PHILADELPHIA, PENN –-(Ammoland.com)-The Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and the City of Philadelphia settled their case involving the delay in processing “License To Carry Firearm” (LTCF) applications. The court will hear the motion tomorrow at 11 AM.
In Keith Fetsurka v. Danielle Outlaw, FPC and four other plaintiffs sued Philadelphia for delaying all LTCF applications for longer than Pennsylvania’s law allows.
Under the statute, the City has 45 days to process applications. The City has far exceeded that time limit.
Philadelphia claimed that the COVID-19 Pandemic caused the delays in processing the LTCF applications and claimed it was beyond their control. The law does not have an exemption for pandemics. The delay caused FPC to seek out plaintiffs and file suit in the United States District Court for The Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
On March 25, Philadelphia submitted an “Offer of Judgment” to the court. On the same day, FPC and the rest of the plaintiffs accepted the cities offer and sent the City’s defense counsel a formal Notices of Acceptance the next day. The court has to approve the settlement, and that what the court will be deciding tomorrow at 11 AM EDT.
In the settlement, the City of Philadelphia agrees to continue to process LTCF applications online through its online portal or secure email. Applicants are also allowed to submit their applications via the Postal service.
The City will accept LTCF applications in person the City’s Gun Permit Unit (GPU) after the COVID-19 Pandemic ends. The settlement gives Philadelphia the sole power to decide when to allow in-person applications to be processed. The City claims that it is in the interest of public safety not to process applications at this time in person due to the public health crisis.
The City is also allowed to stop in-person processing of applications due to emergencies. These situations could range from another Pandemic to terrorism to an earthquake. Under the agreement, the City will have the power to decide when and if to suspend in-person applications.
Philadelphia also agrees to process 90% of the applications with an in-person pickup date within 45 days of receipt. It does not put a time frame on the clearing of the other 10% of applicants. It is unclear when or if any timeframe will be established in the future for that 10% of the LTCF that are not processed on time. This settlement agreement doesn’t address those delays, but the thinking is those LTCF will be processed in the order they are received.
The City’s GPU will operate on expanded hours until they can hit the settlement metrics. These hours will be Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 8 PM, excluding City holidays. The City agrees to try to have one appointment every ten minutes during business hours. When the GPU goes back to regular hours, they will have to maintain the 90% LTCF application processing rate within the agreed-upon time frame. If the speed drops below 90%, the GPU will have to reinstate expanded hours until they can meet or exceed the threshold outlined in the agreement.
Philadelphia also agrees to pay FPC $30,000 to cover legal fees and other expenses. The court is expected to approve the settlement agreement.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.