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures. We have filed this petition to ensure constitutional rights are respected.”

SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb noted, “No statute should allow carte blanche regulations to be imposed by any law enforcement agency because of the inherent danger of overstepping legal authority and constitutional protections which must be protected in a free society. We’re seeking a remedy from the court to stop this, especially when warrantless searches are involved.”

Pennsylvania did go to Donald Trump in 2016 and is part of the realigned Midwest that’s becoming more receptive to Republican Party ideas, especially the newly embraced nationalist concepts. However, only an America First type of message can win in these areas. Forget about neoconservatism and Reaganism. 

Pennsylvania’s gun policies leave a lot to be desired as evidenced by its 31st place ranking according to Guns & Ammo magazine’s best states for gun owners rankings. Should it continue falling into Democratic control, it will become increasingly anti-gun. 

It’s going to take non-stop resistance against Gun Control Inc.’s agenda in addition to a principled commitment to America First ideas. 

This will prevent Philadelphia from falling into anti-gun squalor. 

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