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Thread: Peters TWP passes illegal (preempted) law banning firearms from twp property.

  1. #1
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    This article was posted on PAFOA (http://www.pafoa.org/forum/concealed-open-carry-121/7576-legal.html)

    [McMURRAY] - Firearms will be prohibited in Peters Township parks and buildings under an ordinance adopted Monday by the township council.

    Violation of the ordinance is a summary offense, punishable by a fine of up to $500. Prohibited firearms specifically defined in the ordinance are pistols, revolvers, shotguns and rifles. The ordinance also prohibits possession of any "other implement for the infliction of serious bodily injury which serves no common lawful purpose."

    The buildings included in the prohibition are the municipal building, library, police station, public works facility, tennis center and recreation center. The parks restricted include Peterswood Park, Peters Lake Park, Rees Park, Venetia Park, Elm Grove Park, Arrowhead Trail and Old Trail Park.

    The ordinance states that posessing a dangerous weapon in township buildings and facilities "poses an unnessary risk of harm and anxiety to township employees, residents and visitors."

    Councilman Frank Arcuri said he received e-mails from some residents objecting to the ordinance, saying they carry weapons at Peters Lake Park while fishing because it is a somewhat isolated area.

    Councilman Robert Lewis said he lives adjacent to the park and he was looking at the ordinance as another enforcement tool against what he said is the regular discharge of weapons in the park during hunting season.
    Link to article: http://www.observer-reporter.com/OR/...PT_no_firearms

    This is clearly preempted per TITLE 18 Chapter 61 Subchapter A § 6120.

    I am writing a letter to the editor fo the paper in hopes they inform the citizens of Peters TWP about this illegal act by their twp council.

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    After the media fuss over Philadelphia lately, these guys have to know they're pre-empted.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Citizen wrote:
    After the media fuss over Philadelphia lately, these guys have to know they're pre-empted.
    I know, it doesn't make sense. They are either too stupid or they think they can supercede the state.

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    Here is my LTE draft.

    Corrections & comments welcome:


    This letter is in reference to the article entitled "Peters Twp. adopts ban on guns in parks, buildings " as ran in your publication on 11 July 2007.

    Your readers may be interested to know that the law Peters Twp passed is in direct violation of PA statute TITLE 18 Chapter 61 Subchapter A § 6120 "Limitation on the regulation of firearms and ammunition."

    I quote the relevant section of the statute:
    "(a) General rule.--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."
    Note that there are no exceptions to this portion of the statute.
    Also note that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has upheld that carrying a firearm is considered "possession" per the above statute. [Ortiz v. Commonwealth. 545 Pa. 279, 681 A.2d 152 (1996]

    I find it amazing that the township council would enact a law, by way of using township monies and resources, that is not enforceable and illegally enacted. Are they ignorant of the laws they must follow?
    This is a serious issue. Furthermore, this township law is potentially exposing law enforcement officers to second degree misdemeanor charges or worse if they were to try and enforce this preempted local code, provided they knew it was preempted.

    There is a good reason these type of laws are now preempted by the commonwealth. Localities can not deny citizens rights guaranteed by the constitution of this commonwealth.

    In my opinion it is time for citizens of Peters Township to take a serious look at whom they choose to represent them, right after they mobilize to have the council remove this preempted law.

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    No suggestions or comments?
    I want to fire this off today

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    Looks good.

    I'm not sure the individual police officer would get in trouble for enforcing the ordinance. You might delete that part.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

  7. #7
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    From my understanding of PA atatues, I believe it puts LEO in a position of being chaged if he enforced a regulation that is preempted IF he knows it is preempted.
    Not 100% but that's the way it reads to me.
    So with that I worded it as "exposing LEO..."

    Maybe I should edit it to read "could expose LEO to... "
    ???


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    Pa. Patriot wrote:
    Here is my LTE draft.

    Corrections & comments welcome:


    This letter is in reference to the article entitled "Peters Twp. adopts ban on guns in parks, buildings " as ran in your publication on 11 July 2007.

    Your readers may be interested to know that the law Peters Twp passed in in direct violation of PA statute TITLE 18 Chapter 61 Subchapter A § 6120 "Limitation on the regulation of firearms and ammunition."

    I quote the relevant section of the statute:
    "(a) General rule.--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."

    Note that there are no exceptions to this portion of the statute.

    This is a serious issue. Does the township realize that they are potentially exposing law enforcement officers to second degree misdemeanor charges or worse if they were to try and enforce this preempted local code?

    Localities can not deny citizens rights guaranteed by the constitution of this commonwealth.
    I would cut out some of your opinion, hoping they would see past any possible hidden agenda and actually see it as fully factual. IMHO

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    BIG SHAFE wrote:
    I would cut out some of your opinion, hoping they would see past any possible hidden agenda and actually see it as fully factual. IMHO
    I did consider this very thing.
    But, we are talking about a letter to the editor. It's my understanding (heard/read somwhere) that a letter to the editor is somewhat expected to be opinionated and that dry, fact-this and law-that type letters are less likely to get published.
    I don't know if this is true but sounded plausible to me...
    Anyone able to support or refute this rumor, I'de be interested to hear...


    Oh! ETA:
    I may send a similar letter to the twp council. That letter will be devoid of any opinion.


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    Pa. Patriot wrote:
    Here is my LTE draft.

    Corrections & comments welcome:


    This letter is in reference to the article entitled "Peters Twp. adopts ban on guns in parks, buildings " as ran in your publication on 11 July 2007.

    Your readers may be interested to know that the law Peters Twp passed in in direct violation of PA statute TITLE 18 Chapter 61 Subchapter A § 6120 "Limitation on the regulation of firearms and ammunition."

    I quote the relevant section of the statute:
    "(a) General rule.--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."

    Note that there are no exceptions to this portion of the statute.

    I find it amazing that the township council would enact a law, by way of using township monies and resources, that is not enforceable and illegally enacted. Are they ignorant of the laws they must follow?
    This is a serious issue. Does the township realize that they are potentially exposing law enforcement officers to second degree misdemeanor charges or worse if they were to try and enforce this preempted local code?

    There is a good reason these type of laws are not legal. Localities can not deny citizens rights guaranteed by the constitution of this commonwealth.
    In my opinion it is time for citizens of Peters Township to take a serious look at whom they choose to represent them, right after they mobilize to have the council remove this preempted law.

    Change the firsr "in" to "is".

    -Rob the Grammer bastich...

    Edited: But not, obviously, the spelling bastich...


  11. #11
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    PavePusher wrote:
    Change the firsr "in" to "is".

    -Rob the Grammer bastich...

    Edited: But not, obviously, the spelling bastich...
    hehe - got it - thanks!


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    Pa. Patriot wrote:
    BIG SHAFE wrote:
    I would cut out some of your opinion, hoping they would see past any possible hidden agenda and actually see it as fully factual. IMHO
    I did consider this very thing.
    But, we are talking about a letter to the editor. It's my understanding (heard/read somwhere) that a letter to the editor is somewhat expected to be opinionated and that dry, fact-this and law-that type letters are less likely to get published.
    I don't know if this is true but sounded plausible to me...
    Anyone able to support or refute this rumor, I'de be interested to hear...

    I agree, but being overly pro-gun where most newspaper editors/articles are anti-gun isn't going to help. They will write you off as a "gun crazed" person in society and not look into it.

    Remember they (media collectively)sell more papers/etc. with news not facts.


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    BIG SHAFE wrote:
    I agree, but being overly pro-gun where most newspaper editors/articles are anti-gun isn't going to help. They will write you off as a "gun crazed" person in society and not look into it.

    Remember they (media collectively)sell more papers/etc. with news not facts.

    Hmmm, you have me thinking...
    I do see your point. However, my opinion content is really directed towards the preemption law being good for the sake of all rights.
    Obviously a pro-gun person writing the letter. But crazy? Maybe, but I don't think my commentary eludea to anything like that.... Do you? (serious question, I'm not being snide, just wondering if the letter comes off too strong)

    Additionally, I have to relate that I have to date written three other LTE's. All three were gun issue related and all three were published despite my firm pro-gun position in the letters...

    I have an idea. Why don't you (or anyone) write a letter with only the facts, as neutral as possible, and send it in.
    That way we have the bases covered. It will be very interesting to see which one (if any) they publish.
    Seriously, you got me thinking about it I would think that it could go either way. All depends on the editor and there is really no reliable way to predict that so lets makethis a little experiment


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    Ya I mention it as something to think about, editors in my area are crazed anti's pushing their own agenda.

    You aren't crazed at all, but they may think you are.:P



    It didn't allude a whole lot, but a few of your adjectives would make me think you are strongly pro-gun (serious, amazingly, etc.)



    Since you've had no problem in the past, go with it then. :celebrate

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    Pa. Patriot wrote:
    No suggestions or comments?
    I want to fire this off today
    It looks fine to me. Send away!!

    And thanks for doing this also.

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    This story takes an unexpected twist.
    I started a new thread:
    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/view_to...mp;forum_id=46


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    FYI.
    The newspaper (Washington Observer-Reporter) published my letter today.

    http://www.observer-reporter.com/OR/...Huff_Letter_11
    (Scroll down, it's the second of two letters published)

    We'll see if I get a response to my letter to the TWP...

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    Congrats. At least the newspaper did not "edit" yours in such a manner as to make you sound like an imbecile, such as what happened to my letter.




  19. #19
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    This article was posted o PAFOA.
    I repost here. (Note: "fair use" in regards to the papers copyright)

    ===================================
    This was the meeting outcome.

    Pittsburgh, Pa.
    Sunday, July 29, 2007


    Local News
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    Council will rethink law that bans firearms in township
    Sunday, July 29, 2007

    By Janice Crompton, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



    Several dozen residents and gun rights advocates filled the Peters council meeting Monday, asking council to reconsider an ordinance unanimously passed at its July 9 meeting that bans firearms and other dangerous weapons from township parks and most township-owned buildings.

    Council members were accused of breaking the law, facilitating criminal activity, and defying the U.S. Constitution for establishing the ban, which came about after a resident carried a concealed handgun into a heated zoning hearing board meeting.

    Although the resident didn't brandish or threaten to use the weapon, a board member felt intimidated when he spotted the gun, which the resident had a license to carry.

    Peters, a progressive and largely conservative township, already had a law on the books banning the discharge of weapons on township property.

    Resident and former Councilman Peter Glasser told council he felt they'd created "crime-free zones," because concealed weapons kept remote walking trails safe, while Judy Brown of the Second Amendment Sisters gave council a history lesson on Second Amendment rights. The group represents women who own firearms.

    Ms. Brown questioned what constituted a "dangerous weapon," also banned from township property.

    Twenty-year resident Ron Boocks asked council to rescind the ordinance, saying he frequently uses walking trails alone, and cited statistics that show firearm ownership reduces crime.

    Kim Stolfer, chairman of the legislative committee of the Allegheny County Sportsmen's League, Inc., told council members they broke the law and may have committed a misdemeanor by passing the ordinance.

    "The Pennsylvania Crimes Code makes it illegal to enact ordinances of this type," he said.

    Mr. Stolfer said his organization wanted to work with the township to find a better solution and asked council to revisit the issue.

    Under Pennsylvania law, residents who hold a license to carry firearms are permitted to possess and transport them anywhere in the state except onto school property or courthouse facilities. A specific provision in the state law prohibits counties and municipalities from regulating the possession, ownership or transportation of firearms.

    Nonetheless, council moved forward with the ordinance because several governmental entities have challenged the law with mixed results, including Jefferson County, which successfully banned firearms from county offices because they were located in the same facility as the courthouse.

    Councilwoman Patricia Moore, the only Democrat on council, said a legal adviser told her the ordinance in Peters probably wouldn't stand up in court.

    Councilman David Ball, a National Rifle Association member, told audience members council was trying to consider the safety of people in meetings and at parks.

    "Our hearts were in the right place," he said.

    Mr. Ball proposed council put the ordinance on hold for now, until more research on the issue could be conducted. The proposal was unanimously approved 5-0. Councilmen James Berquist and Robert Lewis were absent.

    Also Monday, council:

    Amended an ordinance doubling permit fees for peddlers and door-to-door sales representatives. The changes also include raised application fees and banning soliciting in township parks. The township already requires background checks.

    Hired engineer Mark Zamaitis of Collier, Allegheny County, to the newly created position of township engineer at an annual salary of $75,000. Mr. Zamaitis, who is currently employed at Partridge Venture Engineering, is expected to begin work tomorrow..

    Said they would contact the township Sanitary Authority and Jordan Tax Service over complaints from residents of steep fines and rude employees at the tax company, which wouldn't accept checks for sewage payments.

    Formalized an agreement with JMT Engineering to design the expansion of Peterswood Park at a cost of $25,210. The company will be designing space for 26 acres the township purchased from the Bruni family. Final construction designs are expected to cost $64,000 to $114,000.



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Janice Crompton can be reached at jcrompton@post-gazette.com or 724-223-0156.




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  20. #20
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    Oh... So while the argument has been made over and over again for private property rights ( which seems to have brainwashed the best of attorneys ) those private property rights only extend as far as law and no further and since the law cannot be passed because of pre-emption they, the municipalities, are screwed!

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    As stated elsewhere, the public property being treated as private property is a red herring, designed to throw one off balance (or whatever). A real private property owner can't have you arrested, fined or locked up under the color of the law simply because you're carrying a firearm on his property - he can, however, have you removed for defiant trespass.

    State law clearly states that counties, townships and municipalities CANNOT pass any ordinances addressing firearms possession. They can prohibit hunting, they can limit firing of firearms, but they CANNOT prohibit the carrying of firearms (whether on public, private or public/private property).

    The township screwed up, and now they're trying to figure out how to exit cleanly without too much egg on their face.

    Simple solution? Admit to screwing up, and then move on to more important issues.

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