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Thread: The Mall at Steamtown ,Scranton PA.

  1. #1
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    First let me say I am a Railfan. I have been photographing and watching trains for years. I have been carrying a concealed weapon for about three years. In fact it was a confrontation with a homeless person who threatened to relieve me of my camcorder, that lead to my getting a permit. In the course of photographing trains I have been in some remote places. Carrying expensive camera and video equipment alone into remote locations can be dangerous.

    One of my favorite subjects is Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton Pa. The site is run by the National Park Service, so weapons are verboten. However Steamtown National Historic Site is right next to The Mall at Steamtown. Both are connected by a symbiotic relationship and walkway/bridge. On the west end of the mall is a multi-level parking garage. I have parked on the top deck and taken photos for at least ten years. It actually is the perfect place to view the park and watch train movements.

    On this particular day, May 15, 2006, I was on the roof deck snapping away as I have many times in the past. However this day my Ruger 345 was in an OWB holster on my right hip. I had taken off my jacket as it was getting warmer. My sweatshirt had ridden up and the gun was exposed for all to see. I know that PA is an open carry state, so I figured what the heck. I am ashamed to report that I was so engrossed in the movements of Canadian Pacific train that I was surrounded by four guys from mall security before I was aware of their presence. My Bad.
    The nice young man in the sharp uniform informed me that the mall had a policy against taking pictures. I asked how long this policy had been in effect,he said" Forever". "Security and Liability reasons you know." One of the posse then asked why I was carrying a weapon.
    I replied "Because the Second Ammendment says I can" To which he said " Do You have a permit for the weapon sir" my retort was " I don't need one, and you have no business asking" He looked befuddled.
    Knowing that I was in fact on private property,and expecting the emminent arrival of Scranton P.D investigating the terrorist with a gun call. I went to my vehicle and promptly left. Funny part was as I was leaving one of the posse was photographing my vehicle as I drove away. Different rules I guess.

    I find it amazing that I have taken photos from the exact same location many times throughout the years. I have see many tourists snapping away all throughout the mall property and the bridge/walkway that connects to the historic site. Now all of a sudden it is against mall policy. I think that policy only applies to stupid old men who are careless about exposing their sidearm and alarming the sheeple

    I have been carrying concealed in this mall for years.I have never seen a sign banning cameras or guns. I have no intentions of asking about either. I wasn't asked to leave so if I go back I will not be trespassing.

    I would like to contribute this to the open carry discussion. If my gun had stayed concealed I would not have been bothered. Just another old fart taking pictures. The gun made me a threat and a target.
    In the future I think I will stay in stealth mode.


  2. #2
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    Sir, it distresses me that you have received the unwelcome attentions of the deadly Mall Ninjas!Please remain resolute, and do not let them rattle you!

    TrueBrit.

  3. #3
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    Hello Neo,

    Sorry about your incident. I think the reason why you are being harrass by the rent-a-cop was because of the area. I work at one of the office about a few miles away from the Steamtown mall. A couple of years ago, my office building was photograph and being target as one of the building to take down by the terrorists. FBI were all over the area after they find out about the photographs. I can certain understand how paranoid people in the area became even since the news broke out. I have to go through metal detector and X-ray before I walk into the building everyday. What a pain that was!

    I don't agree the "Forever" no weapon policy reponse. I think it's something the security guard came up on a whimp.

    I am also a photographer. It's getting more difficult everyday trying to take picture in public area.

  4. #4
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    To all, this is my first post here, I have been lurking for a while though.

    I will say that you did the right thing by leaving without being told to leave, thus you are not tresspassing if and when you go back.

    I have worked as a security guard and still do at times, that is before I had my life turned upside down by Hurricane Katrina. I know what the rights of a security guard are here in mississippi, but not what they are in Pa. I can tell you that I would have asked for the written documentation that stated that taking pictures was forbidden and for the written documentation that open carry of a firearm is forbidden. If the guard could not generate the documents then I would ask to speak to a supervisor, and keep going up until I either get a copy of the documentation or I find that the guard was overstepping his bounds, and if the police were to show up, I belive that they would understand the request for paperwork. That way they are off the hook if the case were to go beyond the initial contact.

    Double J



  5. #5
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    i'm not surprised, considering the ignorance of the lackawanna county sheriff's office concerning open/concealed carry laws. i received my CCL a few months ago, right here in scranton. when i asked the sheriff some questions, he was absolutely clueless, or lied:

    "is this permit valid across the state?"
    "yes, except for philly."

    "how about open carry? am i allowed to do that?"
    "not within city limits."

    "how about reciprocity?"
    "pennsylvania doesn't recognize out of state permits except florida's."

    "where am i not allowed to carry?"
    "uh, state parks, local parks, banks, event arenas, and public events. avoid malls and theatres too, 'cause i'm not too sre about them."

    get the picture?

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