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Thread: PNCLOCALNEWS.COM: [Kitsap] County park gun ban was unenforceable anyway

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    http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/kitsap/pat/opinion/52618397.html
    County park gun ban was unenforceable anyway
    Aug 06 2009, 4:51 PM · UPDATED






    A quarter of a century after it was nullified by state law, Kitsap County’s ordinance banning the carrying of firearms in county parks has been amended to remove the invalid ban.

    It seems strange the county would take so long to bring the county code into compliance with state law, especially since the law is the Legislature’s effort to define a right guaranteed in the state constitution.

    Article I, section 24 of Washington’s constitution states: “The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.”

    State law “pre-empted and repealed” local ordinances that conflicted with its provisions many years ago, so the county ban has long been unenforceable.

    Why did the county commissioners finally amend the ordinance this past Monday? A private organization’s demonstrations apparently prompted them to do it.

    Last year and again this year, private individuals gathered at a county park openly carrying firearms — knowing the county ordinance was an invalid attempt to limit their right to bear arms.

    County officials responsible for enforcing the law sought legal advice last year and, of course, learned (if they didn’t already know) the ban on carrying firearms in county parks was invalid.

    Rather than endure occasional demonstrations by people who knew of the ban’s invalidity, the commissioners removed the offending language from the ordinance.

    Ironically, it seems no one recalls any incident in the past that might have required an attempt to enforce the ban — other than the two gatherings to challenge the law’s validity.

    Surely there were a few times when firearms were misused in county parks, but it would have been the misuse, not the mere possession, that was the problem.

    Even though the ordinance has been amended, misuse of firearms is still prohibited; so in one sense nothing has changed.

    People of a criminal bent wouldn’t have been deterred by a ban and until they misused a firearm nothing would have been done as a practical matter.

    A person who intends to misuse a firearm isn’t likely to carry a weapon openly except at the moment of its intended use, so a ban would rarely prevent the criminal act.

    What has changed, perhaps, is the probability that citizens may actually see someone in possession of a firearm at a county park.

    Now that law-abiding folks won’t be deterred by signs posted in the parks, some of them may enter with their firearms.

    Chances are good few would enter while openly carrying a firearm, since the same sensibilities that cause people to obey the law make them reluctant to scare the daylights out of their fellow citizens.

    Those who genuinely feel the need to carry firearms for personal defense usually understand failure to conceal the weapon when it isn’t being used is likely to cause others to wonder about their judgment — or even their sanity.

    That’s why they ordinarily go to the trouble of obtaining the required license to carry a concealed firearm.

    Most of us, when we have a choice, rarely go where we feel so endangered we want to carry a firearm for protection.

    So if we see someone carrying such a weapon, we naturally wonder what’s wrong. Have we wandered into a place we would rather not be, or is something the matter with that guy with the gun?

    The ultimate irony in this situation is the private organization advocating “open carry” consists of people who want to change this reaction.

    Their demonstrations prompted the change to the ordinance, but it seems unlikely many people will become accustomed to the sight of strangers with guns as they go about their daily lives.

    At some places and times, it wouldn’t seem strange; but few would choose to live in those places or times.

    BOB MEADOWS

    Port Orchard

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    You know he is obviously not pro gun, but I like the fact that he approached it from as middle of the road as he can, with the biases he has. It is what a journalist is supposed to do. Put aside their bias and report on news. And heck we even get the word out, about our cause. To me he sounds a little anti-gun but he could easily be pro-gun just getting news out there in a fashion people will actually listen to.



    Too many times have I heard great pro-guntopics wasted by preaching to the choir. It is good to hear something remotely middle of the road.

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    DemiAsianMan wrote:
    You know he is obviously not pro gun, but I like the fact that he approached it from as middle of the road as he can, with the biases he has. It is what a journalist is supposed to do. Put aside their bias and report on news. And heck we even get the word out, about our cause. To me he sounds a little anti-gun but he could easily be pro-gun just getting news out there in a fashion people will actually listen to.



    Too many times have I heard great pro-guntopics wasted by preaching to the choir. It is good to hear something remotely middle of the road.
    He is biased and it shows. The following is hardly a middle of the road unbiased quote. He is stating that people that open carry do not have any sensibilities.

    Chances are good few would enter while openly carrying a firearm, since the same sensibilities that cause people to obey the law make them reluctant to scare the daylights out of their fellow citizens.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

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    It seems Bob Meadows forgets that crime always happens 'where you don't expect it.' A read through just about any newspaper will show you the quotes of the bystanders and victims 'this is a good neighborhood, nobody expected this.' And many versions of the same...

    Criminals are not limited to certain locations that idiots think of as 'the bad part of town.' Criminals have cars, bicycles and feet, too! Why would they conduct their 'business' in a poverty stricken area where they are unlikely to gain much from their actions? What is to stop them from stepping into the rich, uppity, self-declared weapon-free neighborhoods where the payoffs are bigger and the pickings easier?

    Law or not, any aware person in a ghetto is armed. And probably broke, too. It just doesn't make sense for bad guys to prey in any neighborhood OTHER than those described as 'we never expected that kind of thing here.' Think, it's the ONLY place you should expect it, so why don't you?! Use your brain!!
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    I'm in the car audio business, and I constantly hear " I can't believe my car got broken into, I live in a good neighborhood". Well that's kinda the point, no one breaks into cars that can't afford "the good stuff". Criminals always choose targets of opportunity, and opportunity is where crime is least expected, and payout is the greatest. Affluent neighborhoods, parks (does Central Park, NY, spring to mind?), and banks. I'm sure there are several if not dozens more examples. Criminals get bolder every year, and our lives seem worth less every year. I'm glad to see the city get their act together, now if only Texas.....

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