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Thread: Hassled at the polls for OCing

  1. #1
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    Well, after 5 months I had my first 'run in' with authority because of OCing.

    When I went to my polling place tonight I was asked by the Constable there if "that was a weapon". I replied that it was. He said I would have to leave because weapons were not allowed in the polling place. I asked him what law this was based on. He said it was in the Voting Regulations, to which I replied "That applies to police officers". He said that was correct. He got the regulation book and asked if I would step outside to discuss the matter. I agreed. He turned to the page that had the regulation regarding the police and read it off to me. I told him that I agreed completely, BUT, I was not a police officer, just a private citizen. This seemed to surprise him a bit.

    He then made a call to someone who would "Know for sure". The result of that call was that whoever he called was also unable to come up with anything specific preventing me from voting while carrying. When the call was done, the Constable asked me to please secure my weapon in my vehicle before voting, because it would make him "more comfortable". I asked him if I would be refused entry to vote if I did not, he said no, that I would be permitted to vote either way. As we went back up the steps and prepared to enter, he stated that he "Just couldn't understand why someone would need to bring a gun here, especially in this day and age." I told him that this wasn't something that I did just because I was coming to vote. I carry my weapon every day, wherever I go around town. I also told him that I was not attempting to convince him of my viewpoint, but since I was withing my legal right to do so, I was going to proceed on my own terms. I entered the polls and cast my vote.

    When I was done voting, he was on the phone again, so I waited to speak with him some more. He was speaking with the County Commissioners office, who I could also hear "had never dealt with this situation before". The Constable suggested to them that this be researched further and if there wasn't already a resolution regarding this, that one be passed immediately so this didn't occur in the future. He mentioned to them that "The judges did the same thing so you can't bring guns into the courthouses". When he hung up, I told him that the courthouse ban was covered in the Uniform Firearms Act, which was state law, not something the judges had done on their own. I then asked again for his name so I could write it down. He refused to give it to me, because he said he already did at the beginning of our conversation. I then specifically asked him, "So you are refusing to give me your name again?". He said, "Yes". What he couldn't have known, is that I didn't really need it as I had heard him identify himself to the County Commissioner's office while speaking with them. I offered to be in touch with him so that if I was indeed incorrect on the law, I could educate myself. He told me, "Don't worry, I've got your name."

    He seemed upset enough about the whole thing that I expect him to personally follow up on getting something passed to prohibit this in the future. I didn't think it was worth my time to go into the whole preemption thing with him, since my vote was cast, and I clearly wasn't going to convert him. Hopefully if and when the County Commissioners look into this "incident", they will discover that preemption prevents them from doing so.

    Since this is my first real opposition, I'd appreciate any assistance or suggestions in drafting letters to the appropriate parties to help educate those who need it.

  2. #2
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    E-mail sent to my (pro-gun) State Rep.:

    Dear Representative Rock,

    On Tuesday, October 23, I had a chance to speak with you briefly in your office while visiting the Capitol with other PA gun owners to lobby for the support of pending pro-gun legislation. I remember telling you that you would be getting some letters or phone calls from me. I didn't expect that the topic of this e-mail would be one I would encounter and feel the need to share with you. Let me start by giving you an idea where I'm coming from:

    * I'm a gun owner.
    * I hold a Pennsylvania License To Carry Firearms.
    * Except at work, where I'm prohibited, I carry all of the time (unless I'm going somewhere where the law prohibits it).
    * Most of the time, I do not conceal my weapon. PA law does not require LTCF holders to do so, and "Open Carry" on foot is legal in PA even without being licensed (unless in Philly).

    <snip.....insert story as posted above, with minor revisions>

    I researched this issue prior to election day, so I would know where I stood legally. I understand that as a gun owner, it is my responsibility to be aware of the laws regarding my carrying of a weapon, and abide by them. I also expect any LEO's I encounter to do the same, and not allow their personal feelings on an issue to influence their actions. I do not appreciate the intimidating tone he took with me, even after it was clear he could not articulate any violation on my part. The Constable's Code of Ethics (as published by the PA State Constable Association) includes the point, "I recognize my duty to protect the constitutional rights of all people." This was clearly the opposite of my experience this evening.

    I would appreciate any input and assistance your office could provide on properly educating the Constables, County Commissioners and election officials in Franklin County in regards to the legal exercise of my 2nd Amendment Rights, and the 'Preemption Clause' contained in the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act.

    Sincerely,
    My personal contact info

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    Well... it seems like a better experience than what could have happened. He didn't detain you, you got to vote, and he's at least trying to go through the proper paths to create gun control legislation, whether or not that in and of it self is right.

  4. #4
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    gnbrotz wrote:
    Well, after 5 months I had my first 'run in' with authority because of OCing.

    When I went to my polling place tonight I was asked by the Constable there if "that was a weapon". I replied that it was. He said I would have to leave because weapons were not allowed in the polling place. I asked him what law this was based on. He said it was in the Voting Regulations, to which I replied "That applies to police officers". He said that was correct. He got the regulation book and asked if I would step outside to discuss the matter. I agreed. He turned to the page that had the regulation regarding the police and read it off to me. I told him that I agreed completely, BUT, I was not a police officer, just a private citizen. This seemed to surprise him a bit.
    What was the precise voting place?

    We will need to watch the regulation process to make sure they don't ban carry.

    Also, are Constables required to ID themselves to citizens while on official duty?

  5. #5
    State Researcher dng's Avatar
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    I wanted to carry while voting, but my polling place is a church, so, there goes that idea...

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    gnbrotz wrote:
    E-mail sent to my (pro-gun) State Rep.:

    Dear Representative Rock,

    On Tuesday, October 23, I had a chance to speak with you briefly in your office while visiting the Capitol with other PA gun owners to lobby for the support of pending pro-gun legislation. I remember telling you that you would be getting some letters or phone calls from me. I didn't expect that the topic of this e-mail would be one I would encounter and feel the need to share with you. Let me start by giving you an idea where I'm coming from:

    * I'm a gun owner.
    * I hold a Pennsylvania License To Carry Firearms.
    * Except at work, where I'm prohibited, I carry all of the time (unless I'm going somewhere where the law prohibits it).
    * Most of the time, I do not conceal my weapon. PA law does not require LTCF holders to do so, and "Open Carry" on foot is legal in PA even without being licensed (unless in Philly).

    <snip.....insert story as posted above, with minor revisions>

    I researched this issue prior to election day, so I would know where I stood legally. I understand that as a gun owner, it is my responsibility to be aware of the laws regarding my carrying of a weapon, and abide by them. I also expect any LEO's I encounter to do the same, and not allow their personal feelings on an issue to influence their actions. I do not appreciate the intimidating tone he took with me, even after it was clear he could not articulate any violation on my part. The Constable's Code of Ethics (as published by the PA State Constable Association) includes the point, "I recognize my duty to protect the constitutional rights of all people." This was clearly the opposite of my experience this evening.

    I would appreciate any input and assistance your office could provide on properly educating the Constables, County Commissioners and election officials in Franklin County in regards to the legal exercise of my 2nd Amendment Rights, and the 'Preemption Clause' contained in the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act.

    Sincerely,
    My personal contact info
    Good work in the actual polling place event and good letter. Don't you want to address (or at least CC) whoever is the Constable's boss too?

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    dngreer wrote:
    I wanted to carry while voting, but my polling place is a church, so, there goes that idea...
    Is carry illegal in a church?

  8. #8
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    Not illegal in PA. It seems I have heard some states forbid it, but I don't have time to check it out here on my lunch break.

    Nicely done with the polls situation. I concealed, but now wish I wouldn't have. Thanks

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    I didn't see anyone that looked like a constable at mine. Are they required?

  10. #10
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    Agent 47 wrote:
    dngreer wrote:
    I wanted to carry while voting, but my polling place is a church, so, there goes that idea...
    Is carry illegal in a church?
    Without the clergy's permission it is. I didn't really have time to explain to a pastor I don't know at a church I don't go to why I want to carry a gun into his church. Maybe I should have looked into it, but I gambled with my life and hoped thecrazy..urah...I guess the politically correct term is "interesting" or "special"poll workers(who talk nonstop about what boring things they're doing in Florida this winter, of course you have to listenwhile you are waiting to vote) would go nuts and attack me with a cane.

  11. #11
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    Mike wrote
    What was the precise voting place?

    We will need to watch the regulation process to make sure they don't ban carry.

    Also, are Constables required to ID themselves to citizens while on official duty?
    I vote in precinct "Guilford Three" in Franklin County, PA. The polling place is the New Franklin Ruritan building.

    I don't know if they are required or not. He did show my his badge and ID when I first asked who he was. I do not recall him actually verbally telling me his name at that time, but he may have. It was at the end of the encounter that he refused to give it to me (I told him I wanted to write it down so I could follow up on this matter), stating he had already done so at the beginning of our conversation, and would not do so again.

    Just to be clear: I do know for sure what his name is. I overheard him identify himself on the phone while speaking to the Commissioner's office. He is a regular State Constable, not just a Constable of Elections.

    HankT wrote:
    Good work in the actual polling place event and good letter. Don't you want to address (or at least CC) whoever is the Constable's boss too?
    Yes, I plan to write to the County Court Administrator, who oversees the District Justices, which sub-contract with the Constables.


  12. #12
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    Mike wrote:
    gnbrotz wrote:
    Well, after 5 months I had my first 'run in' with authority because of OCing.

    When I went to my polling place tonight I was asked by the Constable there if "that was a weapon". I replied that it was. He said I would have to leave because weapons were not allowed in the polling place. I asked him what law this was based on. He said it was in the Voting Regulations, to which I replied "That applies to police officers". He said that was correct. He got the regulation book and asked if I would step outside to discuss the matter. I agreed. He turned to the page that had the regulation regarding the police and read it off to me. I told him that I agreed completely, BUT, I was not a police officer, just a private citizen. This seemed to surprise him a bit.
    What was the precise voting place?

    We will need to watch the regulation process to make sure they don't ban carry.

    Also, are Constables required to ID themselves to citizens while on official duty?
    Can't. Preemption. Polling policy can't trump state law, can it? Same with local ordinances.

  13. #13
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    DeltaII5 wrote:
    Mike wrote:
    gnbrotz wrote:
    Well, after 5 months I had my first 'run in' with authority because of OCing.

    When I went to my polling place tonight I was asked by the Constable there if "that was a weapon". I replied that it was. He said I would have to leave because weapons were not allowed in the polling place. I asked him what law this was based on. He said it was in the Voting Regulations, to which I replied "That applies to police officers". He said that was correct. He got the regulation book and asked if I would step outside to discuss the matter. I agreed. He turned to the page that had the regulation regarding the police and read it off to me. I told him that I agreed completely, BUT, I was not a police officer, just a private citizen. This seemed to surprise him a bit.
    What was the precise voting place?

    We will need to watch the regulation process to make sure they don't ban carry.

    Also, are Constables required to ID themselves to citizens while on official duty?
    Can't. Preemption. Polling policy can't trump state law, can it? Same with local ordinances.
    unless the state agency passes the regulation!

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    AS we've seen at least twice before, the local governement may still pass an ordinance. It just won't be legal. Then the people of that area would have to protest it, and write letters and complain to get it repealed. So any knowledge of them trying to pass something before it happens would be good to stop it before it becomes a real head-ache.

  15. #15
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    dngreer wrote, "I wanted to carry while voting, but my polling place is a church, so, there goes that idea..."

    So Agent 47 asked, "Is carry illegal in a church?"

    To which dngreer responded, "Without the clergy's permission it is."

    Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    First off, it's a polling place located in a church building, and thepastor has no say at all concerning the operations of the polling place.

    Secondly, asking permission to exercise a civil right and denying one's ability to exercise a civil right are two opposite actions. You ask permission to do something only if it is already generally disapproved to do that thing.

    Third, why carry in a church? Ask the people at Wedgewood Baptist Church, Fort Worth Texas, July 30, 1999 (7 dead), or Living Church of God, Brookfield, Wisconsin, March 14, 1995 (7 dead), or First Congregational Church, Neosho, Missouri, August 13, 2007 (3 dead), or The Ministry of Jesus Christ Church, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, May 22, 2006 (5 dead).

  16. #16
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    UPDATE:, this story has a lot more to it and is in full depth here:

    http://www.pafoa.org/forum/concealed...lls-ocing.html



    but the jist is:










    gnbrotz

    Join Date: May 2007
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    (Franklin County)
    Posts: 172 Rep Power: 2




    Re: Hassled at the polls for OCing


    UPDATE: I just received a letter from the Franklin County Sheriff's office notifying me that my LTCF has been revoked. "The reason for the REVOCATION is your involvement in which a gun was used by you in an apparent illegal manner."

    There was also a slip from the post office that there is a certified letter from his office as well (which I can't pick up until Monday). Any ideas on what I'm facing and where I can find an attorney that will be able to assist me in the upcoming process??




    there is a legal fund set up as well:








    PayPal: gnbrotz at embarqmail dot com

    All the info here.

    http://www.pafoa.org/forum/concealed...lls-ocing.html (Hassled at the polls for OCing)
    __________________
    Help GNBROTZ, He's being railroaded.

  17. #17
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    And I thought Pennsylvania's motto was "virtue, liberty, and independence"

  18. #18
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    This is serious folks.
    Time to "walk the walk" in PA and stand up for our rights whether you use them or not.

    According gnbrotz account, we have a constable AND a sheriff acting flatly outside the law and we need to make sure they are disciplined and put back in their place and then broadcast their shame wide and far.
    We need to wait until gnbrotz gets the rest of the information, probably Monday, and see what his council advises him.


  19. #19
    Accomplished Advocate BB62's Avatar
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    So it was revoked without legal proceedings? Hmmmm

  20. #20
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    BB62 wrote:
    So it was revoked without legal proceedings? Hmmmm
    Yes. Bad ju-ju for the sheriff. We'll make sure of that..

    I will be posting a "rummage sale to benefit gnbrotz" thread on the PAFOA site. I'll post the link here when I get it going. Meanwhile, start looking through your junk drawers and closets for stuff to donate to the legal defense fund


  21. #21
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    Cross posted from the pinned topic:

    Title 18, U.S.C., Section 245
    Federally Protected Activities

    1) This statute prohibits willful injury, intimidation, or interference, or attempt to do so, by force or threat of force of any person or class of persons because of their activity as:

    a) A voter, or person qualifying to vote...;

  22. #22
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    Probably more relevant than that statute is this piece of PA legislation:

    ยง 5301. Official oppression. A person acting or purporting to act in an official capacity or taking advantage of such actual or purported capacity commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if, knowing that his conduct is illegal, he:
    1. subjects another to arrest, detention, search, seizure, mistreatment, dispossession, assessment, lien or other infringement of personal or property rights; or
    2. denies or impedes another in the exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power or immunity.


  23. #23
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    You guys Rock on finding statues

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