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Thread: BEWARE THE "FELONY FURLONG"

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    Regular Member Alexcabbie's Avatar
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    As I was driving back from Arlington today along the George Washington Memorial Parkway I was thinking about the current brouhaha over the weapons regulations as applied to national parks, of which the GW is one. And I realized that even if the debate goes our way, there is a trap in Virginia for the unwary.

    The boundary beetween DC and VA is the low-tide mark of the Potomac.Between the Roosevelt bridge and the 14th St. Bridge, a channel pf the Potomac cuts across the Parkway, creating "Columbia Island" which is in D.C. There are no signs announcing the change of jurisdiction, but cross into that island with your weapon and regardless of Fedreal regs, you are a felon for a bit more than a mile. (I know. I just called it the"Felony Furlong" because it sounds catchier. The Miracle mile isn't a mile either).

    Also Washington Street in Alexandria is part of the Parkway and both Alexandria PD and the U.S. Park Police have joint jurisdictiion along it. Under current regulations this MAY constitute a SECOND "Felony Furlong". Perhaps some of our Legal Beagles could sniff this out?

    In any case if you are broen down or stopped by an LEO in a "felony furlong", be aware of your situation. As I understand the situation, BTW, it is impossible to carry a weapon openly or otherwise into Old Town below Washington Street without crossing the GW and being (momentarily) in violation of Federal law.

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    Actually I think its more complicated than that. The border between MD and VA is on the Virginia shore. But the DC boundry on the river has never been properly defined and may revert to the more normal American standard of the middle of the river.

    I remember seeing something about this a few years back when VA tried to put a fresh water inlet into the river. The Supreme Court appointed a special committe to clarify the issue of the VA-MD boundry. They still haven't released anything that I know of.



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    Regular Member TechnoWeenie's Avatar
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    The potomac belongs to MD...

    MD has agreements with DC and VA to regulate/tax/etc the waterways...
    Evangelical lessons are provided upon request. Anyone wishing to meet Jesus can just kick in my door.

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    Alexcabbie wrote:
    Also Washington Street in Alexandria is part of the Parkway and both Alexandria PD and the U.S. Park Police have joint jurisdictiion along it. Under current regulations this MAY constitute a SECOND "Felony Furlong". Perhaps some of our Legal Beagles could sniff this out?

    In any case if you are broen down or stopped by an LEO in a "felony furlong", be aware of your situation. As I understand the situation, BTW, it is impossible to carry a weapon openly or otherwise into Old Town below Washington Street without crossing the GW and being (momentarily) in violation of Federal law.
    This doesn't sound right. Either Washington St. is a NP or it's not. People live on it and many businesses are located on it.

    Where did you see that the Park Police have jurisdiction on it?

    And even if they do, that doesn't make it a federal park. Near my house there are a couple of streets in which the Ft. Belvior MPs have joint jurisdiction with the FFx. Co. PD because of the entrance to base housing, but these streets are not part of Ft. Belvior.

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    Regular Member Alexcabbie's Avatar
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    I have on many occasions seen someone run a light or make a prohibited turn on Washington St. and a USPP unit lit up and yanked them over. I have been given to understand summonses issued by USPP are heard in Fedreal court while APD summonses are heard in City court.

    Funny thing is, back when they were planning the Parkway the Feds wanted to run it through town along the river, with on/off ramps for the City at each end. The City officials were scared that Alexandria would be made into even more of a backwater than it was at the time and convinced them to widen Washington Street and make it part of the Parkway. This of course was back when "the sticks" began at the southern limits of the City proper. I've been in the area since 1973 and until the early 80s Alexandria was the armpit of Northern VA. Now rush hour traffic in Alexandria backs up the GW to 4-mile run or worse in the evenings and past Belle Haven in the mornings.

    Anyway wrapped up in the deal was this "joint jurisdiction" agreement and the USPP enforces Federal law on the roadway. Whether or not the roadway is legally a "national park" is a question I can't answer now. I just make sure there aren't any USPP units lurking around when I cross Washington St. armed.

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    We need citations for this stuff.

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    Concur. USPP may be riding through city of alexandria to get to GWP outside the city proper.

    According to NPS - http://data2.itc.nps.gov/parks/gwmp/.../GWMPmap%2Epdf

    There is no NPS property inside the city boundaries. However, the map does seem to show what you say about Columbia island. The map does not clearly delineate betweenVA & DC there. It appears to show the island as VA which may or may not be legally correct.

    Interesting observation.

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    Regular Member Alexcabbie's Avatar
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    Well Mr Y that is a relief about Washington Street, although USPP can still yank you over and give you a Federal summons for a traffic violation there, or at least that is what I have seen. As to Columbia Island, I of course carry an ADC map and that reference clearly shows Columbia Island in DC ("Boundary Channel" getting its name from that fact and not, as one might suppose, from the "bounders" in the government ).

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    TechnoWeenie wrote:
    The Potomac belongs to MD...

    MD has agreements with DC and VA to regulate/tax/etc the waterways...
    If you are between Chain bridge and the Wilson bridge, the Potomac is under DC rule, If you are fishing from the VA shore and do not have a DC non resident Fishing licence and the harbor patrol rolls up and asks for your fishing licence your best bet is to reel in and walk away. You being on shore are out of there jurisdiction, but your lineis in therewater.

    I do not have the Codes, but I have seen it happen. I have had to provide a DC non resident license often when fishing from the boat along the VA shore.

    The problem that gets me is that I don't like pulling the boat out of the water at 2:30 am in a deserted parking lot unarmed. By law as soon as the boat hits the water from Gravely point (Reagan International) if I am armed, I am in violation of DC law. I certainly do not want to leave a firearm in my truck for 5 or 6 hours in a deserted parking lot while I am doing my part to keep the bass population in check.

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    Regular Member Alexcabbie's Avatar
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    Just to keep things in perspective I would say that despite these minor irritations and vexing situations, all in all I consider a natural barrier between the Comonwealth of Virginia and the liberal left booby hatches of Maryland and DC to be a net plus.

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