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Thread: Is no news good news?

  1. #1
    Regular Member Whitney's Avatar
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    Is no news good news?

    This thread is regarding the "ban" / "not a ban" of openly carried firearms in the legislature. I am looking for some guidance on how to proceed with getting the enacted open carry measure rescinded.

    Posted below is an email exchange between myself and the legislative counsel for the House. I have re-arranged the text to read from top to bottom.
    ~Whitney
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


    From: Whitney Slater
    Date: March 27, 2015
    To: <Barbara.Baker@leg.wa.gov
    Subject: Public Records Request

    Can you provide copies of administrative records of the Clerk of the State House of Representatives regarding the decision to ban the open carry of firearms in the public gallery. The meetings culminating in the decision would have taken place between 5-25 January 2015.

    The Act does apply to administrative records of the Clerk of the State House of Representatives and of the Secretary of the Senate. RCW 42.56.100. - See more at: http://www.rcfp.org/washington-open-....DV2tyk5d.dpuf

    I would like to be able to share the details of the process on a public Internet forum, any assistance you can provide is greatly appreciated.

    I am not able to locate the Public Gallery rules online and am interested to know if there are lock boxes for those who cannot legally conceal a firearm as per RCW 9.41.300. Or, will they be turned away and be prevented from watching our government in action.

    Very Respectfully,

    Whitney Slater
    Poulsbo


    On 04/14/2015 , Logerwell, Andrew wrote:

    Good morning,

    On March 27, 2015 you sent the email that is at the bottom of this message requesting certain documents under Washington’s Public records act. As I noted in my March 30, 2015 email, the records you are requesting do not fall within the definition of a ‘public record’ for purposes of the House of Representatives. See. RCWs 42.56.010(3) and 40.14.100.

    Setting aside that statutory reality, there was no ‘decision to ban the open carry of firearms in the public gallery’. The House consistently applied a long standing rule precluding political demonstrations in the public viewing galleries to the latest form of admittedly public protest in the same way the House prohibits banners, signs, chanting or singing.

    Because of both the factual and legal backdrop of this issue, a diligent search has not produced any public documents that would be responsive to your request.

    Thank you for you continued interest in the work we do here in Olympia, please call, email or write if you have any questions.


    Andrew Logerwell

    House Counsel

    Washington State House of Representatives

    (360) 786 7767



    On 04/14/2015 , Whitney wrote:



    Thank You , I sincerely appreciate your efforts.

    I have reviewed the House and Senate rules and am not able to find the rule precluding political demonstration.
    You state there was no 'decision to ban the open carry of firearms in the public gallery' yet a long standing rule was invoked to preclude the demonstration of a few political activists.

    It my assertion invoking this "rule" violates standing law by requiring citizens visiting the legislature to conceal firearms. I would rather see it described that a state-imposed infringement of a natural rights is being imposed due to wanton prejudice toward individual ownership and possession of firearms. That would clearly explain the intent without ambiguity to be adjudicated by the people.

    The House & Senate rules and the Washington State Constitution contain provisions for the legislature to maintain, and preserve order and decorum, with this I agree. Pursuant to the rules, the Sergeant at Arms shall be ordered to suppress any disturbance or disorderly conduct. I also assert this rule was not complied with, rather it was overlooked and a broad interpretation was made on the basis of political demonstration.

    You have previously stated Article II of the Washington State Constitution gives the legislature authority to make rules and to control all aspects of legislative proceedings. Article I of the Washington State constitution also preserves right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, and shall not be impaired.

    Requiring citizens visiting the legislature to conceal firearms means they must first acquire a concealed pistol license, this conditional limitation on access to government does not pass constitutional muster.
    The only way for a citizen to otherwise legally carry a firearm is to openly carry for all to see. The open carry of a firearm is not by its self a "political demonstration", and does not merit prohibition by the Legislature of Washington.

    With the aforementioned in mind the following questions remain.
    1. A citizen visiting the legislature who does not poses a concealed pistol license, and is openly carrying a firearm is prohibited from what exactly?
    2. Does the legislature provide lock boxes for visitors without concealed pistol licenses to store firearms, or will the visitor be denied access to the government?

    Very Respectfully,

    Whitney Slater
    Poulsbo
    The problem with America is stupidity.
    I'm not saying there should be capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?

  2. #2
    Regular Member OC Freedom's Avatar
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    Very well done. Please post any further exchanges that occur.

  3. #3
    Regular Member Whitney's Avatar
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    Open Carry is in fact a political protest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Whitney View Post
    This thread is regarding the "ban" / "not a ban" of openly carried firearms in the legislature. I am looking for some guidance on how to proceed with getting the enacted open carry measure rescinded.

    Posted below is an email exchange between myself and the legislative counsel for the House. I have re-arranged the text to read from top to bottom.
    ~Whitney
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


    From: Whitney Slater
    Date: March 27, 2015
    To: <Barbara.Baker@leg.wa.gov
    Subject: Public Records Request

    Can you provide copies of administrative records of the Clerk of the State House of Representatives regarding the decision to ban the open carry of firearms in the public gallery. The meetings culminating in the decision would have taken place between 5-25 January 2015.

    The Act does apply to administrative records of the Clerk of the State House of Representatives and of the Secretary of the Senate. RCW 42.56.100. - See more at: http://www.rcfp.org/washington-open-....DV2tyk5d.dpuf

    I would like to be able to share the details of the process on a public Internet forum, any assistance you can provide is greatly appreciated.

    I am not able to locate the Public Gallery rules online and am interested to know if there are lock boxes for those who cannot legally conceal a firearm as per RCW 9.41.300. Or, will they be turned away and be prevented from watching our government in action.

    Very Respectfully,

    Whitney Slater
    Poulsbo


    On 04/14/2015 , Logerwell, Andrew wrote:

    Good morning,

    On March 27, 2015 you sent the email that is at the bottom of this message requesting certain documents under Washington’s Public records act. As I noted in my March 30, 2015 email, the records you are requesting do not fall within the definition of a ‘public record’ for purposes of the House of Representatives. See. RCWs 42.56.010(3) and 40.14.100.

    Setting aside that statutory reality, there was no ‘decision to ban the open carry of firearms in the public gallery’. The House consistently applied a long standing rule precluding political demonstrations in the public viewing galleries to the latest form of admittedly public protest in the same way the House prohibits banners, signs, chanting or singing.

    Because of both the factual and legal backdrop of this issue, a diligent search has not produced any public documents that would be responsive to your request.

    Thank you for you continued interest in the work we do here in Olympia, please call, email or write if you have any questions.


    Andrew Logerwell

    House Counsel

    Washington State House of Representatives

    (360) 786 7767



    On 04/14/2015 , Whitney wrote:



    Thank You , I sincerely appreciate your efforts.

    I have reviewed the House and Senate rules and am not able to find the rule precluding political demonstration.
    You state there was no 'decision to ban the open carry of firearms in the public gallery' yet a long standing rule was invoked to preclude the demonstration of a few political activists.

    It my assertion invoking this "rule" violates standing law by requiring citizens visiting the legislature to conceal firearms. I would rather see it described that a state-imposed infringement of a natural rights is being imposed due to wanton prejudice toward individual ownership and possession of firearms. That would clearly explain the intent without ambiguity to be adjudicated by the people.

    The House & Senate rules and the Washington State Constitution contain provisions for the legislature to maintain, and preserve order and decorum, with this I agree. Pursuant to the rules, the Sergeant at Arms shall be ordered to suppress any disturbance or disorderly conduct. I also assert this rule was not complied with, rather it was overlooked and a broad interpretation was made on the basis of political demonstration.

    You have previously stated Article II of the Washington State Constitution gives the legislature authority to make rules and to control all aspects of legislative proceedings. Article I of the Washington State constitution also preserves right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, and shall not be impaired.

    Requiring citizens visiting the legislature to conceal firearms means they must first acquire a concealed pistol license, this conditional limitation on access to government does not pass constitutional muster.
    The only way for a citizen to otherwise legally carry a firearm is to openly carry for all to see. The open carry of a firearm is not by its self a "political demonstration", and does not merit prohibition by the Legislature of Washington.

    With the aforementioned in mind the following questions remain.
    1. A citizen visiting the legislature who does not poses a concealed pistol license, and is openly carrying a firearm is prohibited from what exactly?
    2. Does the legislature provide lock boxes for visitors without concealed pistol licenses to store firearms, or will the visitor be denied access to the government?

    Very Respectfully,

    Whitney Slater
    Poulsbo
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>UPDATED 4/28<<<<<<<<<<<<<<


    From: Whitney Slater
    Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2015
    To: Logerwell, Andrew


    It has been a couple weeks since sending this original mail. Have you had the opportunity to address my remaining questions?

    Very Respectfully

    Whitney Slater
    Poulsbo




    Date: Tue, 28 Apr 2015
    From: Logerwell, Andrew
    To: Whitney Slater

    Whitney,



    Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. As you can imagine, it has been pretty busy around here.



    To answer your two questions, the House has a long standing rule against political protest or demonstrations in the galleries. I believe the same is true of the Senate. We don’t allow signs, banners, singing, calling out to members on the floor or any other political demonstration that seeks to express one particular viewpoint or another and thereby disrupts or attempts to influence the proceedings. Our experience with open carry was, according to the publicly available statements by those doing it, an expression of one particular belief intended to send a message to the legislators and to hopefully influence their decision making. Consistent with our long standing policies, therefore, we are not allowing openly carried weapons of any kind (knifes, firearms, martial arts weapons, you name it) in our viewing galleries or hearing rooms. That is the only restriction other than those prohibited by criminal law (brandishing for example) that I am aware of.



    That being said, the secretary of state, governor, lieutenant governor and treasurer are also housed in the legislative building so you’d have to check with them to see if they have any policies about openly carrying firearms in their office suits. In my position, I only represent the House so I can’t speak for them.



    To answer your second question, no, the House does not provide for secure weapons storage or lock boxes.



    Thank you for your continued interest in the work we do here at the legislature and more specifically the House of representatives.



    Andrew Logerwell

    House Counsel

    Washington State House of Representatives

    (360) 786 7767

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>There you have it. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    ~Whitney
    The problem with America is stupidity.
    I'm not saying there should be capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?

  4. #4
    Regular Member Whitney's Avatar
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    Beating the drum

    I seem to have hit an impasse with the legislature. No one will return my calls and my local rep has again referred me to the legislative council.

    All of the correspondence is too much to post so I will summarize with my last email. I would be grateful if anyone can explain the rule making and the statutory authority to do so described here.

    ~Whitney
    ......................................


    In January it was reported by the media our legislature banned the act of openly carrying firearms commonly referred to as “open carry”. I have been told there is in fact not a ban, rather a long standing rule prohibiting “political speech” was invoked as the legislature determined "open carry" a form of political speech. I have been trying to understand this specific rule making process.


    I need to fully understand with regard to this specific incident so I may properly articulate the following conversation regarding the same. Everything below the chevrons is background for the questioning of this rule making procedure.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


    In January a group of activists openly carried firearms in the public gallery, based on the actions of these activists the legislature banned the open carry of firearms. Notwithstanding the question of constitutionality, it is not clear exactly where this ban is effective. I have been told repeatedly there is not a ban but a "long standing rule" prohibiting political speech was invoked and open carry was subsequently deemed political speech.


    The rules adopted by the legislature and the Washington State Constitution provide the means to deal with this type of activity. I have asserted the legislature did not follow the adopted House or Senate rules, or the RCW in dealing with this particular situation and I am only seeking to get clarification of how this type of "rule" gets made and adopted.


    I have been cited the Washington Constitution regarding the legislature's powers. Article 2 describes the legislative functions in general; section 9 gives the legislature the power to control all aspects of legislative proceedings. The Speaker of the House is charged with interpreting and enforcing the rules adopted by each body, including rules governing order and decorum. Conversely Article 1 section 24 provides a mandate, "shall not be impaired" which protects a citizens right to defensive arms.


    I find myself asking why did the legislature not act in accordance with the rules adopted ?

    Specifically......

    House Rule 4 (B): The speaker shall preserve order and decorum, and in case of any disturbance or disorderly conduct within the chamber or legislative area, shall order the sergeant at arms to suppress the same and may order the sergeant at arms to remove any person creating any disturbance within the house chamber or legislative area.

    And

    Senate rule 1.2. : The president shall preserve order and decorum, and in case of any disturbance or disorderly conduct within the chamber, legislative area, legislative offices or buildings, and legislative hearing and meeting rooms, shall order the sergeant at arms to suppress the same, and may order the arrest of any person creating any disturbance within the senate chamber. The use of cellular or digital telephones is prohibited within the senate chamber during floor session and within a hearing room during a committee hearing, and this prohibition shall be enforced in the same manner as any other breach of order and decorum.


    I have also asserted the activists could have been removed or even cited with RCW 9.41.270 but were not, why not? Instead of enforcing the appropriate law or removing the activists in accordance with the adopted rules the legislature invoked a "rule" seemingly to me without regard to the RCW and the Washington State Constitution as a result punishing otherwise law abiding citizens for the actions of a few frustrated activists.


    The RCW provides a list of "off limits" places for fire arms and the public spaces in Olympia are not part of that list so this "rule" is also not congruent with 9.41.300. This RCW is the basis for my question regarding what crime would I be charged with if I open carry.

    Is the State exempt from the law regarding the prohibition of firearms in 9.41.300?

    This ban/not a ban but a long standing rule is very confusing and frustrating to me, on one hand it seems reasonable for the legislature to remove the disturbance or even cite the activists but on another it seems to be a wanton disregard for constitutional rights of all the rest of the citizens of Washington.

    After the fallout and disruption of the activists the legislature said it would not prohibit firearms in the gallery but if you wanted to carry it would have to be concealed.

    The open public meetings act specifically cites no conditions may be placed on citizens attending public meetings. By the "long standing rule" standard, the legislature could prohibit citizens who wear T-shirts with political slogans such as "legalize marijuana", "don't Burke me", "purple people eaters anonymous" , you name it, we could go on and on.

    This requirement of concealed carry is a conditional requirement and requires a citizen to procure a concealed pistol license (CPL). If I choose NOT to purchase a CPL then I may not participate in government based solely on this "rule".


    The act of placing conditional requirements on citizens to participate in government is the root of my questioning here.

    How is this constitutional? How does the legislature believe the (RCW) or (WAC) supports the rule?

    What else can the legislature deem "political speech" and subsequently ban?

    There are a lot of spokes in this wheel so to speak, but I hope I have detailed my concern well enough.

    Very Respectfully,

    Whitney Slater

    Poulsbo
    The problem with America is stupidity.
    I'm not saying there should be capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?

  5. #5
    Regular Member Alpine's Avatar
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    I also began quite a lot of correspondence with counsel of both houses and the governor's office about people who are disabled and cannot conceal, given that the rationale was that concealed carriers could still carry so why was it supposedly a big deal.

    I also mentioned people that through no fault of their own could not obtain a CPL because of the time, cost or other restrictions associated with it.

    They never got back to me.

  6. #6
    Regular Member Whitney's Avatar
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    No big deal..

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpine View Post
    I also began quite a lot of correspondence with counsel of both houses and the governor's office about people who are disabled and cannot conceal, given that the rationale was that concealed carriers could still carry so why was it supposedly a big deal.

    I also mentioned people that through no fault of their own could not obtain a CPL because of the time, cost or other restrictions associated with it.

    They never got back to me.
    A poor excuse for their shirking of duty. Now that we have background checks for all, why do we even need CPL's. Abrogating the requirement for a CPL would also save the state a lot of money.

    When are you going to run for office?

    ~Whitney
    The problem with America is stupidity.
    I'm not saying there should be capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?

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