New sheriff prepares for gun activists
By JIM HOOK Senior writer
Franklin County Sheriff Dane Anthony has an action-packed second day on the job.
Visitors packing handguns are expected to join the usual crowd for Central Court. A hearing for a gun rights advocate whose carrying permit was revoked by the now-former sheriff may draw more than a dozen "right to carry" supporters from across Pennsylvania.
The new county sheriff is responsible for security at the courthouse.
The hearing for Greg Rotz, Chambersburg, is set for 2 p.m. in front of Franklin County President Judge John R. Walker in Courtroom One. Central Court lists about 60 cases today.
In November, then-Sheriff Robert Wollyung revoked Rotz's permit to carry a concealed firearm after Rotz wore it openly to the New Franklin polling place on Election Day and exchanged words with a constable. The constable had asked Rotz to secure the gun in his vehicle and Rotz would not. Rotz appealed the revocation.
Rotz's plight has been a hot topic on several Internet discussion groups. Gun rights advocates have raised about $3,000 toward Rotz's legal fees.
Rotz has said he is trying to right a wrong.
Wollyung has contended that Rotz's actions on Nov. 6 violated at least the spirit of the law for harassment and disorderly conduct.
"I know very little about the case," Anthony said. "I didn't personally revoke his handgun permit. The attorneys can hash it out. We'll see what that brings. The outcome will determine what my next move will be."
Anthony said he and Pat Redding, the solicitor for his office, will attend the hearing.
"I have not talked to Bob Wollyung," Anthony said. "My primary concern is the safety of employees in the courthouse."
Sheriff's deputies and employees will be checking visitors to the courthouse. All visitors pass through the metal detector on the first floor. Their bags are X-rayed.
"Obviously we're going to have to tighten security a little bit," Anthony said. "The public is allowed to come to the courthouse. I don't know how many will appear (for this hearing). They will not be entering the courthouse with weapons."
Visitors who arrive with handguns will be asked to secure the weapon in their vehicles or at their homes and return to the courthouse, Anthony said. "Or they will have to surrender them to us and they will be returned at the end of the day."
"I don't anticipate any problems," Anthony said. "I think these people will be professional about it and will understand that they can't enter the courthouse with a weapon."
Anthony and his sergeant will help the two employees who usually manage the courthouse entrance, Anthony said.
"They are going to be swamped at the metal detector," Anthony said. "It's a very busy day, anyway. With this it's just going to be busier."
Jim Hook can be reached at 262-4759 or email@example.com