Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County in the case of Charles E. Haines v. Frank W. Jenkins, Sheriff of Montgomery County, No. 84-10947.
James R. Caiola, Caiola & Gowen, with him, Richard E. Gardiner, Assistant General Counsel, National Rifle Association, for appellant.
Ross Weiss, Shor, Levin & Weiss, P.C., for appellee.
Judges MacPhail, Doyle and Barry, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry.
[ 104 Pa. Commw. Page 202]
Charles E. Haines, appellant, appeals from an order of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas denying his complaint in mandamus. Haines sought to compel appellee, Frank W. Jenkins, Sheriff of Montgomery County, to issue him a license to carry a firearm in his vehicle or concealed on or about his person pursuant to Section 6109(a) of the Uniform Firearms Act (the Act), 18 Pa. C.S. § 6109(a).
Haines is a seventy-four year old retiree who resides on a one and one quarter acre, wooded tract of land in Zieglersville, Pa. He was licensed in both 1982 and 1983 to carry a firearm in his vehicle or on or about his person pursuant to Section 6109(a) of the Act which read at the time relevant to this action:
(a) Issue of License. -- The Chief or head of any police force or police department of a city, and, elsewhere, the sheriff of a county, may, upon the application of any person, issue a license to such person to carry a firearm in a vehicle or concealed on or about his person within this Commonwealth for not more than one year from date of issue, if it appears that the applicant has good reason to fear an injury to his person or
[ 104 Pa. Commw. Page 203]
property, or has any other proper reason for carrying a firearm, and that he is a suitable person to be so licensed.
In 1984, Sheriff Jenkins refused to issue the license.*fn1 Appellant alleged that Jenkins abused his discretion and filed a complaint in mandamus seeking to compel Sheriff Jenkins to issue the license. The trial court believed that appellant's fears over impending injury to his personal property were exaggerated in light of his actual experiences.*fn2 Appellant appealed to this Court again raising the question of whether Sheriff Jenkins acted properly in denying the license.
It should be noted that appellant improperly filed this action in mandamus. Mandamus is "an extraordinary writ which lies to compel the performance of a ministerial act where there is a clear legal right in the plaintiff, a corresponding duty in the defendant and a want of any other adequate and appropriate remedy." Cottone v. Kulis, ...