Pandemic Threatens Right to Self-Defense
Sheriffs across Pennsylvania are refusing to process License to Carry Firearms (LTCF) applications.
The decision is being fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is completely unacceptable and a violation of your right to self-defense.
Pennsylvania is a “shall issue” state.
Pennsylvania law is very clear. There is no justification in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6109 for a sheriff to refuse to accept and process an LTCF application. ZERO.
Carrying firearms is prohibited during a state of emergency UNLESS you have an LTCF.
Title 18 Pa.C.S § 6107 only permits individuals with an LTCF to carry firearms during a state of emergency, just like the one we are in now.
But if sheriffs are not processing applications or renewals, then citizens without permits will be subject to criminal prosecution if they choose to carry a gun to protect themselves — and that is completely unacceptable.
By refusing to process LTCFs, sheriffs are placing the lives of Pennsylvanians at risk during this time of crisis when they need it the most.
There are other solutions
I understand the concern of sheriffs to reduce the possibility of transmission of disease during the COVID-19 pandemic. But there are other ways to protect the health of citizens, deputies, and staff besides refusing to process LTCF applications.
Pennsylvania sheriffs should follow the example of Blair County Sheriff James Ott, and establish an appointment system to continue processing LTCF applications.
An appointment system would reduce the possibility of disease transmission without impeding citizens to obtain or renew an LTCF.
So, please take a moment to send a message to your county sheriff (see above) and encourage him or her to keep LTCF processing going during this time of emergency.