No. 1 of 2008
AN ORDINANCE OF THE COUNTY OF ADAMS, REPEALING ORDINANCE NO. 2 OF 1995 AND ORDINANCE NO. 1 OF 2007 AND PROVIDING FOR THE BANNING OF WEAPONS FROM THE COUNTY COURTHOUSE; SUBJECTING PERSONS IN AND UPON COUNTY FACILITIES AND PROPERTIES TO SEARCHES AND SEIZURES RELATIVE TO POSSESSION OF WEAPONS; AND PROVIDING FOR THE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF THE PRESENT ORDINANCE
BE IT ENACTED AND ORDAINED by the County of Adams (“County”), Pennsylvania, by its duly elected and incumbent Board of County Commissioners, and it is hereby ENACTED AND ORDAINED by the authority of the same, as follows:
WHEREAS, the Adams County Board of Commissioners and the Adams County Court of Common Pleas have previously determined that it is necessary and appropriate, for the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of the general public and County officials and employees, to ban weapons from County buildings and properties, and to subject all persons in and upon County buildings and properties to searches and seizures relative to the possession of weapons; and
WHEREAS, the Adams County Board of Commissioners have previously enacted Ordinance No. 2 of 1995 and Ordinance No. 1 of 2007 to create guidelines relative to the prohibition, seizure, and storage of weapons on County property; and
WHEREAS, changes under state law and expansion of County buildings require modification and identification of guidelines relative to the banning of weapons from County facilities under a single Ordinance.
NOW THEREFORE, be it ENACTED AND ORDAINED by the County, by the Adams County Board of Commissioners, and it is hereby ENACTED AND ORDAINED by the authority of the same, as follows:
Section I: Definitions. Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following words shall, for purposes of present Ordinance, have the meaning herein indicated:
(A) Adams County Security Board: The Board created and existing under Ordinance No. 1 of 1995 of the County of Adams, Pennsylvania, as amended, comprised of three Adams County Commissioners, three Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of Adams County, and the Adams County District Attorney (“Security Board”).
(B) County Property: Any and all real property, buildings, and improvements thereon and appurtenant thereto, owned, leased, possessed, and/or controlled by the County. This term shall not include the Adams County Adult Correctional Complex, the work release facility, or the Emergency Services Training Facility, which are governed by separate policies relative specifically to those properties.
(C) Courthouse Property: Any property owned, leased, possessed, and/or controlled by the County, which houses the Adams County Courthouse and the other Court-related offices consisting of the Domestic Relations Office, Adult Probation and Parole Department, Juvenile Probation and Parole Department, the Public Defender’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, Children and Youth Services, or any other property specifically designated by the Security Board.
(D) Law Enforcement Officer: Any state, municipal, or regional police officer, the Sheriff and Sheriff’s Deputies, Adams County Adult and Juvenile Probation and Parole Officers, Adams County Detectives sworn to the Adams County District Attorney’s Office, federal law enforcement officers, members of the Adams County Security Department authorized to carry firearms by the Security Director, and any persons specifically exempted by name by the Security Board or the Adams County Court of Common Pleas. The definition, however, shall not include constables, private detectives, state or county probation and parole officers not employed by Adams County, prison guards, school and fire police, and Pennsylvania Game Commission Officers.
(E) Security Department Personnel: The Adams County Security Director, all members of the Adams County Security Department and any other County employee designated in writing by the Adams County Security Board.
(F) Weapons: Any of the following:
(1) Any firearm or ammunition. The term firearm shall include not only the definition of firearms as set forth in 18 Pa. C.S.A. §6102, but also firearms as defined in 18 Pa. C.S.A. §6105(i) and 18 Pa. C.S.A. §908(c);
(2) Any offensive weapon as defined by 18 Pa. C.S.A. §908(c);
(3) Any weapon or instrument of crime as defined by 18 Pa. C.S.A. §907;
(4) All knives of any length and all sharpened blades of any length or configuration, excluding tools used by County Maintenance Staff or independent contractors in furtherance of their employment;
(5) Explosive devices, including firecrackers, supplies, detonating devices, fuses, or equipment;
(6) Replicas of any of the items defined in subparagraph (1) through (5) above including, but not limited to, starter pistols and toy guns; and
(7) Any object, instrument, item, or device which the Director of the Security Department, or designee, in their professional judgment, determines creates a present danger to property, personnel, or visitors to County property.
Section II: Possession of Weapon on County Property.
(A) Offense defined: A person commits a violation of this Ordinance if he or she knowingly possesses a weapon on County property.
(B) Offense Gradation: An offense under this Ordinance is a summary offense and any person who shall violate a provision of this Ordinance shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine, or undergo imprisonment, or both not to exceed the maximum fine, penalty, or term of imprisonment for such an offense as is prescribed and established, as of the date of the conviction, by statute(s) of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, relative to violations of municipal ordinances, which statute(s) is/are hereby incorporated by reference. Every weapon possessed, incident, or occurrence shall constitute a separate offense and shall be punishable, as aforesaid, as such.
(C) Exceptions – Subsection (A) shall not apply to:
(1) A law enforcement officer, as defined in this Ordinance, in the performance of official duties;
(2) Possession of firearms as defined hereinabove in Section I(E)(1) by constables, Pennsylvania Game Commission Officers or Adams County Correctional Officers, in the performance of their official duties, on County property other than Courthouse property; and
(3) Associations of veteran soldiers and their auxiliaries or members of organized armed forces of the United States or the Commonwealth when engaged in the performance of ceremonial duties with prior written approval of the Director of Security.
(4) A person who relinquishes possession of the weapon to security personnel immediately upon entry onto County property pursuant to the provisions of this Ordinance. This exception shall not apply on County property which is not staffed by security personnel.
(5) Any person holding a valid and current license to carry a firearm pursuant to the provisions of The Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act of 1995, 18 Pa. C.S. §§6101, et seq., when such person is carrying said firearm in a safe and professional manner, and is upon County Property other than Courthouse Property.
Section III: Search, Seizure, and Storage.
(A) Searches: Any person who enters or attempts to enter or remain in or upon County property, shall be subject to a search of his or her person and effects to determine or discover the presence of weapons. Persons refusing to submit to such a search shall be refused admission to County property and/or may be immediately ejected from County property. Searches pursuant to this Ordinance shall be conducted by trained Security Department personnel.
(B) Proffer, Storage, Return, and Disposal of Weapons Other Than Firearms: Any person who carries a weapon, other than a firearm, into a County building, which is staffed by Security Department personnel, shall relinquish possession to Security Department personnel, upon entering. During the period the person is in the building, the weapon shall be placed in a storage envelope or locked in a weapon storage box and clearly marked with the owner’s name and the date. The owner of the weapon will be notified upon placement of the item in a storage envelope or locked weapon storage box that he or she should claim the weapon upon departure from the building, and that if he or she does not claim the weapon upon departure, that the person has ninety (90) days in which to return to the building and reclaim the weapon. After a period of twenty-four (24) hours, all unclaimed weapons will be removed from the storage containers located in the main lobby or other area designated by the Security Director and placed in a work space under the control of the Security Director. If the weapon is not claimed by its rightful owner within ninety (90) days of its surrender to County officials, the weapon will be considered abandoned and will be removed from the County property and destroyed. The Security Director shall maintain a record of all weapons destroyed, the manner of destruction, and the date of destruction.
(C) Proffer, Storage, Return, and Disposal of Firearms. Any person bringing a firearm onto County property contrary to the provisions of this Ordinance, shall be initially screened by Security Department personnel to ensure that the person holds a valid firearms license to carry a concealed weapon. Once the firearms license is verified, the licensed person carrying the firearm will be escorted to an area with a secure storage container
, which will not be located in the Courtrooms of record, Judges’ Chambers, witness rooms, jury deliberation rooms, attorney conference rooms, prisoner holding cells, Clerk of Courts Office, District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Offices, Probation and Parole Departments, or any corridor adjoining any of the above, as well as away from any space or area that is used in any public capacity. The licensed person will then be instructed to safely place the firearm and all ammunition in a secure storage container. The container will be locked, and Security Department personnel will retain the key, while providing the licensed person a receipt for his/or weapon and ammunition. Upon leaving the building, the licensed person will present the receipt to Security Department personnel. He/she will then be escorted by Security Department personnel to the storage container and be permitted to retrieve his/her firearm and ammunition. The licensed person will then immediately leave the building. At all times, Security Department personnel shall have the authority to deny such accommodations to the licensed person, and deny access to the building, if the licensed person, in the sole judgment of the Security Department personnel, displays any unsafe firearm handling practices. In that situation, the licensed person will be advised to leave the building and to return only when the licensed person is not in possession of a firearm.
Any person not claiming the firearm and ammunition within twenty-four (24) hours will have such materials treated in the same manner as provided for other weapons in paragraph B above.
(D) Seizure of Weapons.
(1) Upon Entry. Any item, the possession of which is illegal under state or federal law, which is discovered in the process of search conducted pursuant to this Ordinance, shall be seized by Security Department personnel and shall not be returned to the person from whom the property was seized. Security Department personnel shall thereafter notify appropriate law enforcement officials of the same and shall maintain the chain of custody of the item until surrendered to local police officials or disposed of as directed by the police officials.
(2) Seizure of Weapons Possessed in Violation of This Ordinance. Any weapon discovered to be possessed by a person in violation of this Ordinance shall be immediately seized by Security Department personnel.
Chain of custody shall be maintained and the weapon shall be secured as evidence or for disposition in accordance with either Order of the Court of Common Pleas or written direction from the Board.
Section IV: Notice. Notice of the provisions of Section II(A) of this Ordinance shall be posted conspicuously at each public entrance to each County building. The notice shall provide that all persons entering or on County property are subject to search.
Section V: Applicability of State and Federal Law. Nothing in this Ordinance shall be interpreted to supersede any applicable federal or state law. The provisions of this Ordinance shall be interpreted to be in addition to any requirements imposed under state or federal law.
Section VI: Administration and Enforcement. The power, duty, and authority to administer and enforce the provisions of this Ordinance shall be vested in the personnel of the Adams County Security Department, under the direction of the Adams County Security Board.
Section VII: Repeal. Ordinance No. 2 of 1995 and Ordinance No. 1 of 2007 are repealed in their entirety. Any Ordinance or Resolution, or any portion of any Ordinance or Resolution, which is inconsistent with the contents of the present Ordinance shall be, and the same is hereby, repealed and insofar as the same is affected by or inconsistent with the provisions of the present Ordinance.
Section VIII: Severability. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or portion of this Ordinance is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by any Court of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed a separate, distinct, and independent provision, and such holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions hereof.
Section IX: Effective Date. This Ordinance shall be effective immediately upon its enactment.
ENACTED AND ORDAINED into an Ordinance this 27th day of February 2008.
George A. Weikert,
R. Glenn Snyder,
Lisa A. Moreno,
Paula V. Neiman,