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Thread: York County Parks Gun Ban

  1. #1
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    York County is still looking for a way to ban legally carried firearms from parks.
    Full text below.............

    York County's ban on guns in parks thrown into question
    CARL LINDQUIST The York Dispatch[/url]
    Updated:12/15/2008 10:47:06 AM EST

    Acontroversy in Lebanon County that erupted after a woman carried a handgun to her daughter's soccer game is prompting questions about whether York County can continue to prohibit guns in its parks.
    The parks department spent the last year rewriting its park rules to make them clearer and ensure their relevance, said Tom Brant, executive director. The goal is to get the new rules in place early next year.
    One of the key elements still under discussion is whether the county can bar guns from its parks, he said.
    Current park rules prohibit people from carrying weapons in the parks unless they're hunting in one of the three where the sport is allowed.
    Brant said a controversy in Lebanon County earlier this year prompted him to question whether the county can continue prohibiting firearms in the other parks.
    In the Lebanon County case, the county sheriff revoked Meleanie Hain's concealed weapons permit for openly carrying a handgun to her daughter's soccer game. A county judge later reversed the decision.
    "The case of the soccer mom carrying the pistol on her side at the game, we're looking into that, how it impacts the public parklands," he said.
    Balance: At issue is the balance between an individual's constitutional right to bear arms, the state's right to regulate firearms and a municipality's responsibility to protect public safety, said York County District Attorney Stan Rebert.
    State law allows people to openly carry firearms in public places, such as on city streets, said Rebert. However, they are prohibited from concealing a firearm in a purse or waistband, or carrying it in their car without a permit.

    Under state law, counties can't regulate the lawful ownership, possession or transportation of a firearm, county solicitor Mike Flannelly noted. The question is how that law is interpreted.

    Courts have ruled that counties can prohibit people from carrying firearms in courthouses, Flannelly said. County officials aren't sure if that flexibility would be extended to parks.
    "The question is whether those specific safety concerns about a courthouse apply more generically to county park property," Flannelly said. "That's kind of the issue we're struggling with."
    He became interested in the county's rules regarding firearms after learning that Lancaster County was reviewing its policy prohibiting guns in its parks.
    Flannelly and Rebert said they continue to investigate the issue.
    Commissioners: The final decision about how to proceed will rest with the county commissioners, who are responsible for approving the ordinance with the new park rules.
    Commissioner Chris Reilly, for one, said he doesn't like the idea of people openly walking around a park carrying a gun, especially when a lot of children are around.
    That said, Reilly said the county is bound by the law and its rules must comply. Otherwise, the county's prohibition will just get shot down in court and the county could subject itself to a lawsuit.
    "If you have a right to carry it, then you should be able to carry it," Reilly said. "If you have a right to carry it and you take that right away, obviously we'll have problems in the courts."
    -- Reach Carl Lindquist at 505-5432 or clindquist@yorkdispatch.com.


  2. #2
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    It's refreshing to see a public official seeking out what is right, rather than ignorantly boasting that they can do whatever they want.

    Borrowing from Pa. Patriot's post on the West Mifflin thread (currently in the Hot Topics forum) someone needs to point out that it isn't case law that allows courts to ban weapons, but rather coded law.

    http://paopencarry.org/pa-firearm-law-ss913

    It would seem that there is no question to sort out here, this ban would probably be illegal.

    As always, IANAL, and in this case, IANA resident of Pennsylvania...

    TFred


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    TFred wrote:
    ...this ban would probably be illegal.

    As always, IANAL, and in this case, IANA resident of Pennsylvania...

    TFred

    I'll do you one better. IANAL either, but I am a Pa resident, and pretty well versed in Pa firearm laws and applicable case law.

    The York county ban on firearms in their parks is DEFINITELY illegal. I don't get there often, but I have carried there in the past, and will continue to do so when I return. If they don't see their way clear to follow state law, and they'd like to cite me for ignoring their ban, I'll be happy to assist in their education.

  4. #4
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    Copy of my post on PAFOA

    Courts have ruled that counties can prohibit people from carrying firearms in courthouses, Flannelly said. County officials aren't sure if that flexibility would be extended to parks.
    FAIL Solicitor

    Where do these counties and twps get these worthless, incompetent, obviously unqualified attorneys from? Serious question... And then they LET them talk to the press?

    No, Mr. county solicitor Mike Flannelly. The county can not prohibit people from carrying in courthouses. Title 18 (you know, that STATE law thingy) CLEARLY prohibits carry in "court facilities" (as defined by the statute). The county has no say either way about it.
    ref: 18Pa.C.S.913

    "The question is whether those specific safety concerns about a courthouse apply more generically to county park property," Flannelly said. "That's kind of the issue we're struggling with."
    FAIL Solicitor

    Again, 18Pa.C.S.913 is pretty clear about where it applies.... "Court facilities" and the definition of same is right there in the handy little statute. Anyone want to wager a guess whether parks would be considered a "court facility" in that definition? Didn't think so.

    18Pa.C.S.6120 makes it abundantly clear that you can NOT regulate firearms "in any manner", Mr. Flannelly.

    Does solicitor Flannelly not have a code book?
    They pay this guy TAX MONEY to act clueless in the newspaper?
    Yorkonians, I would be outraged at this.

    Flannelly and Rebert said they continue to investigate the issue.
    Here, allow me to assist...

    18Pa.C.S.6120
    18Pa.C.S.913

    Additionally, remember that In 1996 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held in Ortiz v. Commonwealth that there are no implied home rule exceptions to 18 Pa.c.S Section 6120 given that the Pennsylvania Constitution commands that the right to bear arms "shall not be questioned." Ortiz v. Commonwealth, 681 A.2d 152 (1996)


    There you have it... all the research needed to comply with the law,solicitor. Piece o' cake.
    I'll send you a bill

    Commissioner Chris Reilly, for one, said he doesn't like the idea of people openly walking around a park carrying a gun, especially when a lot of children are around.
    Yeah, because kids should not be protected by adults with guns What a knee jerker.

    That said, Reilly said the county is bound by the law and its rules must comply. Otherwise, the county's prohibition will just get shot down in court and the county could subject itself to a lawsuit.

    "If you have a right to carry it, then you should be able to carry it," Reilly said. "If you have a right to carry it and you take that right away, obviously we'll have problems in the courts."
    Winner! Finally, despite his baseless concern over "children" he actually understands how to read a couple of clear paraghaphs of code. Bravo commish!


    Finally, bravo to Tom Brant, executive director of the parks. For investigating/questioning the rule in the first place. Of course he was made aware of the issue by a fellow PAFOA member.

    Letter going to Solicitor, Commissioners, newspaper and parks director today... Will post.

  5. #5
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Pa. Patriot, just curious, I know this happens sometimes here in Virginia, was there any case law prior to the passage of current state code about this? Sometimes here they have had case law, or an AG opinion, which the legislature then tries to codify.

    Just wondering, as I'm totally unfamiliar with Pennsylvania code.

    TFred


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    Minich v. Jefferson County speaks to preemption limits imposed on municipalities in Pa.

  7. #7
    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    I never ceased to be amazed at the ignorance of some feeding from the public trough.

    Keep on edumacting them and hammer them when necessary.

    Yata hey
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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