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Thread: Richland's Parks Ban falls

  1. #1
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    Several months ago I scoured all firearms laws in the Tri-City area. Kennewick and Pasco were in compliance with state law, but Richland had a parks ban as well as a ban in any establishment where alcohol is served. As of today I am proud to announce that Richland is coming into compliance with state law on the parks issue. I will continue to work with them on the alcohol issue.

    Out of respect for the City, I will post neither names nor their full private correspondence to me, as they were incredibly cooperative and polite in this matter. However, I will share the information I received this afternoon: A revised ordinance is being presented to the Council on January 20th and the following statement was made: "Efforts are proceeding to clarify, cover or remove the prohibition of firearms or weapons on the park signs to communicate the compliance with state law."

    Below is a copy of the initial contact I sent them on September 30th:

    I am writing to express concern over the City of Richland Municipal Code 9.22.070, subsection 2, which reads:

    "The possession of weapons in the parks is prohibited including, but not limited to, firearms, air rifles, paintball guns, bows and arrows, cross bows, swords and pellet guns unless authorized by the State of Washington as provided by RCW 9.41.070 as it currently exists or may be amended."

    I believe this ordinance is in violation of state RCW 9.41.290, which establishes State Preemption of firearms regulation. Under this 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with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality."

    As Washington State has no law prohibiting firearms in parks, the City of Richland's 9.22.070 is therefore preempted and unenforceable. I do not believe your exception of firearms authorized by RCW 9.41.270 is sufficient, as this deals only with concealed pistol licenses. As you may be aware, it is legal in Washington to carry a firearm without a CPL as long as the firearm is not concealed and is not carried in a manner that warrants alarm for the safety of others (RCW 9.41.270). The courts have held that a visible firearm in and of itself does not violate 9.41.270 (State v. Casad) and Law Enforcement Agencies in many Washington cities have issued notices to officers re-enforcing the fact that peaceable open carry of firearms is legal. Therefore, by restricting the possession of firearms in parks to CPL holders, you remain in violation of RCW 9.41.290.

    I am hereby formally requesting the removal of the firearms restriction in Richland Municipal Code 9.22.070.
    A positive response was received October 1st. I sent a follow-up on October 15th:

    Please see today's news story regarding Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna's opinion regarding cities enacting local firearms laws:

    http://www.ccrkba.org/pub/rkba/press...ag.opinion.htm

    I expect this opinion fully solidifies my position regarding RMC 9.22.070 and that the law will be changed shortly. Additionally, I would like to call to your attention RMC 9.27.020, which is also in contradiction with RCW 9.41.290. Per RCW 9.41.300, subsection (d), the only restricted areas with regards to liquor are "That portion of an establishment classified by the state liquor control board as off-limits to persons under twenty-one years of age." As RMC 9.27.020 broadens this scope significantly, it is also in violation of RCW 9.41.290 and must therefore be removed from Richland's Municipal Code. In the mean time, you may wish to consider instructing the Richland Police Department to cease enforcement of the subsections in question, as an arrest under either would be unfortunate for everyone involved at this point in time.

    Again, I thank you for your time and attention to this matter and politely request to be informed when the city has updated these laws.
    On November 12th, a misleading statement attributed to Richland Police Captain Mike Cobb was published by the Tri-City Herald with regards to an arrest. The statement said the arrest was for, in part, ""carrying a firearm in an establishment serving alcohol." As I had yet to hear back from the city, I stepped up my efforts with the following correspondence:

    To date I have not received further communications from you in this matter and it has become apparent city officers are enforcing RMC 9.27.020 in arresting one Jevin J. Edgar. I've no doubt Mr. Edgar deserves his arrest for carrying without a permit [edit-- I intended to say "concealing without a permit"]; for being an idiot in flashing an unholstered pistol around; and for not being cooperative with officers, and indeed I thank and support Richland City officers for their actions in this matter. That being said, Lee's Tahitian has informed me that a portion of their establishment is a restaurant open to minors. If Mr. Edgar was in that portion of the establishment, the charges under RMC 9.27.020 are invalid (the other charges would stand, thankfully).

    Further, the Tri-City Herald is reporting the arrest in part for "carrying a firearm in an establishment serving alcohol." This violates Washington State pre-emption laws and such publication furthers the inaccurate belief that it is illegal to carry into a place that serves alcohol. This is not the case. As long as the pistol holder remains outside the 21 and over "bar" portion of the establishment, his actions are legal and he may even consume alcohol while carrying.

    I would like to work cordially with you to resolve my concerns but the recent lack of communication in this matter concerns me. I have therefore copied the Richland City Council on this thread and I will be contacting the Tri-City Herald regarding their publishing of the falsehood that it is illegal to carry a firearm in an establishment serving alcohol. If city officers continue to arrest citizens under the disputed portions of Richland's Municipal Code, I will place area attorneys and public defenders on notice as to the dates and details of this discussion. Delaying action in this matter may result in the city being held liable for false arrest and for knowingly enforcing these laws.

    Please understand my intention is not to make your, or Captain Cobb's, lives difficult. I am a friend of the police and I do not want to strip them of the laws they need to arrest people like Mr. Edgar. That said, myself and countless others legally carry firearms all over your city, in some cases openly in a belt holster. I do not wish to find myself under arrest because I chose to legally carry in a city park, or while having lunch at Applebees or any number of other alcohol-serving restaurants outside of the designated "bar" section. Such an arrest would undoubtably result in a successful lawsuit against the city, as has happened in other Washington cities, and I'd rather not see the public's money wasted on such an unfortunate incident.

    Again, I thank you for your time and I do look forward to hearing from you soon.
    A positive response was received the following day.

    As they have yet to address the alcohol issue, I will stay on top of them until they do. In the meantime, the parks ban is gone and the relative ease in which it was removed was quite refreshing. I will follow up in January to ensure the council accepts the changes, but I have no concerns in this matter so I think a celebration is warranted. I commend the City of Richland for working with me on this issue; they could have been defiant and forced legal action, but they were very cooperative and understanding, I greatly appreciated that and I told them as much.

    Huge thank you to the people who make this forum possible and who laid the groundwork for our cause. Without you, I would have not been armed with the knowledge to effectively approach the city in this matter.



  2. #2
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    Very cool. I've open carried many times in Howard Amon park and never once was given a second look. Although I did get yelled at for letting my Chesapeake Bay Retriever off heel to fetch a bumper Glad to see they're fixing an issue they never seemed to enforce anyway.

  3. #3
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    Good job!

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    Nice job keeping the Tri-Cities inline with state law. It's great to see such active members in my home towns.

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    Richland is not in compliance as of November 2009. The sign remains as prima-facia evidence of an Ordinance banning firearms totally.

  6. #6
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    Capn Camo wrote:
    Richland is not in compliance as of November 2009. The sign remains as prima-facia evidence of an Ordinance banning firearms totally.
    They are lazy or hope to discourage law abiding citizens from excercising their legally protected rights. I would just ignore the signs.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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    Regular Member FMCDH's Avatar
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    sudden valley gunner wrote:
    Capn Camo wrote:
    Richland is not in compliance as of November 2009. The sign remains as prima-facia evidence of an Ordinance banning firearms totally.
    They are lazy or hope to discourage law abiding citizens from excercising their legally protected rights. I would just ignore the signs.
    And ignore the signs is exactly what anyone should do since the fact of the matter is that the "ordinance" does not exist anyway. It was automatically repealed as soon as the ink hit the paper by the authority of the state legislature.

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    The sign must be corrected because it states, under color of law, a total ban on firearms, regardless. It reads "weapons prohibited" and cites a City ordinance which is illegal. It is an attempt to threaten and intimidate under force of Ordinance ( I wont justify it with the word "law" because it isnt a law). If the sign contradicts the Ordinance, it must be corrected or removed. If it states, as it does, an ILLEGAL ban not supported by the Ordinance, then the PARKS DIRECTOR MUST BE REMOVED for attempting to MAKE HIS OWN LAWS.

  9. #9
    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Capn Camo wrote:
    The sign must be corrected because it states, under color of law, a total ban on firearms, regardless. It reads "weapons prohibited" and cites a City ordinance which is illegal. It is an attempt to threaten and intimidate under force of Ordinance ( I wont justify it with the word "law" because it isnt a law). If the sign contradicts the Ordinance, it must be corrected or removed. If it states, as it does, an ILLEGAL ban not supported by the Ordinance, then the PARKS DIRECTOR MUST BE REMOVED for attempting to MAKE HIS OWN LAWS.
    You make good points, I would just ignore the sign. If you want to write the city with these points and request a response. Others have done the same with good results. NavyLt wrote DOL, and they had to remove the signs here in Bellingham. Others have had some good luck with cities.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

  10. #10
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    Ignoring the sign is ignoring their contempt for law. Cant do. It threatens the unawares Public with legal action under color of law.

  11. #11
    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Capn Camo wrote:
    Ignoring the sign is ignoring their contempt for law. Cant do. It threatens the unawares Public with legal action under color of law.
    Write them be the squeaky wheel that get the oil, more power to you man.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

  12. #12
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    Writing has been done, they ignored it twice. Time for the Legislature to act. Ithink the City needs to be shut down and a house cleaning commenced. A few fired/arrested Council members would "SEND A MESSAGE"

    That IS the catch phrase, isnt it- 'sending messages?'

    Then the same message sent across the State.

    yes, there has been another letter, to the State Rep. Its a doozie.

    -----------

    Tricityguy, I just caught this little detail,,,:

    "I am writing to express concern over the City of Richland Municipal Code 9.22.070, subsection 2, which reads:

    "The possession of weapons in the parks is prohibited including, but not limited to, firearms, air rifles, paintball guns, bows and arrows, cross bows, swords and pellet guns unless authorized by the State of Washington as provided by RCW 9.41.070 as it currently exists or may be amended." "

    9.41.070 is not relevant, that Section is about getting a LICENSE, not restriction on firearm.

    Anyway, they have no authority to require a CPL for OC. Theres that Media lie again -
    that a permit is required for ANY carry.

    Our "permit" is the Constution.

    If its read that they only have authority (VERY CRITICAL distinction) to regulate CCW (which is true) but NOT OC, then no problem. Unfortunately they are illegally choosing to PRETEND to lump them all in the same Ordinance, which is illegal.

    The sign does not make the distinction. Its further idiocy since CCW Statutes already exist and as the Attorney mentioned, no need to reinvent the wheel.

    The sign still says "weapons" and makes no distinction, therefore its illegal.

    " I expect this opinion fully solidifies my position regarding RMC 9.22.070 and that the law will be changed shortly. "

    Theres the lie the City attorney is persisting in, and what I ripped him in CC meeting for, THERE IS NO ORDINANCE, it was struck down (repealed) by the Legislature.

    Think Ill go have lunch with an imaginary $20 bill tomorrow or pay City Utilities with pretend $100's.

    We's in TC need to have a meeting, Ive got an action with Olympia cooking on the back burner.



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