Article indicates York County is still confused on licensing and registration.
Gun restrictions dropped in York County parks
York Dispatch: Gun restrictions dropped in York County parks
CARL LINDQUIST The York Dispatch[/url]
Updated:12/29/2008 10:51:29 AM EST
New rules put in place last week will allow people to carry guns in York County parks even when they aren't hunting.
For years the county has prohibited people from carrying guns in the county parks unless they're hunting in one of the three where the sport is allowed.
The county commissioners Wednesday approved new rules that reverse that stance and allow people to carry guns, concealed or not, at any time in the parks as long as the owner and gun are licensed and registered pursuant to state law.
The new rule was developed after questions were raised about whether the county's previous ban would hold up in court, said Tom Brant, executive director of the parks system. The change puts the system in line with state law and other Pennsylvania parks.
"If the people want their protection, as long as they have the permits, I don't have any problem with it," said President Commissioner Steve Chronister. "There are some people that go for walks in the parks, you think you are going to be safe, but you're not safe anywhere."
Discouraged: Brant said county park rangers will try to discourage people from openly carrying guns, a practice that created some controversy earlier this year in Lebanon County. It was one of the reasons the county began to re-examine its ban on guns in parks.
In that 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
Brant said he's hoping people won't openly carry guns because of the fright it can cause.
We hope "that people demonstrate courtesy of other users, (and) not alarm other people in our activities here on park property," Brant said.
York County Commissioner Doug Hoke said he supported the change because he was advised it was the correct approach under current state statute.
"Whatever the law is and the courts decide is the fair way to treat this," he said.
The easing of gun restrictions was part of a rewrite of the county's park rules, he said. They were last overhauled in 1971, although they've been periodically amended.
-- Reach Carl Lindquist at 505-5432 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are the regs: http://www.yorkcountyparks.org/PDF/2...and%20regs.pdf- written very poorly, appear to require a permit for specific guns and that they be registered.
Upon invitation, I have written an op-ed addressing this recent change in park rules. I am told that it will probably be printed in Monday or Tuesday's York Dispatch. I'll hold further comment until it comes out.
Did someone outlaw OC without a permit in Pa. while I was asleep?
Better tell shefearsnothing quick! :P
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.
The old, pre-UFA parks regulation prohibited the possession of a firearm in county parks. After much pressuring from us folks, the county commissioners got around to amending the parks regulation. Didn't quite get it right, but at least now it's no longer "illegal."
Mike wrote:Aren't the Pennsylvania State Police still confused on registration?Article indicates York County is still confused on licensing and registration.
Really well written and well said. Great job.
shefearsnothing wrote:Very interesting, especially the information on Official Oppression. I wonder why the Sheriff and the Judge in the Lebanon case wouldn't be subject to this? Seems that a lecture coming from a person of authority on why you should not exercise your rights would easily fall under that exact sort of oppression.
I wish people would quit tossing out the word "permit."
It is a friggin' "license" to carry firearms . . . not a permit, not a concealed permit, but a LICENSE.
Greg's op-ed posted here (under fair use) for archival purposes.
There's no firearm registration in Pa.
Updated: 01/12/2009 11:03:11 AM EST
I was happy to see the recent announcement regarding the decision of the York County Commissioners to reverse the long-standing prohibition on firearms in county parks. I commend them on having the integrity to make this change, despite the fact that some in the community will vehemently disagree with it.
Of course, it won't change anything for me personally, as I was already aware that state law was the only authority on the matter. Because of that fact, I simply ignored the invalid and unenforceable rule and carried my firearm with me when visiting York County parks (just as I do when I go anywhere else).
After reviewing the new language, it became clear that while it does not violate Pennsylvania's Preemption statute, the authors -- and presumably their counsel who reviewed it -- do not have a complete and clear understanding of Pennsylvania's firearm laws.
The new park rule language requires that firearms be "properly registered ... in accordance with Pennsylvania law." I own several firearms, and I carry a firearm on a daily basis. Allow me to make a confession: Not a single one of my firearms is registered.
I'm sure many of you are wondering why I would put my name to such a statement, especially in such a public manner. It's quite simple. In Pennsylvania, there is NO "registration" of firearms. In fact, statute expressly forbids it. This means that I meet the requirements of the new park rule -- because not having my firearms registered is indeed "in accordance with Pennsylvania law." As such, the mention of "registration" in the new rule is superfluous and absolutely meaningless from a standpoint of enforcement.
While those in York County government certainly aren't the first to demonstrate what they don't know, the fact that they are not alone does not absolve them from the legal responsibility of such ignorance. Though the Commissioners rightly closed the door on one violation, Thomas Brant (executive director of the York County Department of Parks and Recreation) quickly opened up another with his comments, published in the York Dispatch on Dec. 29, 2008.
According to the article printed, Mr. Brant suggests that "county park rangers will try to discourage people from openly carrying guns." However, such behavior would not only again present a conflict with Pennsylvania's Preemption statute, but would also place any party who actually participated in this type of "discouragement" in violation of Pennsylvania's Official Oppression statute.
Obviously, the county recognizes that it is absolutely legal to carry a firearm that is not concealed, yet for some reason, there are those who simply aren't satisfied with just following the law, and feel that they must insert their personal opinion into the matter -- never mind the limits set by statute or Pennsylvania's Home Rule Law.
The Official Oppression statute establishes that anyone who "denies or impedes another in the exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power or immunity" can be found guilty of this offense. A conviction under this section is a second degree misdemeanor, which is sufficient to classify that person as "prohibited," and bar them from owning, possessing or carrying firearms for life.
Also, few municipal officials realize that a violation of Pennsylvania's Preemption statute is not a trivial matter. The offense is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor, which has the same level of legal severity as "involuntary manslaughter." When this offense occurs, there is also the risk of criminal conspiracy charges against each individual directly involved, because of the fact that this is a long-settled matter of case law, and upheld by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (Ortiz v. Commonwealth -- 1996). Of course, all of this is before any civil action occurs.
By now, many are familiar with the situation in Lebanon, but Lebanon is not the only locale where citizens have taken the time to familiarize themselves with what the law actually says, and are standing up for their rights. Dickson City and Allentown are also currently defendants in federal suits revolving around various civil rights issues (some firearm related, some not) and both Pittsburgh and West Mifflin Borough are dangerously close to litigation as well.
Government bodies, both small and large, throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, are beginning to recognize that just because some of us cling to our guns and religion doesn't mean that we are not educated, articulate, and willing to stand up against them when it's necessary to remind them that not only do we know our rights, but that we also still have the desire to exercise them.
Kudos to York County officials for avoiding "the hard way" at this most recent fork in the road. Let's hope they continue to make such appropriate decisions as they continue on their way.
Greg Rotz is a member of Pennsylvania Open Carry (paopencarry.org), and lives in Chambersburg. After success fully challenging his own LTCF revocation in January of 2008, he has become in creasingly involved in various aspects of firearm rights and activism across Pennsylvania.
Great job, Greg!