Almost two years ago, I was illegally detained, questioned, threatened with arrest and removed from the Salt Lake City Corp. public property of Washington Square, which surrounds the City & County Building, by a city Police Department law-enforcement officer when I attended the annual gay Utah Pride Festival events with my legal firearm. As the owner of a gay firearm group (http://www.stonewallshootingsportsutah.org/
), my behavior wasn't intended to intimidate or harass.
I pursued my complaint against the city for more than a year until city Attorney Edwin P. "Ed" Rutan II claimed finally that I wasn't a member of a state militia and, therefore, refused to act further on my complaint.
This is the second year that the event producers have published a rule (http://www.utahpridecenter.org/utahpride/do-pride
) which would prohibit all firearms, but it's the first time they've done so after the historic U.S. Supreme Court opinion about D.C. v. Heller (2008) which affirmed the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is an individual right of the people. So, I've complained again to elected city officials about the rule.
The two city officials -- Council Vice Chairman JT Martin and Councilman Soren D. Simonsen -- who have replied to me claim that most events on city public properties are private and may restrict firearms as they choose. I believe that this opinion is wrong because state laws require that the city "may not enact, establish, or enforce any ordinance, regulation, rule, or policy pertaining to firearms that in any way inhibits or restricts the possession or use of firearms on either public or private property" "except where the Legislature specifically delegates responsibility" to do so. And, no state law authorizes the city to lease away, even temporarily, its responsibility to protect the possession of a legal firearm at city public properties.
Regardless of your opinion about this particular event, I'm asking for your help before June 5. As city Council Vice Chairman Martin and Councilman Simonsen claimed, other events publish the same kind of rule and, as I learned firsthand, city law-enforcement officers are willing to enforce these rules no matter what the event is.
Please take a moment now to 1) complain to the city officials, and Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Salt Lake County District Attorney Lohra L. Miller who have some city law-enforcement oversight about this matter, and 2) share my message with your family and many friends who also support our right to keep and bear arms.
Mayor Ralph Becker <email@example.com>,
Council Chairman Carlton Christensen <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Council Vice Chairman JT Martin <email@example.com>,
Councilman Van Turner <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Councilman K. Eric Jergensen <email@example.com>,
Councilman Luke Garrott <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Councilwoman Jill Remington Love <email@example.com>,
Councilman Soren D. Simonsen <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff <email@example.com>,
Salt Lake County District Attorney Lohra L. Miller <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Salt Lake City Corp. Attorney Edwin P. "Ed" Rutan II <email@example.com>
I am discouraged to learn that Salt Lake City Corp. has been leasing away our Constitution at city public properties when the city allows an event producer to restrict the right to keep and bear arms at the properties.
Utah Code sections 63-98-102 and 76-10-500 prohibit the city from doing this "except where the Legislature specifically delegates responsibility" to do so. The laws require that the city "may not enact, establish, or enforce any ordinance, regulation, rule, or policy pertaining to firearms that in any way inhibits or restricts the possession or use of firearms on either public or private property" unless authorized specifically by law.
And, no state law "specifically delegates responsibility" to the city to allow an event producer to restrict the right to keep and bear arms at city public properties. So, I believe that the city is violating state laws every time an event producer does so.
Your oath of public office expects you to protect our Constitution and obey state laws. Please act immediately to correct the practice of allowing event producers to restrict the right to keep and bear arms at city public properties.
END SAMPLE MESSAGE
Thank you for helping to protect our right to keep and bear arms in Utah.