Taking on Gun Violence in Philadelphia


Oral argument to be held Nov. 15 in case defending Philadelphia enforcement of “lost and stolen gun” law

November 15, 2021 – Oral argument will be broadcast by Commonwealth Court on a YouTube livestream. You can watch the argument here, starting at 1 p.m. on November 15

The Court will hear argument on Rashad Armstrong’s appeal of a Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas order denying his request for a permanent injunction, and an order granting our clients’ petition to intervene in defense of Philadelphia’s right to enforce its “lost and stolen gun” ordinance.

The majority of gun violence in Philadelphia is carried out with easily accessible handguns. There were 499 homicides in Philadelphia in 2020, and the city is on pace to eclipse that total in 2021. In 2019, Philadelphia began enforcing an ordinance requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen guns within 24 hours–an ordinance designed to make it more difficult to illegally sell guns through straw purchasing.

After the defendant in the first enforcement case attempted to block the City from enforcing this law against him or anyone else by filing a motion for permanent injunction, our clients stepped in to defend this common-sense law in court. Represented by the Law Center, two mothers who lost sons in shootings committed with guns from Philadelphia filed a petition to intervene and oppose this permanent injunction on January 16, 2020, joined by CeaseFirePA, the Philadelphia Anti-Drug/Anti-Violence Network, and Mothers in Charge. We were joined by pro bono co-counsel from Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP.

On March 5, 2020, our petition to intervene was granted. On November 12, 2020, the motion for permanent injunction filed the defendant in the City’s first enforcement action, Rashad Armstrong, was denied, as we requested. Represented by gun lobby attorneys, Armstrong appealed to Commonwealth Court, which will hear argument in his appeal today. We filed a brief in the appeal on July 9, 2021. Read more about this case here.