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Thread: St. Louis Zoo: communication log + TRO filing/status + legal/financial help needed

  1. #1
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    St. Louis Zoo: communication log + TRO filing/status + legal/financial help needed

    The purpose of this thread is manifold:

    1) to make public the communications between myself, the Zoo, the Zoo's legal counsel and the authorities in the lead-up to the Facebook event "St. Louis Zoo - Firearms Right Challenge",

    2) to address the tremendous amount of misinformation and outright lies put out by the press,

    3) to address the Zoo's legal counsel's misrepresentation of Missouri law in numerous and substantial ways, and

    4) to provide a resource for people to link to in order to attract the legal and financial assistance needed if this case is going to be pursued.


    I feel that this case could be THE case to not only address governmental overreach (rewriting laws, etc), but also as a test of Amendment 5/Article 1, Section 23. However, as I write this, neither attorneys nor potential contributors to a legal fight are beating a path to my door.


    CURRENT STATUS: On 12/15/15, each attorney filed memorandums. The next step is for the judge to consider the memorandums just filed, and to issue a ruling on the preliminary injunction. My attorney says that the judge usually takes 30 days or so to issue a ruling. See filings in post #167.



    EDITED 10/7/2015 because legal representation has been obtained.

    Court filings to-date, hosted courtesy of OCDO member kcgunfan: http://tinyurl.com/pl6gj99

    *Representation *

    After communicating with approximately 25 attorneys, yesterday (10/5/15) I hired attorney Jane C. Hogan of St. Louis to respond to the Zoo's TRO against me and "anyone acting in concert with (me) or anyone who has knowledge of this order" as it applies to carrying a firearm onto the Zoo's property.

    I also hired her to counter-sue the Zoo so as to establish precedent that the Zoo's claims of being an educational institution, a day care facility, an amusement park, and a business (among other things) - are hogwash.

    If you've been following the news, you may have noted that the Houston and Dallas (TX) Zoos have made similar claims. Like St. Louis, they've claimed to be anything and everything in order to ban guns. However, when challenged, Houston pulled its signage. The Dallas Zoo is in the process of being challenged.


    * Donation Methods *

    My sincere thanks to everyone who has previously offered to donate - here's your chance! This case will undoubtedly go to the Missouri Supreme Court, and based on estimated attorney fees and expenses, I've used the figure of $10,000 on the crowdfunding site: https://www.gofundme.com/rp5tgsps


    For those who want an alternative method of contributing, one that doesn't enrich GoFundMe to the tune of ~8% of the donation amount, be aware that Ms. Hogan can accept checks sent to her, made out to "Jane C. Hogan, IOLTA Trust". Please put "Jeffry Smith" or "St. Louis Zoo" in the memo. Her address is 5216 Chippewa Street, St. Louis, MO 63109.


    Ms. Hogan wanted me to include the following statement for potential donors: "Please make clear to anyone wishing to contribute to your legal fund that their contributions do not, in any way, entitle them to control or direct the case or to receive information from my office."


    * Other information *

    It's been a difficult and wild ride getting to this point. I know the cause is worthwhile, I believe the Zoo's claims are about as substantial as those of the Texas zoos, and I'm confident in Ms. Hogan. This endeavor is not about whether a guy from Ohio can carry in the St. Louis Zoo: although the Zoo's claims affect mainly Missourians, it's yet another example of governmental overreach in matters of gun rights.

    Our collective rights are only worth what we're willing to fight for, sometime with our presence, sometimes with our calls and letters, and sometimes with our money. I've put up a decent chunk of change in to get Ms. Hogan on board, but again, this matter is only tangentially about me. I can't shoulder the entire financial burden by myself, even though I'd like to. So, to say it bluntly, Missourians and others have the opportunity to "put up or shut up".

    No amount donated is insubstantial, and will go a long way towards making the path to the MO Supreme Court possible.


    THANK YOU.
    Last edited by BB62; 01-10-2016 at 03:31 PM. Reason: 11/17/15 added link to court filings

  2. #2
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    A day or two after Memorial Day, Sam Peyton, a black, 40 year old activist who I'd had contact with prior to and after the St. Louis Open Carry walk in October, 2014, contacted me on Facebook about an incident at the St. Louis Zoo.

    You can read his words of what happened right here: http://tinyurl.com/obcqc9w, but essentially he was threatened with having the police called on him if he and his EMPTY holster didn't leave the Zoo.

    We talked about what happened, then decided on a two-pronged approach: he would contact the Zoo and ask about what kind of training the Zoo security people received (essentially an open records request which has still NOT been responded to), and I would contact Zoo management, not as Jeffry Smith - gun rights activist, but as Jeff Smith - inquisitive potential patron.

    I called and left a message for Wyndel Hill, Zoo VP of Internal Relations, on Thursday or Friday (5/28 or 5/29/15) in which I stated that I understood that the Zoo had "No Guns" signage, and that I'd like to speak with him or someone else about it.

    While I was awaiting a response, on Friday (5/29/15) I sent the following note (still unresponded to) to Susan Gallagher, head of Public Relations for the Zoo:

    Ms. Gallagher,

    I spoke with Steve Barth the other day, and he told me that I should direct my communications to you, at least initially.

    I’ll be visiting St. Louis in June, and it is my intention to visit the Zoo. Recently I’ve been told of something which concerns me greatly, which is that supposedly “No guns” signage has been posted at the Zoo entrances, evidently meant to inform patrons that they may not have a gun while in the Zoo.

    This troubles me in a number of ways, including my belief that a firearm left in a car is a great deal more likely to be stolen, and ultimately misused, than one kept with its owner.

    Would you please tell me the following:

    1) Is what I have been told correct – the Zoo has posted “No guns” signage?

    2) If #1 is accurate, under what authority has the Zoo posted such signage?

    3) If #1 is accurate, who should I communicate with about getting the policy changed? Please provide the appropriate e-mail address(es)/phone number(s).

    4) What municipality is the Zoo located within?


    Thank you very much, and I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.



    Cordially,

    Jeff Smith
    xxx-xxx-xxxx
    Last edited by BB62; 06-17-2015 at 02:30 PM.

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    On Sunday, 5/31/15, Mr. Hill called me back.

    A few things came out of the conversation:

    1) he was the person to whom I needed to speak to about getting the signage changed,
    2) he had suggested to the Board, after speaking with legal counsel, that the current signage be posted,
    3) he had no intention of suggesting that the signage be changed 'because the Zoo has lots of children',
    4) he said 'So what you're saying is that you want guns at the Zoo?' - to which I responded that I had said no such thing, and that I simply wanted the Zoo to follow the law
    5) he said that he would be in touch with the Zoo's attorneys "First thing on Monday" to ask about the law supporting the signage.

    I told him that I would appreciate his e-mail address, as I wanted to send him some questions to submit to the Zoo's legal counsel. He supplied me with it, and we concluded our conversation.

  4. #4
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    Later that Sunday night, 5/31/15, at 11:13 PM, I sent Mr. Hill the following note:

    Wyndel,

    Thanks for returning my phone call this afternoon.

    I appreciate your offer to check with the Zoo’s legal counsel regarding the questions we discussed. To that end, I would very much appreciate a reply via e-mail to the following questions:

    1) Is the Zoo a public or a private entity? You may recall that I pointed out that the Zoo’s website (under “Organization”) says “Essentially the Zoo is a government agency…”

    2) My recollection is that you said the Zoo was a “political subdivision” - is it?

    3) Acknowledging that the Zoo has posted “No guns” signage, under what law(s) does the Zoo have the authority to do so?

    4) Mention was made of the Zoo possibly claiming to be a “gated amusement park”. Is this an accurate claim, and if so, how does the Zoo meet the criterion for such a designation?


    Thank you again, and I look forward to your reply.


    Cordially,

    Jeff Smith
    xxx-xxx-xxxx

  5. #5
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    At 9:00 AM Thursday (St. Louis time), 6/4/15, I called Mr. Hill back. I figured that if indeed he had spoken with legal counsel about the "No Guns" signage prior to it being posted, all it would have taken at the Zoo's law firm was for a secretary or law clerk to retrieve a paper or electronic file and forward it to Hill. That wouldn't have taken three days.

    I reached him by phone and asked where things stood. He said that the question 'probably didn't get to the attorneys until Tuesday (?), that he hadn't indicated that responding to the questions had any special priority, and that he didn't know when the questions would be answered. I felt it was a dodge, so later that day, at 3:01 PM St. Louis time, I sent him the following e-mail (which included screen captures from the Zoo's website:


    Wyndel,

    I’ve done a lot of thinking today, following my phone call to you shortly before 9AM (your time) this morning to inquire where things stood with the questions I submitted to you late Sunday regarding the Zoo’s “No Guns” signage.

    If you recall, on Sunday you said that the Zoo wanted to follow the law, yet this afternoon you said that the questions I sent ‘probably didn’t get to the attorneys’ until Tuesday, and that since you didn’t indicate to them that the questions had any special priority, you didn’t know when they would be answered. Furthermore, I understand from our conversation Sunday that you are the person who advised the Zoo board that “No Guns” signage should be posted.

    On Sunday you also said that the Zoo’s legal counsel had looked over things prior to the “No Guns” signs (although I recognize that they actually say “No Firearms Or Weapons Allowed On This Property” – image attached) initially being posted. That says to me that responding to at least my questions 1-3 ought to have been no more involved that having a law clerk pull out a file – since capable counsel would have reviewed those issues prior to advising you that it was legal for the Zoo to do so.

    Additionally, research I’ve done indicates that for years the Zoo has told some inquiring patrons, or potential patrons, that the Zoo is a “gated amusement park”. Certainly that laughable designation, despite the fact the Zoo may possess a license, and has a few rides which are checked by MO Dept of Public Safety, doesn’t make it so. I have included a few screenshots from the Zoo’s website, and amazingly enough none make it appear that the Zoo is an amusement park of any kind. Yet one would think that since the Zoo has claimed, presumably under RSMo 571.107(1)(13) that the entirety of the property is a “gated area of an amusement park” (my bold), in order to disallow concealed firearms that that information would also have been presented to, or offered by, the Zoo’s legal counsel. That takes care of my question #4.

    So what am I left to conclude? Rightly or wrongly, based on the content of our conversations and my previous experience, I think I know that your response will be, essentially, “The signs stand as posted”. But I’m not what I consider an unreasonable person, and I think that not only should respect for the law guide the Zoo’s decision-making process, but so should dialogue to address your (and possibly others) concerns, one of which you expressed in a manner such as “We don’t want guns around children”.

    The problem for me is this: I’m going to be in St. Louis later this month, and as I have done in similar circumstances, it’s my practice to give notice to various parties prior to undertaking some forms of activism involving firearms. The deadline for me to give that notice to the Zoo and various other parties is noon, St. Louis time, tomorrow, Friday, June 5, 2015.

    So, unless we can agree that the “No Guns” signage will be removed ASAP, I will send out my notice tomorrow after noon. I would like to, and we certainly can continue dialogue after I give notice, however.


    Regards,

    Jeff Smith
    xxx-xxx-xxxx

    P.S. - screen captures and copy of our previous e-mail follow, “No Guns” signage picture is attached
    Last edited by BB62; 06-17-2015 at 01:48 PM.

  6. #6
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    The next day, Friday, 6/5/15, after hearing nothing from Mr. Hill, at 2:47 PM Cincinnati time I sent him the following e-mail, copying in, either directly or indirectly, Chief Dotson, Jennifer Joyce, Chris Koster, and quite a few media members:


    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Where applicable, please pass this notice on to your employer: Jennifer Joyce, Samuel Dotson, or Chris Koster. I would also appreciate it if you would confirm receiving this e-mail.

    As you may or may not be aware, on Sunday, March 31, 2015 I spoke by telephone with Wyndel Hill, St. Louis Zoo VP of Internal Relations regarding “No Guns” signage posted at the Zoo. During the phone call Mr. Hill indicated that it was the Zoo’s intention to follow Missouri law but also indicated a desire not to have guns at the Zoo. Later Sunday I sent him an e-mail asking four specific questions about the Zoo, including its legal authority to post such signage. Having received no response, I called Mr. Hill yesterday and was told that the timetable for when I might receive a response was uncertain.

    Yesterday I sent another note to Mr. Hill, asking for confirmation that the signage would be removed, and indicating my ongoing willingness to engage in dialogue. There has been no response to that e-mail either.

    Research I’ve done indicates that for years the Zoo has told *some* inquiring patrons, or potential patrons, that the Zoo is a “gated amusement park”. Certainly that laughable designation, despite the fact the Zoo may possess such a license, and has a few rides which are checked by MO Dept of Public Safety, doesn’t make it so. I would think that more than the Zoo’s hyenas would laugh at the assertion that the entirety of the Zoo, presumably under RSMo 571.107(1)(13) is a “gated area of an amusement park” (my bold). Clearly the claim has been made in support of a desire to prohibit concealed firearms. I have attached a few screenshots from the Zoo’s website, and amazingly none make it appear that the Zoo is an amusement park of any kind.


    LEGAL NOTICE

    It’s my understanding that the St. Louis Zoo is a political subdivision of the State of Missouri, and as such must comply with all laws applicable to such entities.

    Under MRS 21.750, Missouri’s preemption statute, it’s clear that not only are gun laws preempted by the state, but also that such laws apply to political subdivisions: http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/st...100007501.html

    There is no law that I’m aware of which prohibits a legal firearms possessor from carrying a handgun on the Zoo premises.

    To that end, I and at least one other individual will be visiting the St. Louis Zoo during the period of June 13 – June 20, 2015, carrying a handgun openly and/or concealed. We will make no attempt to enter non-public areas of the Zoo.

    I’m fully aware of section 574.010 of the Missouri Revised Statutes: http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/C500-599/5740000010.HTM and its inapplicability to a visit such as is described above.


    My questions are as follows:

    1) Will there be any official attempts by St. Louis Metro Police Department (SLMPD) officers or Zoo security staff to prevent such a visit, directly, or by threat of citation or arrest?

    2) If SLMPD officers or Zoo security staff intend to prevent such a visit, please cite the legal authority under which they intend to proceed/cite/prosecute.

    3) If SLMPD officers or Zoo security staff intend to stop such a visit while it is in progress, please cite the legal authority under which they intend to proceed/cite/prosecute.

    4) Is the Zoo a public or a private entity? On the Zoo’s website (under “About/Organization”) I found “The Saint Louis Zoo is legally classified as a tax-supported political subdistrict of the State of Missouri. Essentially, the Zoo is a government agency…”

    5) Under what portion(s) of the Missouri Revised Statutes is the Zoo authorized to exist/operate?

    6) Under what law(s) does the Zoo have the authority to post “No Guns” signs?

    7) What kind of license(s) does the Zoo have to operate?

    8) Under what SIC codes does the Zoo operate?


    It's my hope and expectation that anyone who receives this email should feel free to write or call me to respond to my questions, to raise questions of your own, or to take issue with my beliefs and/or understanding of the law.

    It’s also my expectation is that law enforcement officials will recognize and uphold the laws of the United State and of Missouri, both statutory and constitutional, in accordance with their respective oaths of office.



    Cordially,

    Jeffry Smith
    xxx-xxx-xxxx
    Last edited by BB62; 06-17-2015 at 01:48 PM.

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    At 3:20 PM (Cincinnati time) on Friday, 6/5/15, I received the following e-mail from Tim Gorman of The Lowenbaum Partnership, LLC:


    Dear Mr. Smith:

    This correspondence is in follow-up to the June 4th email communication you sent to Wyndel Hill, Vice-President of Internal Relations for the Saint Louis Zoo, regarding your inquiry concerning the Zoo’s policy prohibiting weapons on its premises. Please be advised that it remains the Zoo’s position that all weapons, including concealed firearms, are prohibited within the gated area of the Zoo, and additionally please be aware that the signage regarding this issue will not be removed.

    Respectfully,

    Tim Gorman


    to which I responded a few minutes later:


    Mr. Gorman,

    Thank you for your reply.

    Would you care to reply to the questions I posed to Mr. Hill, copied below?

    1) Is the Zoo a public or a private entity? You may recall that I pointed out that the Zoo’s website (under “Organization”) says “Essentially the Zoo is a government agency…”

    2) My recollection is that you said the Zoo was a “political subdivision” - is it?

    3) Acknowledging that the Zoo has posted “No guns” signage, under what law(s) does the Zoo have the authority to do so?

    4) Mention was made of the Zoo possibly claiming to be a “gated amusement park”. Is this an accurate claim, and if so, how does the Zoo meet the criterion for such a designation?


    Jeff Smith
    xxx-xxx-xxxx

  8. #8
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    Hearing nothing back from Mr. Gorman, the Zoo's attorney, about 55 minutes later, on Friday 6/5/15, I sent him this e-mail (I forwarded a copy of this a few minutes later to the press and about an hour later, to the authorities):


    Mr. Gorman,

    I’m at a loss to understand your “position” with regard to your policy. You failed to supply any statutory or case law which supports your position. In addition, I’m unable to find any statutory or case law which supports your position. Therefore, it appears that your position is without substance.

    After all, according to the Zoo’s own website, the Zoo “…is legally classified as a tax-supported political subdistrict of the State of Missouri. Essentially, the Zoo is a government agency…”. Also, the Zoo association’s 501(C)(3) status has no bearing on the matter.

    The St. Louis Zoo is a public entity, open to the public, on land owned by the City of St. Louis - yet another political subdivision of the State of Missouri.

    It’s my intention to carry a handgun, openly or concealed, onto the Zoo premises sometime between June 13 and June 20. If there is any statutory or case law which would prohibit me from doing so, please let me know.


    Cordially,

    Jeff Smith
    xxx-xxx-xxxx


    To date, I have not received a response from Mr. Gorman.
    Last edited by BB62; 06-17-2015 at 02:02 PM.

  9. #9
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    Friday evening, as I recall after 5:00 PM Cincinnati time, I received a call at my home from Chief Dotson.

    He said that he had received my notice (indirectly). He asked when I was planning to enter the Zoo and I told him that it would be sometime from June 13 - June 20, but that I would be leaving for St. Louis either Thursday or Friday. He said that it was his understanding that the Zoo "considers itself to be an amusement park", that he would check with the City Counselor, and that he didn't think there would be a problem with me leaving Thursday because 'I think we'll have this wrapped up by Monday or Tuesday".

    I thanked him and we hung up.

  10. #10
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    On Sunday, 6/7/15, at 4:56 PM Cincinnati time I sent the following to every media contact I had. Note the coloring and bolding in the e-mail, reproduced here as it was sent:

    Status report

    I have created a Facebook event page for me and my friend Sam Peyton’s visit (at minimum) to the Zoo. (See below for contact info for Sam and I)

    https://www.facebook.com/events/1642895425925841/

    *** The time/date and the exact nature of this challenge may change ***, so please keep an eye on the event page for the latest news and schedule, because communications with the Zoo and the authorities are ongoing.

    There will be NO LONGARMS involved in this event, regardless. As I said in my notice to authorities, “To that end, I and at least one other individual will be visiting the St. Louis Zoo during the period of June 13 – June 20, 2015, carrying a handgun openly and/or concealed.”


    Chief Dotson reached out to me Friday, and will be contacting me tomorrow and/or Tuesday.

    If you didn’t see it, watch Alexis Zotos’ report, and note that the Zoo was unwilling (or I think unable) to cite a statute which supports their right to post “No Guns” signage: http://m.kmov.com/article.html#!/116862/908e9c1727a80fa632067c5448cabcfb


    I suggest that the media continue to ask them and the authorities that question, as well as the other questions I posed in my notice to the authorities:

    1) Will there be any official attempts by St. Louis Metro Police Department (SLMPD) officers or Zoo security staff to prevent such a visit, directly, or by threat of citation or arrest?

    2) If SLMPD officers or Zoo security staff intend to prevent such a visit, please cite the legal authority under which they intend to proceed/cite/prosecute.

    3) If SLMPD officers or Zoo security staff intend to stop such a visit while it is in progress, please cite the legal authority under which they intend to proceed/cite/prosecute.

    4) Is the Zoo a public or a private entity? On the Zoo’s website (under “About/Organization”) I found “The Saint Louis Zoo is legally classified as a tax-supported political subdistrict of the State of Missouri. Essentially, the Zoo is a government agency…”

    5) Under what portion(s) of the Missouri Revised Statutes is the Zoo authorized to exist/operate?

    6) Under what law(s) does the Zoo have the authority to post “No Guns” signs?

    7) What kind of license(s) does the Zoo have to operate?

    8) Under what SIC codes does the Zoo operate?



    Communication with me or Sam Peyton (the Missourian whose threatened ejection from the Zoo for wearing an empty holster started this chain of events)

    Sam can be reached at- xxx-xxx-xxxx

    I will be enroute to St. Louis later this week, and will not have the ability to easily communicate via e-mail, so the only way to contact me will be via phone/text (and I don’t do text well). Prior to my leaving Cincinnati, send me a text message and identify yourself if you want to communicate with me after Wednesday – because otherwise it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to reach each other. My cell is xxx-xxx-xxxx.

    Until at least Wednesday, I can be reached at my home number, xxx-xxx-xxxx.

    Please list my name as “Jeffry Smith” – please note the lack of an “e” at the end of my first name.



    Thank you,

    Jeff Smith

  11. #11
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    On Tuesday, 6/9/15, at 11:46 AM Cincinnati time I sent the following e-mail to the authorities, Mr. Hill, the Zoo's attorney, and the media. Again, note the coloring and bolding in the e-mail, reproduced here as it was sent:


    (I would appreciate it if those who work for law enforcement officials would pass this on to their employer, because the subject matter below is also directed to them)


    Chief Dotson,

    Since you appear to be the point-man on my proposed armed visit to the Zoo, I’m addressing this note to you.

    Thank you for your call Friday. I know that you said you would call me yesterday or today, after you spoke with legal counsel, and I know the clock hasn’t run out yet.

    Despite that, I felt I should write you because the Zoo has put out some initial legal justification for their “No Guns” signage – and I think it appropriate to respond preemptively. You can find their reported comments here: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/c...e9634b65f.html

    One such justification appears to be a reference to “several provisions” of RSMo 571.107: http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/st...100001071.HTML While I can only speculate what the “several” provisions are, based on the Zoo’s historical response to some patrons/potential patrons, I can guess that the Zoo may again put forward the claim that it’s a “gated amusement park”. (Apparently the Zoo ignored the fact that, at least at one entrance, stands an approximately 35 foot vertical pillar which says “ZOO”)

    To the best of my knowledge, Missouri statutory law doesn’t define “amusement park”, nor does Missouri case law. Again, to my knowledge, the case law only deals with so called amusement parks that are for profit entertainment businesses. Additionally, there is no case law defining a zoo as an amusement park. Does the Zoo have a few amusement rides? Yes. Does this make it an amusement park? NO. Not even state regulations define an “amusement park” - the state regulates amusement rides (RSMo 316.203 - 316.233), not amusement parks.

    So where is one to turn? Your legal counsel would probably first turn to case law. I encourage them to read the following case:

    Wolff Shoe Co. v. Director of Revenue, 762 SW 2d 29 - Mo: Supreme Court 1988

    The primary rule of statutory construction is to ascertain the intent of the legislature from the language used, to give effect to that intent if possible, and to consider the words used in their plain and ordinary meaning. Metro Auto Auction v. Director of Revenue, 707 S.W.2d 397, 401 (Mo. banc 1986). And, where a statute's language is clear and unambiguous, there is no room for construction. Id. In determining whether the language is clear and unambiguous, the standard is whether the statute's terms are plain and clear to one of ordinary intelligence. Alheim v. F.W. Mullendore, 714 S.W.2d 173, 176 (Mo.App. 1986). Moreover, the plain and unambiguous language of a statute cannot be made ambiguous by administrative interpretation and thereby given a meaning which is different from that expressed in a statute's clear and unambiguous language. Blue Springs Bowl v. Spradling, 551 S.W.2d 596, 600 (Mo. banc 1977). (my underline)

    Of course they could also look to RSMo 184.352 (15) which refers to the Zoo thus: "Zoological subdistrict" shall consist of such institutions and places for the collection and exhibition of animals and animal life, for the instruction and recreation of the people, for the promotion of zoology and kindred subjects, for the encouragement of zoological study and research and for the increase of public interest in wild animals and in the protection of wild animal life. Amazingly, it doesn’t say anything about the Zoo subdistrict including an amusement park. http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/ch...apText184.html

    I’m sure that the Zoo’s counsel is engaged in all sorts of legal gymnastics to justify the identification of the Zoo as some kind of entity, ANY kind of entity in order to bar firearms from within its gates, but back to the discussion of “amusement park”… If all the above isn’t sufficient, then I suggest legal counsel look to common sense.

    Bringing in a reference to the Missouri Constitution, Article 1, Section 23, I daresay that protection of the right to keep and bear arms, unalienable, subject to strict scrutiny, and which you and other law enforcement officials are obligated to uphold and protect against infringement, should not be subject to the legal contortions the Zoo has or may use to enforce their biases, rather than the law. This also applies to the threatened removal of my friend from the Zoo for wearing an empty holster.


    Cordially,

    Jeff Smith
    xxx-xxx-xxxx




    Article 1, Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution (colloquially referred to as “Amendment 5) http://ballotpedia.org/Article_I,_Mi...ion#Section_23

    That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms, ammunition, and accessories typical to the normal function of such arms, in defense of his home, person, family and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned.

    The rights guaranteed by this section shall be unalienable. Any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny and the state of Missouri shall be obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement.

    Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the general assembly from enacting general laws which limit the rights of convicted violent felons or those duly adjudged mentally infirm by a court of competent jurisdiction.

  12. #12
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    On Wednesday, 6/10/15, at 9:07 AM, I sent the following to the Zoo's attorney, Tim Gorman, copying in Mr. Hill, the media, and the authorities (Dotson, Joyce, Koster + 2 other attorneys who work for Koster):


    I would appreciate it if those who work for law enforcement officials would pass this on to their employer, because the subject matter below is also directed to them.


    Mr. Gorman,

    For at least two days, Zoo spokeswoman Susan Gallagher has told various media members a version of what she told a reporter from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

    {Begin quote} Zoo spokeswoman Susan Gallagher said she could not answer questions about the issue but provided a statement saying, “It is the St. Louis Zoo’s position that all weapons, including concealed firearms, are prohibited within the gated area of the zoo.” The statement said the zoo’s weapons ban also relied on “numerous state statues” including several provisions of state statute 571.107 “that support our position that weapons are prohibited.” The statement did not specify which parts of the law apply to the zoo. {End quote}

    Found here: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/c...bm6VbQ.twitter

    Five days ago, I asked you directly for the statutes or case law which would prohibit me from carrying a handgun, openly or concealed, onto the Zoo premises. To date you haven’t responded.

    Just so we’re clear, I’m asking you for any statutes, case law, orders, rules, regulations, ordinances, etc. which buttress the Zoo’s weapons prohibition “position” inside the gates. Please be specific.

    Thank you.


    Cordially,

    Jeff Smith
    xxx-xxx-xxxx
    Last edited by BB62; 06-17-2015 at 02:44 PM.

  13. #13
    Accomplished Advocate BB62's Avatar
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    On Wedneday, 6/10/15, at 12:45 PM Cincinnati time, I sent the following to the authorities, the Zoo's attorney, Mr. Hill, members of the media, and Roi Chinn (to whom I had spoken about the situation):


    (I would appreciate it if those who work for law enforcement officials would pass this on to their employer, because the subject matter below is also directed to them)


    Chief Dotson,

    When we spoke on the phone last Friday, I told you that I planned to be en route to St. Louis from Cincinnati on Thursday or Friday, and wouldn’t be able to effectively respond to your reply about the legality of my proposed armed Zoo visit. You indicated that it wouldn’t be a problem, because you figured the matter would be resolved by Tuesday at the latest. Well, that’s come and gone, and I still haven’t received a specific response from Zoo, and no response from you or any other law enforcement authority. I’m very disappointed.

    Your department even told the Post-Dispatch that “the city’s legal division is researching the legality of the event” and would provide an update of what they conclude” – yet still, nothing has been forthcoming.

    What am I to conclude? That you, other law enforcement authorities, and the Zoo want me to possibly risk my financial and/or physical liberty because a simple question (the answer to which was allegedly researched by the Zoo’s legal counsel prior to the posting of “No Guns” signage), is too uncomfortable to answer?? Certainly you, and if not you, then certainly the Circuit Attorney or the Attorney General can do better than that. Maybe Roi Chinn can get somewhere with it.

    Again, I would like a specific response to my question prior to my departing for St. Louis.


    Additional analysis

    Yesterday I addressed the possibility of the Zoo claiming to be an “amusement park” (below) in order to disallowed concealed carry of firearms. Today I’m going to address the balance of the Zoo’s claim, as reported in the Post-Dispatch, that “the zoo’s weapons ban also relied on… …several provisions of state statute 571.107 “that support our position that weapons are prohibited.” http://tinyurl.com/p3fkyp5 (newspaper article) http://tinyurl.com/orlpxwt (state statute 571.107)

    As you know, state statute 571.107 lists 17 specific or specific types of places where a concealed carry permit does not authorize a person to carry a concealed firearm, one of which is the aforementioned “gated area of an amusement park”. I’ve looked carefully at subsections 1-17, and I invite all parties to this e-mail to also do so.

    Is the Zoo claiming to be a police station (#1), a polling place on election day (#2), a jail (#3), a riverboat gambling operation (#12), a hospital (#17), or just what? I’m bewildered.

    Wait, I think I’ve found it! Maybe the Zoo thinks it’s a municipality! (#6)

    Well, if it is a municipality, it’s subject to RSMo 21.750, the statute that preempts any governmental entity other than the state from “…adopt(ing) any order, ordinance or regulation…” concerning firearms. http://tinyurl.com/q4lwbt3 (subsection 2) Furthermore, if the Zoo claims it’s a municipality, a person with a concealed carry permit could carry openly on the grounds and in the buildings, despite municipal ordinances to the contrary: RSMo 21.750 (3)(2).

    I could go on and on, analyzing each subsection of RSMo 571.107, one of the statutes the Zoo is claiming for cover, but to what end? Why not simply acknowledge that no matter which way the Zoo turns, if concealed carry can be prohibited, then open carry can’t, and vice versa?

    As far as I’m concerned, the Zoo should just drop its claims and remove the signage. The current “position” just leaves guns in cars, where they can be and are stolen, and does nothing else except satisfy those who are ill-informed or have a disdain for guns. Would there be a few people who would openly carry? Of course. Is that the end of the world? Only for the people I just described.

    So, please quit the game-playing, Chief (and the rest of you), and just answer my question - specifically. Thank you.


    Cordially,

    Jeff Smith
    xxx-xxx-xxxx
    Last edited by BB62; 06-17-2015 at 02:49 PM.

  14. #14
    Accomplished Advocate BB62's Avatar
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    The ONLY response I ever got from Chief Dotson prior to the TRO being issued came from his secretary, on Wednesday, 6/10/15, at 2:55 PM:

    "Chief Dotson has received your email and he is waiting for guidance from the City attorneys."

  15. #15
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    On Thursday, 6/11/15, at 5:54 PM Cincinnati time, I sent the following to the authorities, the Zoo's attorney, the press and Roi Chinn:


    (I would appreciate it if those who work for law enforcement officials would pass this on to their employer, because the subject matter below is also directed to them)


    Chief Dotson,

    After repeated outreach to the Zoo, the Zoo’s attorney, you, and other law enforcement authorities, everyone appears to think that a lack of substantial response, or silence, is going to intimidate me into not fully challenging the Zoo’s “position” or “No Guns” signage posting. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    As I have been unable to ascertain any lawful authority for the Zoo to ban firearms and no one receiving these emails has provided any such authority, I intend to enter the public gated area of the Zoo carrying a sidearm. I expect to do be able to do so peaceably and without disturbance as it is an entirely lawful act.

    Regarding the Zoo’s rules and regulations, the Zoo may exclude people who “…willfully violate such rules.” (RSMo 184.362) BUT, the Zoo’s rules must be lawful, and one must “willfully” violate them. To that end, If I’m asked to leave by a Zoo employee or subcontractor, I will first ask what rule it is that I am violating. Assuming it’s related to the fact that I’m carrying a firearm, I will refuse to leave. Law enforcement may be contacted. Once the officer(s) arrive, if I’m again asked to leave, I will politely ask the officer the same question, and I’ll ask that it be noted on the citation I’m issued when I refuse to leave. Once I am given a citation, I will promptly and politely leave the Zoo without further discussion. Except for not leaving prior to being issued a citation, I will comply with all other lawful orders of the officer(s).

    I’ll have a recording device running, and I’m sure the media who will tag along will also have theirs.

    The analysis below is the understanding of law on which I will rely in order to act in accordance with the law. I’m sure your legal counsel will recognize that the rule of lenity applies.


    Further analysis of why the Zoo’s “position”, “No Guns” signage, and potential “rules” violations for carrying a firearm at the Zoo are contrary to Missouri Law

    (Any bolding, underlining or coloring below is mine)

    RSMo 21.750 preempts political subdivisions in matters relating to firearms thus: “21.750. 1. The general assembly hereby occupies and preempts the entire field of legislation touching in any way firearms, components, ammunition and supplies to the complete exclusion of any order, ordinance or regulation by any political subdivision of this state. Any existing or future orders, ordinances or regulations in this field are hereby and shall be null and void except as provided in subsection 3 of this section.”

    Subsection 2 of RSMo 21.750 spells out the types of things which are preempted: “2. No county, city, town, village, municipality, or other political subdivision of this state shall adopt any order, ordinance or regulation concerning in any way the sale, purchase, purchase delay, transfer, ownership, use, keeping, possession, bearing, transportation, licensing, permit, registration, taxation other than sales and compensating use taxes or other controls on firearms, components, ammunition, and supplies except as provided in subsection 3 of this section.”

    RSMO 21.750.3(1) allows any ordinance of any political subdivision which conforms exactly with 571.010 to 571.070 “…with appropriate penalty provisions, or which regulates the open carrying of firearms.” The District and Subdistricts existing under RSMo 184 get their rule/regulation powers from 184.362, and nowhere in 184.362 or elsewhere in Section 184 do they have any authority to write, create or pass an ordinance - they can only create reasonable rules and regulations that “may not be inconsistent with the provisions of law”.

    If the legislature intended to equate rules and regulations with ordinances, it wouldn’t have made the distinction between orders, ordinances, and regulations in RSMo 21.750 (1) and (2).

    To summarize the above: because of RSMo 21.750 (1) and (2), the Zoo can’t make orders, rules or regulations regarding concealed carry, and because the Zoo can’t create ordinances in the first place, it can’t regulate open carry either.


    Next we come to RSMo 571.107, which lists specific or specific types of places where a concealed carry permit does not authorize a person to carry a concealed firearm. The Zoo doesn’t fit ANY of those places. I’ve already discussed the Zoo’s dubious ploy to identify itself as an amusement park via 571.107 (13). I also mentioned that the Zoo might consider itself a “municipality”, but it isn’t – it’s a subdistrict. AND, it can’t create ordinances, which are referenced in 21.750 (1), (2), and (3). Simply, the Zoo isn’t, as RSMo 571.107 (6) refers to, the “general assembly, supreme court, county or municipality” - entities which are allowed to post signage barring concealed carry under that subsection. Furthermore, the last sentence of 571.107(6) reads “The provisions of this subdivision shall not apply to any other unit of government.” The Zoo is an entity created under RSMo 184, not a municipality, and as such can’t post signage or any other concealed carry restriction in buildings or otherwise. (Even though the Zoo doesn’t fit any of the descriptions in subsections 1-17 of RSMo 571.107, it should be noted that nothing in the section restricts open carry in those places)


    Finally, let’s look at the subject of open carry restrictions alone. Can the Zoo restrict open carry of firearms and still comply with RSMo 21.750? RSMo 21.750.3(2) states “In any jurisdiction in which the open carrying of firearms is prohibited by ordinance, the open carry of firearms shall not be prohibited…” Well, the Zoo can’t ban open carry by ordinance (since it can’t create one), but can it make a rule or regulation to do so? NO. RSMo 21.750 (1) & (2) preempts entities other than the state from addressing firearms “in any way”, and RSMo 21.750 (3) applies only to entities which can create ordinances, and since the Zoo can’t, it has no power to restrict open carry either. Even if the city of St. Louis, if it chose to disregard Article 1, Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution, were to attempt to enforce its open carry ban on the Zoo premises, it should be noted that anyone with a concealed carry permit/endorsement or its equivalent would be exempt.


    Trespass

    As established above, the Zoo doesn’t have any authority to post “No Guns” signs or to bar concealed or open carry of firearms in any publicly open area of the Zoo. As such it is impossible for any representative of the Zoo to give a lawful order not to enter or remain in or at a public areas of the Zoo because someone is carry a firearm or firearm accessory. I strongly suggest that you inform your officers of the totality of the situation, as it’s my assertion that there could be significant legal jeopardy for any officer and their superior(s) if they were to enforce any request they know, or should have known, to be unlawful.

    Per RSMo 184.362. “The use and enjoyment of such institutions and places, museums and parks of any and all of the subdistricts established under RSMo 184.350 to RSMO 184.384 “shall be forever free and open to the public” and then under RSMo 569.140. “1. A person commits the crime of trespass in the first degree if he knowingly enters unlawfully or knowingly remains unlawfully in a building or inhabitable structure or upon real property”, but that is predicated on RSMo 569.010: “As used in this chapter the following terms mean: …(2) "Enter unlawfully or remain unlawfully", a person enters or remains in or upon premises when he or she is not licensed or privileged to do so. A person who, regardless of his or her purpose, enters or remains in or upon premises which are at the time open to the public does so with license and privilege unless he or she defies a lawful order not to enter or remain, personally communicated to him or her by the owner of such premises or by other authorized person”.



    In conclusion

    If the above understanding or interpretation of the law differs from that of your legal counsel, please contact me ASAP, or have someone deliver a legal brief to me at the Zoo.

    I don’t think I have to spell things out further than I have in my repeated communications, Chief. I’ve given you and everyone else ample, repeated notice. I think you recognize the potential civil liability on the part of various individuals and entities for ignoring all that I’ve sent your way. I also think you recognize the potential for a piercing of qualified immunity if your officers, or the officers of a police department which could reasonably be expected to be present issue an unlawful order or otherwise violate my Constitutional rights under the United States or the Missouri Constitution.

    I’m planning to leave Cincinnati later this afternoon, and as I told you last Friday, I don’t have all the computing/records access which I do while at home. Please call or text me on my cell phone (xxx-xxx-xxxx) if you wish to contact me after 6:00 PM your time this evening..

    I’ll close with reference to Article 1, Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution: remember that the protection of the right to keep and bear arms, unalienable, subject to strict scrutiny, and which you and other law enforcement officials are obligated to uphold and protect against infringement, must be part of your analysis of the legality of my above described course of action.



    Cordially,


    Jeff Smith
    xxx-xxx-xxxx (until 6:00 PM your time this evening)



    Article 1, Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution (colloquially referred to as “Amendment 5) http://ballotpedia.org/Article_I,_Mi...ion#Section_23

    That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms, ammunition, and accessories typical to the normal function of such arms, in defense of his home, person, family and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned.

    The rights guaranteed by this section shall be unalienable. Any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny and the state of Missouri shall be obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement.

    Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the general assembly from enacting general laws which limit the rights of convicted violent felons or those duly adjudged mentally infirm by a court of competent jurisdiction.
    Last edited by BB62; 06-17-2015 at 03:33 PM.

  16. #16
    Accomplished Advocate BB62's Avatar
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    On Thursday, 6/11/15, at 6:53 PM I sent out the following to the authorities, the Zoo, and the press:


    The event will be Saturday, June 13 at 1:30 PM, gate to be determined.

  17. #17
    Accomplished Advocate BB62's Avatar
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    Because I had foolishly waited on the Chief or someone, anyone, to respond to all my communications, I didn't leave for St. Louis until Friday morning. I sent the following e-mail to the press, copying in the authorities, Mr. Hill, and the Zoo's attorney:


    To the media (and the authorities),

    Even as late as this morning I am still being asked if the Zoo is an “amusement park”, so instead of getting on the road, I will answer the question one more time. <sigh>

    If you’ve been following my communications you would have seen that as far back as May, 31, in my first communication with the Zoo, I asked: “Mention was made of the Zoo possibly claiming to be a “gated amusement park”. Is this an accurate claim, and if so, how does the Zoo meet the criterion for such a designation?” To date I’ve gotten NO response to that question from anyone at the Zoo, nor anyone in law enforcement - despite repeated, specific questions and analysis about that and other things.

    Why haven’t all of you asked the Zoo and the authorities the same question repeatedly, and noted that the Zoo and the authorities are unwilling (or unable) to answer such a simple question??

    I know you probably don’t think of the Zoo as a governmental entity, but it is: “Essentially, the Zoo is a government agency…” http://www.stlzoo.org/about/organization/

    So, your government, both the Zoo and the authorities, won’t answer a question, the definition of which may very well be the basis for prosecution, if the authorities choose to go that route. Yes, if the authorities choose the malicious prosecution route, instead of cooler heads prevailing, I suspect the case may very well hinge on the definition of “amusement park” and how or if the Zoo can be shoehorned into that definition.

    You’ve got a day and a half to ask the questions that I’ve previosuly posed and get specific answers rather than no answers, vague, non-answers or “statements”. If you’re able to get somewhere, please let me know. If not, the fact that you can’t ought to be very troubling to those of you who believe in government accountability, and in the notion that someone’s financial and physical freedom, regardless of the degree, ought not to be at risk because of unresponsive officials intent on covering each other’s behinds. You may also want to re-review my e-mail below.

    Finally, recall this all started because some overbearing Zoo security staff member ejected a friend of mine from the Zoo for wearing an EMPTY holster.


    Thank you,

    Jeff Smith
    xxx-xxx-xxxx (cell phone, text or calls only)

    P.S. Malicious prosecution: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedicti...us+prosecution

  18. #18
    Accomplished Advocate BB62's Avatar
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    On Friday, during my drive to St. Louis, I received phone call after phone call from reporters. At one point in the day a reporter called (and later more did) asking if I knew that a temporary restraining order had been sought, then later that it had been granted.

    The reporters told me what was prohibited, so I called Richard Lofftus and asked that he post on the Facebook event page that it would be empty holster.

    At the Zoo I was personally served with the TRO.

    You since may have read or watched various media reports - every one of which I've seen or read was inaccurate in some way.

    Well, that's it - ask away, and please distribute this link to those who you feel could make a difference - legally or financially. This fight isn't just about me, it's about whether Amendment 5/Article 1, Section 23 means anything whether a governmental entity can get away with calling itself what it wants to suit the biases of those in charge, etc. The TRO is absurdly broad.

    In the meanwhile, I'm reaching out to every resource I can think of, including the national gun groups. My request to readers of this thread is that you 1) spread the word, 2) do the same, and 3) let me know if you feel you would be willing to assist financially with a legal challenge.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by BB62; 06-17-2015 at 07:48 PM.

  19. #19
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    Please post a non-PayPal drop for money, maybe a GoFundME. Best wishes.
    I am responsible for my writing, not your understanding of it.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    Please post a non-PayPal drop for money, maybe a GoFundME. Best wishes.
    Great idea Nightmare, hopefully BB62 will do just that. We all need to get behind him with anything we might be able to do. I will pledge 300 dollars and do what every else he might need done. This is our chance to stand up for our 2nd Amendment rights.

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    Yes, please post donation options.

  22. #22
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    My apologies if you've already covered this. I saw this claim in their press release. Would this not make their ban lawful?

    "The Zoo also falls into the educational institution exemption because it operates a licensed child care facility—a preschool that uses the entire 90-acre campus of the Zoo as its classroom. The Zoo also conducts camps for adults and children from preschool to Grade 12, and these camps use the entire campus of the Zoo. School field trips and scout and youth group outings bring thousands of children to all parts of the Zoo on a daily basis for educational purposes."
    "I support the ban on assault weapons" - Donald Trump

    We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission - Ayn Rand

  23. #23
    Accomplished Advocate BB62's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC4me View Post
    Yes, please post donation options.
    Thanks to Nightmare, logunowner, and OC4me for your offers.

    I'm currently trying to find an attorney and simultaneously evaluate the best way to proceed: least money, biggest results. You'll understand if I don't spell things out completely on a public forum.

    When I have more clarity, you can count a course of action, as well as donation avenues, being spelled out.

    Thanks again.

  24. #24
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    I'm happy to help donate. How did your talk with Kevin go?

    Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk

  25. #25
    Accomplished Advocate BB62's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kcgunfan View Post
    I'm happy to help donate. How did your talk with Kevin go?

    Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
    Thank you, and please check your PM's.

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