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Thread: Plymouth Town Hall gun policy

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    Plymouth resident opposes Town Hall gun policy


    Wednesday, March 11, 2009 11:05 PM EDT


    BY DIANE CHURCH
    Staff writer


    PLYMOUTH — A local resident is up in arms about a new rule banning guns from town hall.

    In a letter to Councilman Sekorski, Keith Golnik said that on Feb. 25 he attended a promotion ceremony at the police department.

    “I was carrying a pistol as I normally do, as I am a licensed individual to carry a firearm in 34 states,” he said. “After the ceremony the chief of police pulled me aside and told me that only police officers can carry firearms in Town Hall. She further stated that Mr. [William] Bellotti [director of human resources] put out a Town Hall handbook that stated such.”

    Golnik said he asked the town clerk for a copy of the handbook and any local ordinance restricting possession of firearms. He was told there is no such handbook and no local ordinances or codes regarding gun possession.

    A few days later, Golnik said, he met with Bellotti and Mayor Vincent Festa to discuss the matter. The mayor told him the handbook is in a draft form but has not been finalized and that some police officers were upset that he was carrying a firearm.

    “I discussed with the mayor and Mr. Bellotti as to why they wanted to ban weapons from being carried by citizens,” Golnik wrote. “I had hoped to change their minds but I had no success.”

    Golnik was further annoyed when he noticed a paper sign at an entrance to town hall that states, “Other than police no firearms or weapons are allowed on town hall premises.” The sign was dated Feb. 27.

    The handbook in question is for employees and contains information on hiring, work schedules, benefits and such. On Page 25, a section called Weapons in the Workplace Policy states, “No employee or visitor of the town of Plymouth may carry, have in their possession, bring on to Town Premises or otherwise have under his/her control any instrument or object that could commonly be classified as a weapon, whether the carrying of such a weapon is legal or not.” Law enforcement officers in the official conduct of their duties are excluded from the policy.

    This policy is in the new version of the handbook, which has not become official yet. The current handbook, which went into effect in 2002, does not have a weapons policy.

    The rule brings up some issues for Plymouth. The town must decide whether rules for employees in an employee handbook can also be applied to the general public without any ordinances being passed. Golnik is not a town employee.

    Golnik also doubts whether Bellotti or the mayor has the authority to forbid the carrying of firearms in town hall. “The Town of Plymouth has no ordinance that restricts the carrying or possession of firearms,” he said. “According to the Town Charter, the department of public works is given supervision and control of the maintenance of all town-owned structures and public buildings. Also, under Section 4 the legislative power of the town shall be vested exclusively in the council.”

    Golnik is concerned that the policy could interfere with those who are not police, but must carry firearms to do their job, such as animal control officers, DEP officers, and bail enforcement officers who are licensed to carry firearms. He feels it will also restrict citizens from turning in firearms to the police, restrict military and veterans groups from performing ceremonies, re-enactments or weddings and restrict possible use of the Town Hall by hunter safety classes or demonstrations.

    He also said, “Under the Connecticut Constitution, Article 1, section 15: ‘Every Citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.’”

    He asked the town council to order the mayor to remove the sign from the building until they determine if he has the sole responsibility and authority to “exercise control over the premises.”

    Bellotti said he put the sign up and he doesn’t see what all the fuss is about.

    “It’s a pretty standard policy,” he said. “I got it from the Department of Labor handbook. I don’t see why anyone other than police should be carrying a weapon in town hall. There’s no logical reason for it.”

    As for Golnik’s right to carry a gun, Bellotti said that right can end at the door of town hall if officials see fit.

    “If he wants to carry a gun anywhere else, that’s fine,” he said.

  2. #2
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    JUMPMASTER wrote:
    Plymouth resident opposes Town Hall gun policy
    Wednesday, March 11, 2009 11:05 PM EDT
    BY DIANE CHURCH
    Staff writer

    PLYMOUTH — A local resident is up in arms about a new rule banning guns from town hall.
    Bellotti said he put the sign up and he doesn’t see what all the fuss is about.

    “It’s a pretty standard policy,” he said. “I got it from the Department of Labor handbook. I don’t see why anyone other than police should be carrying a weapon in town hall. There’s no logical reason for it.”

    As for Golnik’s right to carry a gun, Bellotti said that right can end at the door of town hall if officials see fit.
    Fuss? No logical reason? How about Freedom? Individual Liberty?

    Your rights as a citizen end at the door of town hall if officials see fit?

    What country is this?

    Emails:

    bbellotti@plymouthct.us William Bellotti, HR director

    mayor@plymouthct.us Mayor Festa





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    To: bbellotti@plymouthct.us; mayor@plymouthct.us

    Subject: No firearms in town hall

    Good Morning Sirs,

    I just wanted to send a quick email to you both toexpress my displeasure with Bristol Press article (below)concerning the banning of firearms in townhall and especially Mr. Bellotti's comments quotedtowards the end of the article.

    There is reason to fuss, there is reason for ordinary law-abiding citizens like Mr. Golnik to carry. And there is absolutely NO reason why any law-abiding citizen's rights should end at the door of town hall.

    Please consider our freedoms and individual liberties. Those who legally carry arms consider it a responsibilityand a lifestyle. We do so for personal protection, the protection of our familes, fellow citizens, and the state just like our state constitution says.

    This is America, our rights and freedoms are what make us American. Support and encourage those who responsibly carry firearms and you won't have to worry about criminals with firearms.


    Very Respectfully,



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    Connecticut has no state-level preemption, right?

    It seems like that's the trouble - unless you would end up with more CPZ's (Criminal Protection Zones) than you now have.

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    Sorry about notciting the source. This article ran in the Bristol Press. I cc'd them a letter I wrote to my Town Council rep regarding this matter. The reporter did not contact me about my letter so I was a bit surprised to find the article in the paper today.

    http://bristolpress.com/ articles/2009/03/12/news/doc49b878d22af55656340177.txt

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    Well as long as he doesn't work for them, and lives there so he won't be visiting,
    it looks like it doesn't apply to residents.
    Course you will have to fight the unlawful arrests.
    I hope he sues to have the council meetings outside so he can attend.
    Just one honest judge is needed to stop laughing long enough to ask
    what criminal code the handbook is part of.



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    Attached is the legal opinion offered by Plymouth Town Attorney Vitrano. He says, "that the Mayor of the Town of Plymouth has the authority to issue administrative regulations relative to the operation of town facilities so as to cause those facilitities to operate in a manner that is consistent with public safety and public health. Thus, should the Mayor choose to do so, he has the authority to limit, restrict and/or preclude the possession of firearms in and on town facilities, including but not limited to, Town Hall."

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    Sounds to me like it is time to replace both the mayor and the attorney. I'm sure they are not serving life terms in office (but maybe they should be in jail ).

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    Perhaps one (or more) of the locals should remind the mayor of what happened in Kirkwood, Missouri at a town hall meeting in February 2008. Irate citizen shot up the meeting (five dead, two wounded), and none of the 30 people present were able to do anything about it since someone had prohibited the lawful carrying of defensive firearms inside the municipal building. The police? They were the first two shot - the shooter then went on to the other defenseless victims.

    http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/20...-missouri.html

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