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Thread: Centralia city code banning carry in parks

  1. #1
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    May 14th, 2008

    City of YOURCITY
    ATTN: City Manager, Mayor, City Council, City Attorney, et al
    P. O. Box 123
    Yourcity, WA 98531-0609


    Distinguished city officials:

    I write to you concerning a section of the YOURCITY Municipal Code, 10.33.080, which states:
    No person shall possess, use, or discharge any firearm, airgun, BB gun, slingshot, paintball gun, or any bow and arrow in a public park or use or discharge any such weapon in a public place, unless otherwise authorized as a part of an organized recreation program of the park and recreation department of the city or other public agency. Use of such firearms by law enforcement personnel is exempted.
    The firearms possession portion of the above appears to conflict with Washington State’s firearms law preemption, cited below (emphasis mine).

    RCW 9.41.290 establishes preemption:
    The state of Washington hereby fully occupies and preempts the entire field of firearms regulation within the boundaries of the state, including the registration, licensing, possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, transfer, discharge, and transportation of firearms, or any other element relating to firearms or parts thereof, including ammunition and reloader components. Cities, towns, and counties or other municipalities may enact only those laws and ordinances relating to firearms that are specifically authorized by state law, as in RCW 9.41.300, and are consistent with this chapter. Such local ordinances shall have the same penalty as provided for by state law. Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality.
    RCW 9.41.300 specifies the extent to which cities may enact firearms law:
    (2) Cities, towns, counties, and other municipalities may enact laws and ordinances:

    (a) Restricting the discharge of firearms in any portion of their respective jurisdictions where there is a reasonable likelihood that humans, domestic animals, or property will be jeopardized. Such laws and ordinances shall not abridge the right of the individual guaranteed by Article I, section 24 of the state Constitution to bear arms in defense of self or others; and

    (b) Restricting the possession of firearms in any stadium or convention center, operated by a city, town, county, or other municipality, except that such restrictions shall not apply to:

    (i) Any pistol in the possession of a person licensed under RCW 9.41.070 or exempt from the licensing requirement by RCW 9.41.060; or

    (ii) Any showing, demonstration, or lecture involving the exhibition of firearms.

    (3)(a) Cities, towns, and counties may enact ordinances restricting the areas in their respective jurisdictions in which firearms may be sold, but, except as provided in (b) of this subsection, a business selling firearms may not be treated more restrictively than other businesses located within the same zone. An ordinance requiring the cessation of business within a zone shall not have a shorter grandfather period for businesses selling firearms than for any other businesses within the zone.

    (b) Cities, towns, and counties may restrict the location of a business selling firearms to not less than five hundred feet from primary or secondary school grounds, if the business has a storefront, has hours during which it is open for business, and posts advertisements or signs observable to passersby that firearms are available for sale. A business selling firearms that exists as of the date a restriction is enacted under this subsection (3)(b) shall be grandfathered according to existing law.

    (4) Violations of local ordinances adopted under subsection (2) of this section must have the same penalty as provided for by state law.
    Basically, as a city in Washington State, YOURCITY cannot restrict the legal carry of firearms in parks, or most anywhere else for that matter. It’s come to my attention this same issue has arisen and been corrected in several cities around the state recently.

    I’m not sure about the timing of these respective laws, so this may be a left-over from before preemption. Or perhaps it’s just an oversight. I can imagine how difficult it must be to keep track of all the ever-changing laws at the various levels of government!

    In any case, as fellow believers in and respecters of the rule of law, and as officials charged with appropriate, consistent, and especially legal laws for our fair city, I knew you’d want to be made aware of this issue. I’m sure nobody wants to send mixed signals to citizens on a topic so weighty as the law.

    Not that I believe for a second that YOURCITY would dismiss what’s right and legal for those reasons alone, but I’m also concerned about the potential cost and liability of attempting to enforce the unenforceable. Or even without enforcement, I don’t think it’s too great a stretch to imagine a scenario where a victim of violent crime brings suit against the city, after following published city disarmament law, and subsequently being unable to defend themselves to the full guarantees of preemptive state law. YOURCITY doesn’t need that, especially with the umbrella of state compliance and protection so readily available.

    Thank you for your attention to this, and your public service in general! I’d very much appreciate being informed of your findings and course of action.



    Sincerely,




    MY NAME



    (This letter is being sent via email and postal mail.)

  2. #2
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    Put a sticky on this topic and use it for all related letters. Fantastic!

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    Regular Member Mainsail's Avatar
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    t3rmin wrote:
    The firearms possession portion of the above appears to be in conflict with Washington State’s firearms law preemption, cited below (emphasis mine).
    Appears to be in conflict or is in conflict. Say what you mean.

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    Mainsail wrote:
    t3rmin wrote:
    The firearms possession portion of the above appears to be in conflict with Washington State’s firearms law preemption, cited below (emphasis mine).
    Appears to be in conflict or is in conflict. Say what you mean.
    It's calculated persuasion, my friend.

    They are less likely to be defensive if I'm less abrasive. I state it a little more positively further down, after I've presented the evidence and hopefully gained a little standing.

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    t3rmin wrote:
    Mainsail wrote:
    t3rmin wrote:
    The firearms possession portion of the above appears to be in conflict with Washington State’s firearms law preemption, cited below (emphasis mine).
    Appears to be in conflict or is in conflict. Say what you mean.
    It's calculated persuasion, my friend.

    They are less likely to be defensive if I'm less abrasive. I state it a little more positively further down, after I've presented the evidence and hopefully gained a little standing.
    I to would write"is in conflict". You put the proof in your letter. By putting "appears" it is kinda saying that you don't fully understand the law yourself.

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    *I to would write*"is in conflict". You put the proof in your letter. By putting "appears" it is kinda saying that you don't fully understand the law yourself.
    Well that's partly the idea. Nothing is more persuasive than presenting the facts and letting the reader feel they drew their own conclusion. Play to the ego instead of against it.

    Being told you're wrong is a hard pill to swallow, for anybody. Persuasion and diplomacy eases the blow.

    I'm not a lawyer, I'm not any kind of credentialed expert. (Not that you need to be, the language of the law is clear.) So it's reasonable and more importantly, humble feeling, to state it softly like this. Then they can say "ya know, he's got a point" after they read the evidence, without losing face, instead of being put on the offensive.

    I'm not making this stuff up, this is good PR technique, folks. It pays dividends to stow your ego on a project like this. :celebrate

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    Regular Member just_a_car's Avatar
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    I totally agree with t3rmin on this. I've found I get excellent results with a cordial encounter rather than an abrasive, aggressive one. Unless you're dealing with someone already "against" you and hostile towards your position, there is no need to be hostile towards them.
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
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    just_a_car wrote:
    I totally agree with t3rmin on this. I've found I get excellent results with a cordial encounter rather than an abrasive, aggressive one. Unless you're dealing with someone already "against" you and hostile towards your position, there is no need to be hostile towards them.
    Right on, bro.

    It's just the old "you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."

    Believe me, nobody has a bigger ego or a harder time checking it at the door than me!

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    Ah... looks like our sister city, Chehalis, has the exact same problem in their code. They're getting the letter too.

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    Regular Member Mainsail's Avatar
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    I’m going to emphasize again that when you’re writing letters it’s better to demonstrate how their incorrect policy is a danger or liability than to merely point out it’s factually incorrect. Your letter is factual, but does little to inspire them to change anything. When I wrote to Pierce County about the sign at Narrows Beach Park, I informed them of a potential danger to the public. These are concepts they understand; they aren’t going to be investigated or fired because they, in their minds, ignored a small oversight in the legalese on their signs. They will, however, if someone notified them of a danger and they purposefully disregarded it.

    For example, if you send them an email pointing out that one of the bars on the jungle-gym is loose, they will make a note and maybe even add it to a list of things they’ll fix sometime in the future. If you tell them the bar is loose and that it’s a danger to the children; they’ll send someone out that day to make the repair. Get it? It only took a few hours for Pierce County to respond to my letter with a promise to remove (or obscure) the word Firearms from the list of banned items on their signs. Ajet’s been to three meetings with no real end in sight. Your letter, while well written, has done what exactly?

    Just my humble opinion….

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    Mainsail wrote:
    I’m going to emphasize again that when you’re writing letters it’s better to demonstrate how their incorrect policy is a danger or liability than to merely point out it’s factually incorrect. Your letter is factual, but does little to inspire them to change anything. When I wrote to Pierce County about the sign at Narrows Beach Park, I informed them of a potential danger to the public. These are concepts they understand; they aren’t going to be investigated or fired because they, in their minds, ignored a small oversight in the legalese on their signs. They will, however, if someone notified them of a danger and they purposefully disregarded it.

    For example, if you send them an email pointing out that one of the bars on the jungle-gym is loose, they will make a note and maybe even add it to a list of things they’ll fix sometime in the future. If you tell them the bar is loose and that it’s a danger to the children; they’ll send someone out that day to make the repair. Get it? It only took a few hours for Pierce County to respond to my letter with a promise to remove (or obscure) the word Firearms from the list of banned items on their signs. Ajet’s been to three meetings with no real end in sight. Your letter, while well written, has done what exactly?

    Just my humble opinion….
    You have a very good point here. I didn't include a clear "statement of benefit". That is indeed an important aspect of persuasive writing.

    I'll be sure to emphasize that in any additional contact I have with Centralia. I'll also revise the letter before I send it to Chehalis (and Lewis County, who also has a similar code problem).

    I want to be sure to frame it as a concern for THEIR well-being/risk, not a threat or statement of benefit to ME (what do they care about me?). I'll edit my first post to reflect these changes.

    Thanks!

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    Ajet’s been to three meetings with no real end in sight.


    When I wrote Kitsap originally I played on liability issues and I believe Ajet may have, but it didn't do us much good.

    I would argue, however, that there is an end in sight because the commissioners agreed to change the wording after a public comment session.

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    Regular Member Mainsail's Avatar
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    That's good news! I get the feeling there is someone in authority there who is very anti-gun, and are willing to be obstinate to promote their agenda.

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    Ok guys, I just posted the updated version. I'd love your input before I hit Chehalis with it.

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    Regular Member Ajetpilot's Avatar
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    Mainsail wrote:

    That's good news! I get the feeling there is someone in authority there who is very anti-gun, and are willing to be obstinate to promote their agenda.
    This is from the minutes of the April 16 Work/Study Session:


    4. FIREARMS IN COUNTY PARKS (CHIP FAVER/JACQUELYN AUFDERHEIDE)


    9:55 – 10:02






    Bruce Johnston expressed his concerns of the Commissioners recessing into executive session. The Commissioners explained that there were issues with potential litigation.




    • Mr. Johnston then stated his opinion on the Kitsap County Code prohibiting citizens from carrying firearms in County parks. He asked the Commissioners to bring County Code 10.12.080 into compliance with State law.


    The Commissioners recessed into executive session regarding potential litigation.
    10:05 – 10:25






    The Commissioners agree to hold a public meeting to discuss the repeal of the County ordinance prohibiting firearms in County Parks. 10:25 – 10:30



    They have not yet scheduled the public meeting. It took me four months to get this far. My appeal was to bring county code into compliance with state law. Mainsail was able to make huge changes in Pierce County by pointing out the public safety and liability issues. I have to concede that his approach was far more effective than mine.


    However, I think that Mainsail wrote a similar letter to the Kitsap Commissioners several months ago. As a non-resident of the county, his letter may have been disregarded.I don't know if he everreceived a response.


    I believe that two of the three commissioners are antis. This hasn't been easy.

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    Regular Member Mainsail's Avatar
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    Ajetpilot wrote:
    Mainsail wrote:

    That's good news! I get the feeling there is someone in authority there who is very anti-gun, and are willing to be obstinate to promote their agenda.
    However, I think that Mainsail wrote a similar letter to the Kitsap Commissioners several months ago. As a non-resident of the county, his letter may have been disregarded.I don't know if he everreceived a response.
    No, I only wrote to Pierce County.

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    Mainsail wrote:
    No, I only wrote to Pierce County.
    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum55/6603-3.html

    Check December 12 at 4:09 PM.

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    Regular Member Mainsail's Avatar
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    Ajetpilot wrote:
    Mainsail wrote:
    No, I only wrote to Pierce County.
    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum55/6603-3.html

    Check December 12 at 4:09 PM.
    Man I'm gettin' old....

    I have an appointment at the Alzheimer’s clinic sometime next week….sometime….

    I forget...


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    Mainsail, Don't let the Alzheimers ge to you... just think, you can hide your own easter eggs and you meet new people every day.

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    Trigger Dr wrote:
    Mainsail, Don't let the Alzheimers ge to you... just think, you can hide your own easter eggs and you meet new people every day.
    HAHAH I got to remember that one.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    Ajetpilot wrote:

    This is from the minutes of the April 16 Work/Study Session:
    [b]


    4. FIREARMS IN COUNTY PARKS (CHIP FAVER/JACQUELYN AUFDERHEIDE)

    The Commissioners agree to hold a public meeting to discuss the repeal of the County ordinance prohibiting firearms in County Parks. 10:25 – 10:30

    *


    [/quote]
    Thats the problem with Kitsap Co, they seem to want to do EVERYTHING via public committees, task forces, meetings, etc. Jesus commissioners, just make a frigging decision for once. What the heck does public input matter on bringing code up to date with state law? The only possible reason to have a public meeting on this is so that the commish's who are anti's can stand up and say how they don't like it, but "their hands are tied" and they have to go along with state law, please re-elect me because I'm on your side" blah blah blah. I want to put a new sticker up next to the "no weapons" sign on the admin building door:

    [img]http://photos1.blogger.com/img/15/6366/640/********-Negation_in-color_.jpg[/img]

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    Just sent it to Chehalis.

    Working on the Lewis County one now.

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    Regular Member just_a_car's Avatar
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    Spike, the pic didn't come through for me, so I grabbed the url from the source code in case others can't see it and am reposting it for them and myself:

    Edit: Weird, now that I posted it, it shows up in your post. So, I'm removing the image so that we don't double-hit the bandwidth for that photobucket account.

    By the way, love the "No BS" image.
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
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    Thanks, the image came and went a few times on me too... I wonder if it is hosted on a flaky server.

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    My poor thread! So hijacked! :P

    Just got a favorable response from Chehalis' mayor. Timely, too. Said the city manager is looking at it.

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