On May 22, 2023, Montgomery County Sheriff Kilkenny, working in conjunction with CeaseFire PA, announced that he would begin conducting inspections of county firearms dealers to ensure compliance with Pennsylvania law. These inspections would require that dealers allow the Sheriff to conduct warrantless searches of their businesses, seize license holders or employees for up to two hours, compel them to answer any questions posed, provide documentation, and a threat to revoke a PA License to Sell Firearms (LTSF) for refusing to comply with these demands. The announcement was the first ever in Pennsylvania.
In 2001, the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) adopted a regulation which required LTSF applicants to agree to waive their constitutional right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures in order to obtain a license. The PSP’s adoption of this regulation is incompatible with the authority delegated to it by the Pennsylvania Legislature. Pennsylvania law provides no mechanism for a county sheriff to conduct warrantless searches of LTSF holders. Sheriff Kilkenny’s policy also raises a number of other constitutional concerns, including seizures of persons and compelling one to speak while under investigation.
On June 19, 2023, the Second Amendment Foundation filed suit, along with an individual and a firearms retailer. The lawsuit asks the Commonwealth Court to declare that the regulations, law, and Sheriff’s policy violate the Pennsylvania constitution and enjoin the Respondents from enforcing them.
Case Team: Joshua Prince, Dillon Harris
To access all of the case documents, please visit the docket.