Firearms Owners Against Crime

Institute for Legal, Legislative and Educational Action

Crawford v. Commonwealth Supreme Court Argument 09-13-23 :: 09/28/2023

by: James Stoker

     On Wednesday, September 13th, 2023, I spent my eldest daughter’s birthday traveling to and from Philadelphia to stand for our organization in defense of a shining star among gun rights legislation, Title 18 §6120 Limitation on the regulation of firearms and ammunition. Otherwise known in Pennsylvania as preemption. I worked till 11pm Tuesday and left for Philadelphia at 3am Wednesday, cautiously optimistic that the Supreme Court would dismiss their challenge. This incredible statute is underenforced but cannot be overstated in its value to the American citizen in our Commonwealth. If we could only convince the district attorneys in this Commonwealth to enforce it with any sense of consistency, our organization would have far less to do on a weekly basis.

     The purpose of this statute, passed in its original form in 1974, is to consolidate the power to pass legislation regarding firearms and ammunition with the general assembly, NOT the counties, municipalities, or townships of the Commonwealth. This ensures consistency across the state for all of us and protects our Constitutional right to bear arms from the feudal lords who run their small fiefdoms with the uninformed opinion that rights need sacrificed on the altar of the “greater good”.

     Ceasefire PA and the City of Philadelphia filed a case in Crawford et al., v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al. in which they would argue that this statute somehow violates the rights of the citizens of Philadelphia to protect themselves. Somehow this is denying the right to life and liberty.

     It took less than four minutes for the Justices to begin challenging the notion that the appellants were petitioning the Court to overrule the general assembly on policy matters. Justices Brobson, Dougherty, Todd and Wecht all continued to challenge the appellants to show them how the general assembly is violating the Constitution. The appellants counsel kept stumbling back to “fundamental rights” and basically saying preemption somehow impinges upon the rights of the appellants to life and liberty. Counsel was clearly unable to show any actual infringement that the court, or most of us in the room for that matter, could clearly see.

     Counsel’s argument of “state created danger” just wasn’t sitting well with any of the justices. Justice Dougherty aptly proposed that the appellant’s true issue is with the District Attorney of Philadelphia not enforcing laws, rather than the general assembly. He was quite adamant that appellants needed to identify an affirmative act by the general assembly that endangers the appellants as opposed to the accountability of the chief law enforcement officer. Judge Todd then challenged the appellants to explain why the court would be the remedy for the issue rather than elections of the general assembly. Even Justice Donahue, who seemed interested in seeing the case brought before the Supreme Court, repeatedly asked appellant counsel to identify the infringement and she never had a straight answer. Only “emotional rhetoric”, as identified by Justice Brobson. Everyone in the courtroom knew it.

     After fifty-nine minutes of appellant argument, it seemed the Justices were unimpressed. The only silent one was Justice Mundy. At this point, I was satisfied that were I a betting man the case was decided against the appellants and preemption was safe. I listened to the appellee arguments for the next fifty minutes, the three counselors permitted to speak in defense of preemption which, sadly did not include our own Joshua Prince on behalf of the amicus brief filed by FOAC-ILLEA. I firmly believe
Josh would have blown away the attorneys permitted to speak. However, I don’t think their words were necessary. I simply don’t expect the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to take this matter up, and fully expect it to die the death it should. How long will it be until we know for sure? Nobody knows but the court…

     After walking out of the courtroom, I looked around at the dozen FOAC-ILLEA members present. I’m thankful to everyone who showed up to support our cause and just be a presence that day. Some drove from near, some from far. Some were talking to media in the hallway, others were asking Josh Prince questions about what to expect. Me? I just took it all in. I took those who could make it to lunch and spent an hour or two discussing events and goals for the organization. Lunch was on me as my way of thanking the group, and some made donations to the organization because I wouldn’t let them chip in. As I left there and wrapped up my 638-mile round trip in 16 hours, I felt again the blessing this organization is in my life. I reviewed the day’s events in my head, and again concluded that the Supreme Court will rule in our favor. I’m extremely hopeful the anti-gun movement took a loss this day. For that reason, and the presence of good people standing up for a great cause… it was a GREAT day for FOAC-ILLEA.

To hear the argument for yourself: Oral Arguments - Wednesday, September 13, 2023 - YouTube


Philly Town Hall


Post-Court Gathering

Shown are L to R: Suzy Psyck, Dale Brackin, Karise Crew, Jerel Crew, Kathleen Weaver, Jim Stoker, Debbie Hadfield, Dave Weaver, Elain Holas, and Matt Silver. 


Lunch Crew 

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