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Thread: PA LTCF's strength in PA K-12 schools to be tested

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    this could be momentous, or tragic, for philly and I wonder how Lopez will play out

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    WOW, you can really see which way that paper leans. I have been a little leery of this myself, since I do not disarm before dropping the youngster off at school.

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    Back in February I asked Representative Sam Smith, House Majority Leader, how an LTCF or carry for a lawful purpose applied against Section 912. This was his response then:



    Thank you for contacting me in regard to your interest in Commonwealth laws regarding firearms. I always appreciate the opportunity to respond to these questions and appreciate your continued interest in this matter.



    In your letter, you had inquired about the meaning of the phrase "possessed for other lawful purpose" found in 18 Pa.C.S. § 912(c) relating to possession of weapon on school property. Specifically, you wondered if this language recognized a Pennsylvania license to carry a firearm as a "lawful purpose."



    Section 912, enacted in 1980, reads as follows:



    "Possession of weapon on school property.

    (a) Definition.—Notwithstanding the definition of "weapon" in section 907 (relating to possessing instruments of crime), "weapon" for purposes of this section shall include but not be limited to any knife, cutting instrument, cutting tool, nun-chuck stick, firearm, shotgun, rifle and any other tool, instrument or implement capable of inflicting serious bodily injury.

    (b) Offense defined.—A person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if he possesses a weapon in the buildings of, on the grounds of or in any conveyance providing transportation to or from any elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational institution, any elementary or secondary private school licensed by the Department of Education or any elementary or secondary parochial school.

    (c) Defense.—It shall be a defense that the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course or is possessed for other lawful purpose."



    According to House legal staff, at least two statewide courts have had the opportunity to address the issue of possession of firearms on school property by an individual who was licensed pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. § 6109. Neither has issued an absolute rule.



    Legal staff further indicated that in Commonwealth v. Heidler, the Pennsylvania Superior Court specifically refused to answer the question of whether an individual with a license to carry a firearm possessed such firearm for a lawful purpose on school grounds. 741 A.2d 213, 217, fn 8 (1999), app. denied 758 A.2d 660 (Pa. 2000). In Bolden v. Chartiers Valley School District, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania noted that, "(w)e need not address Bolden's argument that because his gun was registered his conduct falls within the exception to Section 912 which states that no crime is committed if Bolden possessed the gun with a lawful purpose. We note, however, that Bolden's argument ignores that the exception to Section 912 only allows possession of a firearm...for '[an] other lawful purpose' (meaning, for example, than an investigator, or a security guard, or other person who as part of his or her duties carries a firearm will not be charged with a crime...)." 869 A.2d 1 134. 1139. fn 7 (2005).



    The decision in Bolden, in particular the examples provided by the court in footnote 7, should give pause to an individual licensed under 18 Pa.C.S. § 6109. Although there is no iron-clad rule, in neither case did the court consider a license as a defense to a violation of the Crimes Code language concerning possession of weapons on school property. Until a definitive court ruling on this question, an individual would be in jeopardy of prosecution. It is worth noting that the penalty for a conviction under 18 Pa.C.S § 912 would be a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.



    It is hoped that this information is useful. If I can be of further assistance on this or other legislative matters, please do not hesitate to contact my office.



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    Any updates on this case?

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    WOW! She was asked to take the firearm out of the school...


    She had a license to carry the firearm, but was taken into custody when she refused to take the weapon out of the school, said school district spokesman Fernando Gallard. He declined to give the woman's identity, saying only that she was a parent and, to his knowledge, she was not a police officer. The woman wanted to check in the gun at the school office and pick it up as she left, said district Chief Executive Officer Paul Vallas.

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    School superintendent Paul Vallas was the former school superintendent for the Chicago Public Schools. I am sure they indoctrinated him well.

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    ne1 wrote:
    Any updates on this case?
    I have not heard why don't you ask the reporter?

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    DKSuddeth wrote:
    this could be momentous, or tragic, for philly and I wonder how Lopez will play out
    Lopez will be irrelevent because the LTCF constitutes an exemption from the federal statute and only a state law is at issue here. However, a conviction on this charge will make her a prohibited possessor under federal law because Pennsylvania is one of the few states that have misdemeanors punishable by felony-length jail sentences.
    James M. "Jim" Mullins, Jr., Esq.
    Admitted to practice in West Virginia and Florida.

    Founder, Past President, Treasurer, and General Counsel, West Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc.
    Life Member, NRA

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