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Thread: Hazle Township, PA Blinks on Park Gun Ban!

  1. #1
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    http://www.standardspeaker.com/articles/2008/10/15/news/hz_standspeak.20081015.a.pg5.hz15_hazletwp_s1.2016 144_loc.txt

    http://tinyurl.com/3zxdzy


    Gun rights group will picnic in peace
    BY MIA LIGHT
    STAFF WRITER
    Published: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 4:18 AM EDT
    Members of the Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association attended Tuesday's regular meeting of the Hazle Township Board of Supervisors prepared to push for their right to openly carry guns at the township community park.

    No push was required.

    William Gallagher, supervisors chairman, told the group's spokesman that the township never tried to stop the group from picnicking in the park, and so the township's conversation on the topic is over.

    Association member Paul Schroeder of Hazleton read from a two-page statement that listed case law, legislation and questions directed to the board.


    He asked if the park rule that prohibits firearms is mandated by an ordinance. Solicitor Charles Pedri said it is not.

    "The park rules were in place when the township took ownership of the park in 1964. They were never changed and they were never enacted by ordinance," Pedri said.

    Before Schroeder resumed reading his prepared statement, Gallagher asked, "Were you ever stopped from using the park?"

    Schroeder answered, "No."

    "Were you ever denied permission to rent a park pavilion?" Gallagher asked.

    "No," Schroeder said.

    "Well then what else are you looking for? That's the end of this conversation," Gallagher said.

    Schroeder asked if the park rule prohibiting firearms would be abolished. Pedri said it would not.

    "The rules are there. No. They will not be changed," he said.

    Schroeder and other members of the group have been attending Hazle Township public meetings since July when member Greg Rotz of Chambersburg decided against renting a park pavilion for an organizational picnic because of a park rule that prohibits firearms in the park. The pavilion rental application requires the renter to agree to abide by park rules.

    The association members said the park rule is a violation of a Pennsylvania law that states that a county, municipality or township cannot regulate ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms or ammunition when legally carried or transported.

    Pennsylvania law allows anyone who is not prohibited by law from owning firearms to openly carry a handgun in plain sight, with no license required. There are a few exceptions to that law.

    Assistant township solicitor Dave Pedri defended the park rule, arguing that the facility is protected under another law that prohibits possession of weapons on school property.

    The park is used year-round by the local school district and by child day care centers for educational and recreational purposes.

    "There is no ordinance to enforce from a municipal perspective. They're looking for an issue and there is no issue," Pedri said.

    Standing outside Hazle Township Commons after the meeting adjourned, Schroeder said, "Finally, we got our way. We educated the public. We educated the supervisors."

    mlight@standardspeaker.com

  2. #2
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    What is opencarry.org's position on this outcome? I don't see how it's a "win".

    The illegal rule is still in place. Enforcement is not the issue.

    The local government is requiring openly carrying citizens who wish to rent the facility to lie on the application form, by "agreeing" to abide by the rule, without the intention of actually doing so. The illegality and unenforcability of the rule is not relevant. This rule will continue to intimidate law-abiding citizens from using this facility, which is the obvious intent. They win this round. :X

    I don't live there, but I would not be appeased one tiny bit by this outcome.

    TFred

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    Maybe someone should go down and fill out the application, but cross out the rule that talks about firearms. Maybe talk to a lawyer about how to properly make a change to the contract. See what happens - put the ball backin their court.

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    Notso wrote:
    Maybe someone should go down and fill out the application, but cross out the rule that talks about firearms. Maybe talk to a lawyer about how to properly make a change to the contract. See what happens - put the ball backin their court.
    That was done already but the park is not renting pavilliaons any more this season.

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    http://www.standardspeaker.com/artic...41660_top4.txt
    It’s their party

    BY KENT JACKSON
    STAFF WRITER

    Published: Sunday, October 26, 2008 4:17 AM EDT

    The immediate concern for Greg Rotz was avoiding fire around his arms, not firearms, as he turned hamburgers and hot dogs on a flaming grill during a picnic for gunowners.

    His semi-automatic pistol stayed hidden beneath his heavy coat.

    “I don’t go to extraordinary measures ... just to show it off. That’s not the point,” Rotz said.

    Yet if the picnic that Rotz and other gunowners threw at Hazle Township Community Park had been held in July, as originally scheduled, rather than during Saturday’s windy rainstorm, Rotz might not have needed a coat. His gun would have been visible in the holster at his side, and children might have been playing in the park, which was empty on Saturday except for the picnickers.

    A member of Pennsylvania Open Carry, Rotz and others who exercise their right to carry a gun openly and chat on the same Internet forum wanted to meet in person this summer at a picnic.

    They chose the Hazleton area for its central location, but learned when reserving a picnic pavilion that park rules forbade groups from possessing weapons.

    Rotz and others affiliated with the Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association believe the township rule clashes with state law and the Second Amendment, which gives Americans the right to bear arms, which they told the Hazle Township supervisors at meetings this summer.

    The park rule dates to 1964 and is only on a list of rules given to picnic groups. It isn’t backed by a township ordinance or listed on a sign that says “No” to pets, motorcycles, alcohol, swimming, boating, ice skating and hunting at the park.

    The gunowners finally got together for hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken casserole this month after the township stopped requiring groups to reserve pavilions for the summer.

    “We didn’t sneak up and snap a lawsuit. We came to a township meeting,” Rotz said.

    He encourages township residents who disagree with him to speak up. That’s their right.

    And Rotz respects the rights of others even while he defends his own.

    If he is shopping and a storeowner asks him to conceal his weapon or leave the store, Rotz complies.

    “Their private property right is no less important than my Second Amendment right,” he said.

    A resident of Chambersburg, Franklin County, who takes his 12-year-old son target shooting, Rotz straps on a gun and a seatbelt for the same reason: to protect his family.

    “When you need a police officer, you make a phone call and you wait. In certain situations, you can’t afford to wait,” he said.

    He doesn’t display his weapon all the time. Company rules, for example, prohibit him from doing so at his job as a shipping clerk.

    “I don’t say you should carry open all the time. We want people to know it’s a legal option,” Rotz said.

    While a small percentage of Pennsylvanians carry guns in public view, state law allows anyone not prohibited from possessing a gun for other reasons such as criminal conviction, to openly carry a gun while walking. Philadelphia is an exception; people need a permit to carry a gun there. Elsewhere in the state, gun owners need permits to carry a concealed gun or to carry a gun in a motor vehicle.

    A Lebanon County mother had her permit revoked in September for wearing a gun on her hip at her child’s soccer match. Meleanie Hain regained her permit on Oct. 14 at a court hearing that Rotz and other gunowners attended to support her.

    Legal gun owners aren’t the problem, Craig Budde of Hazleton said at the picnic, which he attended with his sons.

    “Who would you rather see with guns? Us — the honest citizens or the drug dealers?” said Budde, who claimed that one of five people arrested for allegedly dealing cocaine on Thursday night in Hazleton lived a few blocks from him.

    Beverly Vincent of Pittston, who attended the picnic with her husband, Norman, said owning a gun is as basic as owning a rottweiller.

    “Nobody ever asks, ‘Why do you have that dog?’” Vincent said. “Guns have been around since the beginning. They used to be carried more openly than they are now.”

    Tom Young, who drove about 80 minutes from Campbelltown, Lebanon County, to attend the picnic, said he sometimes carries a gun openly.

    “It’s a legal right,” Young said. “Each person has their own right if they do choose to.”

    kjackson@standardspeaker.com

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