top of page

BREAKING! Everytown’s 501(c)3 charity likely in violation of not-for-profit law (Pittsburgh gun ban)

Updated: Dec 26, 2019

We all know that Everytown has been doing most of the legal work for the city of Pittsburgh in order to allow them to enact a local ordinance banning certain firearms. One problem: it’s prohibited by the Pennsylvania state constitution:

PA Crimes Code Title 18 § 6120, “Limitation on the regulation of firearms and ammunition,” which states that “no county, municipality or township may in any manner regulate the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by the laws of this Commonwealth.”

Days after the 10/27/18 Tree of Life synagogue shooting, Eric Tirschwell of the Everytown Support Fund (a ”charity” that focuses on education and research) reached out to Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto and offered their support to fight against the PA crimes code (current law regarding preemption):

And the same person is currently behind (or the spokesman) the defense of this unconstitutional state measure. Full article here):

A group called Everytown for Gun Safety said its litigation team will help defend the city.
"Everytown is proud to stand with the City of Pittsburgh as it acts to prevent future gun violence after the horrific massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue, " said Eric Tirschwell, director of litigation for Everytown for Gun Safety, in a release posted online.
The statement said Everytown Law "will serve as co-counsel with the Pittsburgh City Solicitor's Office in defending the City of Pittsburgh in any litigation resulting from the city's passage of gun safety measures." Peduto had said previously that private attorneys were providing their services and support to the city for free.

Eric is a paid employee of the Everytown For Gun Safety Support Fund:

They are a 501(c)3 “charity”:

So, what’s the big deal? According to the IRS:

Whether the activities are in furtherance of an organization's IRC 501(c)(3) purposes and whether they are illegal or contrary to public policy are primarily matters of fact. Rev. Rul. 75-384, 1975-2 C.B. 204, holds that a non-profit organization formed to promote world peace and disarmament by nonviolent direct action and whose primary activity is the sponsoring of anti-war protest demonstrations in which demonstrators are urged to commit violations of local ordinance and breaches of public order does not qualify for exemption under IRC 501(c)(3) or IRC 501(c)(4). Regarding IRC 501(c)(3) exemption, the revenue ruling, citing IV Scott on Trusts, Section 377 (3d. ed. 1967), states that all charitable trusts (and by implication all charitable organizations, regardless of their form) are subject to the requirement that their purposes may not be illegal or contrary to public policy. The revenue ruling also holds that illegal activities, which violate minimum standards of acceptable conduct necessary to the preservation of an orderly society, are contrary to the common good and the general welfare of the people of the community and thus are not permissible means of promoting social welfare for purposes of IRC 501(c)(4).

Would a charity that encourages (and defends with their resources) a local government to break state law be a violation of the “common good”? What does that have to do with “education and research”? Under current PA law, it is illegal for a local municipality to enact their own gun control laws. Everytown is helping the city of Pittsburgh conduct illegal activity that they do not have the power to enact without the state constitution being changed/amended.

Further, does what’s above regarding their activity in Pittsburgh sound like any of these?

6. Failure to Pursue Original Purpose
Organizations that apply for tax exemption, state that their purpose lies within one of the following categories: “Charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, foster amateur sports competition, prevents cruelty to children or animals.” If that purpose changes, an organization must notify the IRS.

No, it doesnt. Check it out from their own mouths for yourselves.

Everytown for Gun Safety announced today that Everytown Law will serve as co-counsel with the Pittsburgh City Solicitor’s Office in defending the City of Pittsburgh in any litigation resulting from the city’s passage of gun safety measures. Everytown Law is the litigation arm of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund.

Quick note: MAJOR difference in advocating for/against a proposed law for “the common good” vs actively engaging in defying a law on the books (especially one that’s for the benefit of all the citizens of a state so they’re all treated equally).....

bottom of page