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Thread: Open carriers confront Hazle Twp preemption violation

  1. #1
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    Several PAFOA members and myself have been working on getting a Hazle Twp park rule amended to be compliant with state law.

    The original PAFOA.org thread is here:
    http://www.pafoa.org/forum/concealed...rleigh-pa.html


    Since we have met with resistance on this endeavor, I am going to copy the relevant parts of our progress thus far over to this thread in the hopes of soliciting suggestions and to have this stand as a useful research thread for others to use in their town/state.


    ================================================== ==========

    We start with the email correspondence between PAFOA and OCDO member Gnbrotz and the twp.

    Gnbrotz initial e-mail after receiving the application/rules for park use (sent on evening of 6/19):
    Hello,

    I spoke briefly with someone in your office today regarding the rental of the "medium" pavilion in Community Park. Upon receipt of the application and review of the park rules (specifically Rule #6), I have decided that I cannot have my event in your township.

    I am licensed by the state to legally carry a firearm, and do so daily as I go about my travels. I understand that it is my responsibility to do so in a manner that is consistent with the law. To that end, I have familiarized myself with Pa.'s laws regarding the ownership, possession and carry of firearms.

    State law specifically prohibits any regulation of firearms by local municipalities in any manner that is inconsistent with state law:
    §6120. Limitation on the Regulation of Firearms and Ammunition.
    (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.
    This means that the park rule prohibiting firearms in township parks, even if backed by a resolution, ordinance, etc., is rendered null by state law and unenforceable (because state law does not prohibit lawful carry in public parks). I have chosen to move my event to a different location, as I don't wish to intentionally place myself where a conflict could occur; but, the township needs to be aware of this discrepancy. If I were simply passing through and happened upon your park, I would certainly ignore the sign, as any penalty the township attempted to impose would be promptly tossed out in court. Additionally, should an officer “enforce” this rule, wrongful arrest and abuse of office charges could be laid on the officer, the police department and the township – not an inexpensive proposition for the borough.

    I would appreciate a formal response to this correspondence from the Township Solicitor or a representative of the Board of Supervisors so that this issue can be permanently resolved.

    Respectfully,
    Greg Rotz
    Their reply (received 6/20):
    Dear Mr. Rotz,

    I am sorry to hear you do not wish to utilize our park. I have forwarded
    your e-mail to our solicitor at your request for response.

    Frances Calarco
    Zoning/Code Enforcement/Fire Inspector
    P 570-455-2039
    F 570-453-2402
    zoning@hazletownship.com
    And Gnbrotz reply (sent evening of 6/20):
    Ms. Calarco,

    Thank you for your reply, and for forwarding my concerns to the Solicitor for his response. The park looks like it would be an excellent venue to use, so I hope this matter can be resolved so that I can consider Community Park for a future outing.

    Sincerely,
    Greg Rotz

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    July 14

    After not hearing back from the twp solicitor for 3 weeks another PAFOA member and myself went to the supervisors meeting to bring the matter to their attention publicly.

    PAFOA member schr8er2000 tried out his public speaking legs and took the podium for the Hazel Twp preemption issue

    He did a fine job. The local news was there and perked up when schr8er2000 brought up "firearms".

    schr8er2000 was asked by one board member about the "need" to carry in a park... As if he wasn't nervous enough eh?

    Here is our written statement Paul read from:
    Good evening, My name is Paul Schroder. I'm a resident of Hazleton and and I'm accompanied by a friend of mine from Mountian Top tonight. We are here to bring to the attention of the board a township park regulation that appears to be in violation of state law. We are members of an organization called Pennsylvania Firearms Owners Association. We became aware of this issue when, while we were planning a little northeast picnic for our local members, one of the locations suggested was Community Park. We received a copy of the Rules & Regulations sheet that the park provides along with the application for pavilion rentals. Now the specific rule, as printed on the recreation authority rules sheet is rule #6 This rule says, I quote: "Hunting and possession of firearms are prohibited" end quote. It is my understanding that the firearms prohibition portion of this rule is in violation of Title 18, Chapter 61, subchapter A (otherwise known as The Uniform Firearms Act) specifically subsection 6120 which states: "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.” I am unsure if this set of park rules is supported by local ordinance or not. Either way it would appear to violate the preemption statute I just quoted in that the statute says, quote "regulate in any way" end quote. The preemption statute I quoted was passed in 1995 so I imagine these park rules or ordinance was in place prior to this and may be why it was overlooked. I know some people might want to know why someone would want to carry a firearm at a park, and the answer may be as simple as they carry a firearm daily. I know I do. But that question is not really the issue. The preemption statute I quoted is very important for Pennsylvanians that legally carry a firearm in that it removes the problem of a traveling citizen of running afoul of a myriad of local laws prohibiting where you can and can not carry a firearm. In other words, licensed or otherwise legal carriers of firearms in Pennsylvania can carry everyplace not prohibited by state law. Of particular interest to the township is that since this rule is unenforceable, there could be negative consequences should an unknowing person, or even one choosing to ignore the rule knowing it is null and void happen to be cited or otherwise confronted If a police officer were to “enforce” such rule or ordinance, wrongful arrest and abuse of office charges could be laid on the officer, the police department and the borough – not an inexpensive proposition for the borough. Another member of our organization, Gregory Rotz, has brought this issue to the attention of Frances Calarco via email, and that at Greg's request she had forwarded on our concern to the township solicitor. We decided to follow up in person and ask that the board please look into the matter. I thank you all for your time and we look forward to following up next month for any updates. Thank you.

    All in all mission accomplished.
    The board of supervisors was appreciative of bringing the issue to their attention and promised to look into it. We shall have to attend future meetings and bring the topic up on old business comments until resolution.

    I was interviewed after the meeting my WYLN 35. Put in a plug for PAFOA and paopencarry.org

    Here is the segment that aired on WYLN 35:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7swxJ0pFBU


    Here is the audio of the complete interview with the reporter:
    http://www.lildobe.net/gallery2/v/PA..._hazl.mp3.html


  3. #3
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    July 15th

    http://www.standardspeaker.com/index...3&Itemid=2
    Hazle Twp., gun advocate clash over policy
    Tuesday, 15 July 2008
    By MIA LIGHT
    Staff Writer

    When Paul Schroeder of Hazleton took the floor to address the Hazle Township Board of Supervisors on Monday evening, he had a gun holstered on his right hip.

    Schroeder is a member of the Pennsylvania Firearms Owners Association. And he believes a section of the township community park rules and regulations that prohibits the possession of firearms in the park is in violation of state law.

    Schroeder said his organization recently sought to rent facilities at the township’s community park to hold a picnic for its local members.

    Along with the facility rental application, Schroeder said he received a copy of the park rules and regulations, which lists requirements such as adult supervision of children, vehicle speed limits, hours of park operation, and the prohibition of hunting and possession of firearms on park property.

    Schroeder said he believes the firearms prohibition violates Title 18, Chapter 61, sub-chapter A (otherwise known as The Uniform Firearms Act), specifically subsection 6120, which states: "General rule: No county, municipality or township may in any matter regulate the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by laws of this commonwealth."

    Schroeder said that every aspect of the community park fit the needs and desires of his organization for their picnic — except for the firearms prohibition.

    "We are not gun slingers," Schroeder said. "We are not trying to do the wild west thing. We are just looking to protect our families. We are a group of gun owners who wanted to use the park for a family outing," Schroeder said.

    Supervisor Anthony "Midge" Matz asked Schroeder if he truly felt a need to carry a firearm in the community park.

    "Yes, I do, sir," Schroeder said. "I carry 24/7 if possible. For peace of mind for my wife; for peace of mind for myself."

    Matz said he is not opposed to a citizen’s right to bear arms, but feels it is neither necessary nor appropriate for anyone to carry a firearm in the community park.

    "I would hate to see anyone out there (at the park) with a firearm. We just had our ‘Day at the Park’ (a community recreation event) on Saturday. There were thousands of people there and there were no incidents," Matz said.

    Schroeder said that carrying a firearm for personal protection is like equipping a home with a fire extinguisher in case of fire and equipping a vehicle with air bags in case of crash.

    "It’s not there to scare anybody. We’re not going to wave it around," Schroeder said.

    Richard Banks of Fairview Township, a member of the firearms owners association who attended the meeting with Schroeder, provided the media with a written copy of his personal position on the park regulation.

    He said the question of why someone would want to carry a firearm is not the issue. The issue, he said, is that the township is violating his right to bear arms

    "The preemption statute is very important to Pennsylvanians who legally carry a firearm because it removes the problem of a traveling citizen running afoul of myriad local laws prohibiting where you can and cannot carry a firearm. In other words, licensed or otherwise legal carriers of firearms in Pennsylvania can carry everyplace not prohibited by state law," Banks stated.

    Board chairman William Gallagher said that no member of the board is opposed to gun ownership.

    "All three of us are gun owners," Gallagher said.

    But the board also expressed confidence in the appropriateness of the firearm prohibition at the park.

    "I wouldn’t feel comfortable being there (at the park) with people carrying firearms," Matz said.

    The board agreed to have its solicitor research the legality of the park regulation and return with a recommendation next month.

    Banks said the gun owners organization will follow board action on the issue.

    "We look forward to following up next month for any updates," Banks stated.

    mlight@standardspeaker.com

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    Another newspaper article:

    http://www.timesleader.com/news/Grou...7-14-2008.html
    Group questions gun ban at Hazle Twp. park

    RALPH NARDONE Times Leader Correspondent

    HAZLE TWP. -- Members of the Pennsylvania Firearms Owners Association confronted supervisors Monday night about firearms restrictions at the township’s Community Park.

    Paul Schroeder of Hazleton said he became concerned when the organization planned to have a picnic at the park for its Northeast Pennsylvania members.

    “We received a copy of the rules and regulations sheet, and it says hunting and possession of firearms are prohibited,” said Schroeder, who wore a handgun on a belt holster. The rule violates the Uniform Firearms Act, he said, and that law forbids a township from regulating lawful ownership of a firearm.

    “We hope this is an oversight,” Schroeder said. “The ordinance needs to be changed.”

    Supervisor Anthony Mautz asked Schroeder if carrying a firearm in the park is necessary. He said the group should consider providing security for its events instead of carrying their own guns.

    “I hate to see anybody with a firearm,” Mautz said, adding that many gatherings are held at the township’s public parks without incident.

    Schroeder countered he carries a firearm for personal protection. He said he and the other members of the group were not “waving or brandishing” the guns in any way and should have the right to carry them if done lawfully.

    Chairman Bill Gallagher said the ordinance was written to ban hunting because children frequent the parks.

    Solicitor Charles Pedri said the township will review the ordinance at Schroeder’s request and will provide more information at August’s meeting.


    In other matters, the supervisors tabled a vote on awarding the $1 million annual waste contract. The township read the competing bids from Waste Management and J.P. Mascaro. Each company bid separately for a one-year, two-year and three-year contract option with and without recycling.

    The supervisors will study the bids for next month’s meeting.

    The development of a noise ordinance was discussed at the request of local residents.

    Pedri said the township is researching such ordinances and is having difficulty defining what decibel levels constitute a violation or what times noise should be controlled. There are free-speech issues that come into play, he said.

    Gallagher said Hazleton has a noise ordinance and it is a very expensive “waste of manpower.”

    Pedri said the city never prosecuted anyone for violating the ordinance.

  5. #5
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    Here is the EDITORIAL posted in the Hazleton Standard Speaker on Weds. July 16, 2008....

    PISTOL-PACKERS GO TO EXTREMES

    Two months ago, diners in a Dickson City restaurant were taken aback when a half-dozen customers showed up carrying guns.

    Monday night, two pistol-packing men showed up at a Hazle Township supervisors meeting.

    In both cases, the gun-carriers were members of the Pennsylvania Firearms Owners Association.

    Paul Schroeder, who took the floor to address the township supervisors Monday, said he was in Hazle Township to protest a firearms ban at a Community Park. "We are not trying to do the wild west thing," he said. "We are just looking to protect our families."
    The discussion between Schroeder and the township supervisors-who tried to explain the park policy - remained civil, but some residents in the audience were clearly uneasy.
    And who can blame them ? They, and several concerned citizens who called township officials Tuesday, found the idea of gun-toting parkgoers unsettling.
    Yes, it is legal to openly carry firearms in Pennsylvania without a license, but even the Firearms Owners Association cautions against pushing that right to extremes. "There is much debate amond firearm owners about whether openly carrying firearms is really a good idea," the group says on its Web site. "While we will leave that choice to the individual we will state that in many urban areas- doing so will draw unwanted attention from law enforcement."
    That's exactly what happened in Dickson City, where police asked gun-toting diners for identification. Richard Banks of Fairview Township, refused to provide a driver's license and was detained. Members of the group have sued the borough for compensatory damages and to force the town's police to get training.
    In Hazle Township, the supervisors have asked solicitor Charles Pedri to investigate where and when municipalities can legally ban firearms.
    Sensible people, even those with NRA membership - should view attention-seeking demonstrations like those in Dickson City and Hazle Township as extreme and even counter-productive. Rather than persuading gun control advocates to their cause, stunts like these are more likely to scare people over to the other side.
    If citizens want to scrutinize Community Park regulations, why stop at the gun ban? Why not protest more onerous restrictions, like the park's ban on dogs?
    If pet lovers follow the firearms owner's example, the next meeting of the townships supervisors might be invaded by 101 Dalmations.
    END OF QUOTE

    Again the EDITORIAL staff apparently does not understand that Pennsylvania Statutes SUPERCEDE the municipalities......... but again they fail to see where statutes dont mean anything if they want it otherwise....

  6. #6
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    ANOTHER article in the Hazleton Standard Speaker newspaper...... guess there isnt too much other news in town lately.......

    Under fire Some residents question a rule banning guns in an area park

    BY MIA LIGHT
    STAFF WRITER
    Published: Saturday, July 19, 2008 4:24 AM EDT
    While the Hazle Township board of supervisors awaits legal advice on the constitutionality of one of its Community Park rules — the one that prohibits possession of firearms in the park — many citizens who visit the outdoor recreation facility are not comfortable with the idea of people openly carrying guns in the park.

    Questions regarding the legality of carrying firearms in the park surfaced this week when Paul Schroeder of Hazleton, a member of the Pennsylvania Firearms Owners Association, said the rule that prohibits possession of firearms in the park is a violation of the state Uniform Firearms Act, which states a “General Rule” that no county, municipality or township may in any matter regulate the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by state law.

    Accompanying Schroeder at the township board meeting was Richard Banks of Mountain Top, a fellow member of the PFOA who recently filed suit in federal court against Dickson City and three of its police officers following an incident at a restaurant in the borough.

    According to reports in The Times-Tribune of Scranton, the suit stems from a May 9 incident in which police asked for identification from a group of customers openly carrying firearms at Old Country Buffet. Banks had refused to provide responding police officers with his driver’s license identification and was detained. Police also confiscated a gun carried by restaurant patron Roger McCarren of White Mills, Wayne County, because the state police gun sales database indicated it was purchased by his wife, Darcie.

    Banks and his wife, Judy, McCarren and Larry Meyer of Susquehanna filed the suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, asking for compensatory damages in excess of $100,000 and an “injunction requiring the individual defendants to receive such additional training as may be necessary to prevent a recurrence.” The compensatory figure doesn’t include punitive damages, which can be awarded as a punishment and a deterrent to the alleged rights violation being repeated.

    Hazleton attorney David Pedri of the Pedri Law Office, which provides solicitorship to the township board, is researching the park rule issue and is expected to return a recommendation to the supervisors.

    “We are in the process of reviewing it. We are not prepared to release a conclusion at this time, but we are in the process of reviewing it,” Pedri said.

    Banks said the gun owners’ organization will follow board action on the issue.

    Meanwhile, many of the citizens who frequent Hazle Township Community Park are uneasy at the thought of people being allowed to openly carry guns there.

    Randy Garis, 47, of Hazleton, had his 4-year old twins, Hayley and Zachary, at the park this week.

    Asked about his feelings on the PFOA’s objection to the park rule that prohibits firearms, Garis said that even constitutionally guaranteed rights have reasonable limits.

    “The Constitution guarantees the right to free speech, but you can’t yell ‘fire’ in a theater. It guarantees freedom of the press, but you can’t write something false about someone. That’s libel. They have the right to bear arms and they can have their picnic here. But there are rules to abide by that are not unreasonable rules. We abide by the rules when we come here. Everyone should,” Garis said.

    Christine Slusser, 24, of Summit Hill, is a gun owner who has a permit to carry a firearm.

    While her 3-year-old twins, Haliey and Noah, played on the swings at the park, Slusser said there are proper times and proper places to bear arms, and a community park where children play is not one of them.

    She said that the township rule that prohibits firearms in the park is “a very good rule.”

    “I am permitted to carry and I do own guns. But I do not carry (a gun) around my kids or anyone else’s kids. There is a time and a place for it. On a rifle range — that’s OK — but not at a community park,” Slusser said.

    Other residents have no problem with openly carried weapons in the park.

    West Hazleton resident Kerri Guydish relaxed on a park bench in the shade while her daughter Kayla, 12, and Kayla’s friend Ally Deritis, 12, of Hazle Township, played Frisbee in an open field.

    Guydish said she would have “no problem at all” bringing her daughter to the park if a gun-owners’ association was picnicking nearby and its members had guns on their hips.

    “As long as they’re here to have a picnic as an organization, a group, and they’re licensed to carry a gun and their guns are in a holster, they’re not waving them around, then no, I would have no problem with that at all,” Guydish said.

    Opinion on the park rule differed between an elderly gentleman and his wife, who were passing time in the park by leisurely swinging on a double-wide bench swing.

    The man, who preferred not to give his name, said the park rule is simply that — a rule, not a law. He said the board of supervisors should pass a law in order to enforce a firearm prohibition.

    “If they have a permit to carry a gun for protection or for any other reason at all, then they can carry their firearm any place that there is no law prohibiting them from carrying it,” the man said.

    His wife said she would not be comfortable at the park if people were allowed to openly carry weapons.

    “I’d be afraid if I came here and there were people with guns,” she said.

    The rules and regulations are posted at the park with a warning that violations can carry a fine of up to $300.

    mlight@standardspeaker.com

    Some of these people still don't understand that the STATE STATUTE prevents them from doing this.....

  7. #7
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    ffwd to Aug 11

    Paul and myself went to the meeting as planned.

    Here is Paul's report:
    UPDATE ! ! ! ! !
    Well, the Hazle Township has given us a blow.... Their solicitor ( and his friend ) has stated that at the current time the ordinance prohibiting firearms in the Community Park will remain as is. The reasoning behind this is that since the Hazleton School District utilitzed the park pretty much on a daily basis, as well as a weekly use by a day care center, that the park can prohibit us since it does so on school property.... HMMMMM.... since when does ANY location, other than the actual school, become school property. We ( Pa. Patriot and myself ) both disagreed with this comment and let them know that we will be moving forward on other options to rectify this situation. There were other people there also that voiced their disapproval of "law abiding" citizens from carrying guns. Guess it will be worth some more work to get this situation changed....

    And here is my report:

    Sorry for the slow update. Went to the meeting after being away on vacation and trying to play "catch-up" today.

    Yes, last nights meeting was an interesting endeavor.

    The township solicitor has made an error by making the stretch of 18PACS912 to cover "any" location that the school uses. When Paul asked him if it would cover private property such as a museum, when the school sends students there on a field trip, he said "yes".

    We have several problems here.

    The twp board believes that this rule actually protects "children". I did point out in the meeting that such laws only prevent law abiding people from having guns.

    The twp is willing to risk litigation and negative media attention by willingly thumbing their nose at the law.

    The twp solicitor attempted to justify the rule by quoting 18PACS912 (school grounds) 18PACS913 (court facilities) and 55 Pa. Code § 3270.79 (daycare facilities) Afterwards claiming that preemption did not apply because the park was used by the school and a daycare provider. When challenged on that he admitted that the park was not "school grounds" nor a "daycare facility" but that that case law minich v. Jefferson Co. justified the law by stating that localities could pass gun laws that only prohibited acts already unlawful.

    Well, as you can see, this was a sly attempt to dodge. The case law cited has nothing to do with parks or daycare. It actually confirms that 18Pa.C.S.6120 says exactly what we know it says.. That twp's, etc can not enact gun legislation more strict than the state.
    The Minick case was a court facilities case.
    The ruling only verifies that Jefferson Co's ordinance was legal because it "mirrored state law", as in 18Pa.C.S913

    I'm of the personal opinion that this case was cited to throw us off at the meeting, knowing we would likely not be familiar with it, on the spot, and would concede to have to look into it further. Which is exactly what we did. I stated that my suspicion was that no such case would support the solitors claim and we would research it and follow up next month.

    Now, after this, there were comments from the very small audience in attendance. First from an older gentleman who was very dismayed at the prospect of Hazel twp returning to the "wild, wild, west".

    Next, was the rantings, disguised as questions, from 3 women that we later learned were the parks and recreation subcommittee. They proceeded to very emotionally and very aggressively ask questions such as "why the need" and "why do you want to SCARE people", etc, but would then not allow us to answer. Continually cutting us off and moving on to the next question or statement about how bad guns were. I voiced my displeasure with the fact that we were being questioned and not allowed to answer and even threw my hands up at the chairman after about my third attempt to answer was interrupted. I then basically refrained from even bothering to try to reply and waited for the hysterical trio to quiet down.

    During this period of comments from the folks that think gun=bad, the Chairman had to use the gavel TWICE to get them to behave. It was pretty ridiculous not to mention extremely unprofessional.

    These ladies and one gentleman are apparently also of the radically incorrect notion that law abiding citizens with firearms are an automatic danger to CHILDREN.

    When I did get a word in I reminded them that they are surrounded daily by legal concealed carriers and that apparently they did not believe that people carried guns because they never see them. Their response was to change the subject.

    Another point I made was that their decision to not carry a firearm was their prerogative, just as was ours, per the LAW. This was met with accusations of us using and/or twisting the law to our advantage and the disadvantage of the community..

    Overall, it was a disgusting display of intolerance and hysterical rhetoric that made no parallels to reality.

    Icing on the cake was the evil, hateful looks from the three personal opinion police as we left after the meeting.

    Well, that's it for now. We will be following up with this and are formulating a plan of action now. Updates will be posted when something is decided. Please fell free to make suggestions, all advice and commentary is obviously welcomed

    ETA: I did record the meeting and the audio will be uploaded and posted shortly

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    Latest news on Hazle Township Community Park from the Tues Aug. 12, 2008 Standard Speaker



    Park called ‘school grounds’ in gun debate

    BY MIA LIGHT
    STAFF WRITER
    Published: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 10:41 AM EDT
    The Hazle Township Board of Supervisors says it fully supports the right of Pennsylvanians to bear arms. But supervisors also want to uphold the rules and regulations that prohibit firearms in Hazle Township Community Park.

    Questions regarding the legality of prohibiting firearms in the park surfaced last month when Paul Schroeder of Hazleton, a member of the Pennsylvania Firearms Owners Association, said park rules are in violation of the state Uniform Firearms Act.

    Schroeder said members of his group sought to rent picnic facilities at the park earlier in the summer to hold a regional membership picnic, but were dismayed to learn that park rules and regulations prohibit carrying firearms in the park.

    Schroeder and fellow association member Richard Banks of Mountain Top challenged the board of supervisors on the legality of the park rule.

    The Uniform Firearms Act states that “no county, municipality or township may in any matter regulate the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by laws of this commonwealth.”

    In response to Schroeder’s and Banks’ challenge, Hazle’s supervisors agreed last month to have its solicitor research the legality of the park regulation and return with a recommendation. As they promised last month, Schroeder and Banks attended Monday’s meeting to follow up on the findings.

    Pointing to the same section of the Uniform Firearms Act that Schroeder and Banks quoted last month, board of supervisors solicitor David Pedri said the law sets specific exceptions to the “open carry” provision.

    Both Schroeder and Banks agreed with Pedri that the law prohibits firearms on school grounds and in day care facilities.

    According to Pedri, the Hazleton Area School District uses the park on a daily basis to serve lunch to students as part of the summer lunch program. Hazleton Area and other schools and childcare facilities hold other programs there, including cross-country practice and meets, field trips, student community service projects, school picnics and field days.

    According to Pedri, the park is considered school grounds when it is used for educational purposes and is, therefore, protected under the Uniform Firearms Act as a gun-free zone.

    Banks said it is a “stretch” for the township to say the park is considered “school grounds” when students are using the facility.

    “Just because the school uses it, I think that’s probably a stretch to make the law cover what you want it to cover, and I’m not sure how that’s trying to shake out,” Banks said.

    Pedri replied, “I disagree on that.”

    Supervisors Chairman William Gallagher said the township has heard from representatives of local schools and child day care facilities who would not be comfortable at the park or would not use the park if the firearm ban is lifted.

    A woman attending Monday’s meeting spoke openly to Schroeder and Banks from her seat in the audience.

    “For your group to have your way and prove your point, you’re going to scare away our groups who bring children to the park,” she said.

    Gallagher said the township will defend the existing park rules and regulations, including the one prohibiting firearms.

    “For the protection of youth in the area, we are standing behind our statute,” Gallagher said.

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    so....if i happened to go to the Everhart museum in Nay Aug Park in Scranton, and there was a class trip that day that i didn't know about, does that make the museum de facto school property? i'd be breaking the law? what a crock.
    Givin' up the tactical advantage since 2008.

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    They said that you guys were twisting the law to advantage yourselves and disadvantage the community? ? ? I think that that is EXACTLY what the Board is doing! I dont understand how just because a school and daycare use the park almost daily that it is "School Property" . Does that mean that the school owns, paid for, and maintains the park? Ill agree with the previous....what a crock!

  11. #11
    Newbie cato's Avatar
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    Why not just sue or just go get arrested (it isa reg.? - is that a criminal offence or do they just ask you to leavewith refusal beinga trespass arrest?)

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    Sue the b**tards.

  13. #13
    State Researcher
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    cato wrote:
    Why not just sue or just go get arrested (it isa reg.? - is that a criminal offence or do they just ask you to leavewith refusal beinga trespass arrest?)
    We are working on our follow-up rebuttal and plan behind the scenes.




  14. #14
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    Standing by our Statute ?

    You mean the one that clearly violates State law ?

  15. #15
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    Why not just sue or just go get arrested (it isa reg.? - is that a criminal offence or do they just ask you to leavewith refusal beinga trespass arrest?)
    It's a public park, open to the public. As a member of the public, unless it's after hours, and the hours are posted, or you're doing something that's otherwise illegal, the authorities cannot ask you to leave. An arrest or citation for violating a preempted park ordinance is an invitation to a federal civil rights violation lawsuit. The park must always be available to the public for public use under the Public Trust Doctrine of 1915 (Philadelphia Museum vs. the University of Pennsylvania).

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