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Thread: University Place's response to rcw violation

  1. #1
    Regular Member sempercarry's Avatar
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    I sent a letter to the city attorney of UP about a week ago pointing out their violation of state law. I hope you don't mind Izzle, I am not a very good writer and I thought your letter got the point across pretty well so I just filled in the blanks with the University Place codes and sent it in. Here it is.



    Dear City Attorney of University Place:

    I would like to bring to the city’s attention University Place Municipal
    Code:15.05.060, section E. Recreational Activities, number (2) Firearms,
    and its violation of Washington State Law. Currently University Place
    Municipal Code 15.05.060 is worded: “No person shall use, carry, or possess
    firearms of any description, or air rifles, spring guns, bow and arrows,
    slings or any other forms of weapons potentially inimical to wildlife and
    dangerous to human safety, or any instrument that can be loaded with and
    fire blank cartridges, or any kind of trapping device. Shooting into park
    areas from beyond park boundaries is forbidden.” University Place Municipal
    Code 15.05.060 is in clear violation of RCW 9.41.290 [State Preemption]:
    “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    preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or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.” This RCW is
    in referance to firearms laws. The whole RCW can be found here
    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9.41.290 University Place
    Municipal Code 15.05.060 is inconsistent and more restrictive then RCW
    9.41.300 when it states: “No person shall use, carry, or possess firearms
    of any description”. There is no exemption in RCW 9.41.300 that stats a
    city can restrict the right to carry a firearm onto the grounds of a
    public park. Under RCW 9.41.290, University Place Municipal Code 15.05.060
    is preempted and repealed. I would also like to direct your attention to
    the Washington State Attorney General's Opinion AGO 2008 No. 8 which states
    "RCW 9.41.290 preempts a city’s authority to enact local laws that prohibit
    possession of firearms on city property or in city-owned facilities."
    I request that you advise the city council and Manager to remove or revise
    the referenced code in order to prevent and preclude the potential for a
    lawsuit from illegal citation and/or arrest in violation of state law.
    Further, I request that you assist the city law enforcement officials to
    develop a bulletin for officers that will clear up misconceptions caused by
    the preempted code. These ordnances are posted at Cirque park and the
    Grandview Chambers bay walkway. I look forward to hearing back from you
    about this issue.

    Sincerely,
    Jonathon



    and the response



    I received your voicemail today asking for a response to the email below
    and I wanted to assure you that I had received your email and I will review
    it at my earliest opportunity. I am in and out of the office a great deal
    the next several weeks, and I wish to coordinate with the County, which is
    the City's police department to assure a thorough review and coordinated
    enforcement, so it may take a little time to review. You can expect to
    hear from me in a few weeks.

    Janean Parker
    City Attorney
    (253)460-5426


    Its good to see some people have a decent head on their shoulders and can listen to reason.

  2. #2
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    I've pointed out repeatedly in the past that calm, rationale letters like yours will get a better response than chest thumping, soverign flag waving and all of that.

    City attorney's are often on contract to a city in addition to their full time lawyer stuff so if you don't get a reply in a couple of weeks, politely say howdy again to remind them you are looking for an answer.

  3. #3
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    Good to see that the seed has been planted. I'll be interested to see your outcome. My 'rents still live there, and we visit often. I'll OC there on occasion, and have never had a run-in. And FYI, the UPPD is a contracted departmentwith Pierce County S.D. providing the staffing.

    Also, if you don't get a good answer from the City Atty's office, let me know, I'm on a first-name basis withfour of the seven city council members. (is that aMAJORITY?!?) I'm UP-grown. (Not to be confused withgrown-up! haha)

  4. #4
    Regular Member sempercarry's Avatar
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    awsome, I'll keep that in mind

  5. #5
    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Sempercarry--

    Just a small point but the entire municipal code is not rendered null and void because of State Preemption, just those parts that pertain to the carry of a firearm. If you read the rest of the Municipal Code there is most likely a "severability" clause. This allows for the remainder of the code to remain in effect should any specific portion be declared invalid. It is legal under State Law to restrict the discharge of a firearm in a specified area and also legal to regulate all the other Non-Firearm weapons.

    The only portion of the code that is invalid is that pertaining to firearms, not the use of firearms.


    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

    "If you refuse to stand up for others now, who will stand up for you when your time comes?"

  6. #6
    Regular Member sempercarry's Avatar
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    If you read the email a little closer, you will see that I point out the part of the municipal code that is in violation of the rcw is the part restricting the carry of firearms.

    University Place Municipal Code 15.05.060 is inconsistent and more restrictive then RCW 9.41.300 when it states: “No person shall use, carry, or possess firearms
    of any description”. There is no exemption in RCW 9.41.300 that stats a
    city can restrict the right to carry a firearm onto the grounds of a
    public park

  7. #7
    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    sempercarry wrote:
    If you read the email a little closer, you will see that I point out the part of the municipal code that is in violation of the rcw is the part restricting the carry of firearms.

    University Place Municipal Code 15.05.060 is inconsistent and more restrictive then RCW 9.41.300 when it states: “No person shall use, carry, or possess firearms
    of any description”. There is no exemption in RCW 9.41.300 that stats a
    city can restrict the right to carry a firearm onto the grounds of a
    public park
    My point however is that they CAN prohibit the discharge of a firearm in the city park.

    Their ordinance would be OK if it merely prohibited that action, not the carry or possesion. Under Severability, if their ordinance prohibiting the Carry is invalidated, it is still valid for the prohibition of discharging a firearm.
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

    "If you refuse to stand up for others now, who will stand up for you when your time comes?"

  8. #8
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    amlevin wrote:
    My point however is that they CAN prohibit the discharge of a firearm in the city park.

    Their ordinance would be OK if it merely prohibited that action, not the carry or possesion.* Under Severability, if their ordinance prohibiting the Carry is invalidated, it is still valid for the prohibition of discharging a firearm.*
    Shhhhh.....if they're not paying attention, we may get an open-air range out of the deal when they amend the code.

  9. #9
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    Roy,

    I know you're just joking, but in reality--the UP city council, having recently gone through a set of hearings result in Tacoma Rifle and Revolver Club gaining a conditional-use (but conforming) land-use status, rather than their previous non-confirming (but grandfathered) status, believe me, something like that won't slip by them unawares!

    :-)

  10. #10
    Regular Member sempercarry's Avatar
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    Hey,

    well....still no response after 3 more emails and a couple calls. G20-IWB24/7mind making a few calls of your own.....I would like to resolve this matter as soon as possible.


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