This is the latest development in a situation that’s been percolating for several months now. As with most parts of the country, the demand for legal gun permits has soared in Philadelphia, largely in response to the riots and unrest in the streets. But as we reported back in September, the city has developed such a backlog of people seeking permits that prospective buyers have been told they would have to wait for more than a year in some cases before they could even begin the application process. This was in clear violation of a state law requiring permit applications to be processed within 45 days. Frustrated shoppers took their complaints to a couple of gun rights groups for help and this led to two separate lawsuits being filed. One was at the state level and the other was filed in federal courts.
One solution that had been proposed by the plaintiffs was for the Philadelphia Police to switch to an online method applying for and processing permits, just as other parts of the state have successfully done. Up until now, however, the city had refused to adopt such a process. But facing a date with a judge seems to have brought about a change of heart and the city will now begin offering an online option for those seeking a permit. (Free Beacon)
Philadelphians will now be able to submit gun-carry permit applications over email after legal pressure forced the city to reverse a COVID-related shutdown that created a log jam for residents.
Second Amendment advocates filed lawsuits in state and federal courts after the city delayed applications far beyond the 45-day window required by state law. Spokesmen for Gun Owners of America, which filed the state lawsuit, and the Firearms Policy Coalition, which filed the federal challenge, said the city acted out of fear of losing in both cases…
Neither the Philadelphia Police Department nor the office of Mayor Jim Kenney (D.) responded to requests for comment.
This decision to abandon the fight is good news for hopeful firearms shoppers in the City of Brotherly Love, but it may turn out to be a temporary victory. What we’re seeing here with Philadelphia’s decision fits in with a pattern that we’ve observed in other Second Amendment battles in blue states. The real reason that they backed down is almost certainly a fear on the part of city officials that they would wind up losing the case in court at both the state and federal levels. And if that had happened, a precedent would have been set that would have opened the door to any number of challenges in other cities and states.
As I mentioned above, this is hardly the first time we’ve seen this tactic. Democrats pass the most stringent rules they can craft, but if a challenge to those rules begins making its way up the chain in the courts, they abandon their plan before the highest courts get a chance to rule on it. That’s what happened in New York City when they passed one of the most restrictive laws ever seen, regulating how and when a firearm can be transported outside the home. The Supreme Court had agreed to take up the challenge, but New York rushed to repeal the law to prevent the case from being heard. The Supremes came close to considering it anyway but narrowly decided that the lawsuit was moot with the law no longer being on the books.
The same thing happened in D.C. in 2017 when a lower court struck down a restrictive open carry law that had been passed. Rather than give the Supreme Court a crack at the case, the District declined to appeal and allowed the law to be dropped. Similar tactics have been recorded in San Francisco and Los Angeles, among other places.
With a solidly conservative majority on the Supreme Court now, it’s been suggested that another ruling on the fundamental right to keep and bear arms might be delivered in the near future. Thus far, however, liberal gun-grabbing entities have been desperate to deny the Supremes the opportunity to set such a precedent. You can expect that pattern to continue for the foreseeable future.