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Thread: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Guns May Be Allowed in Westmoreland County, PA parks

  1. #1
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    Here's what is happening after i contacted the County Commisioners in Feb.



    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_676547.html




    Westmoreland County commissioners are considering an ordinance that would legalize guns in county parks.

    Officials said Wednesday the proposal would update a 1974 code that generally outlawed firearms at the parks but allowed guns in specific areas for hunting. Solicitor R. Mark Gesalman said that ordinance, amended in 1995, conflicts with a state law that permits guns in public places.

    "In Pennsylvania, you cannot restrict somebody's right to carry a firearm, except in restricted areas like courthouses," Gesalman said.

    The proposal strips existing language from the code that specifically bans guns from the parks. The revised ordinance would allow guns in all areas of county parks, but permits the discharge of firearms only in designated hunting areas.

    The county allows hunting in six parks: Mammoth, Twin Lakes, Cedar Creek, Northmoreland, Bridgeport Dam and Chestnut Ridge.

    Under the new ordinance, deer hunting in designated areas would be permitted with rifled slugs, muzzle-loaded rifles or bow and arrow. Small game and fur-bearing animals can be hunted only with shotguns or bow and arrow.

    Nick Caesar, chief of the county's park police, said no citations for violating the firearms ordinance in the parks have been issued in decades.

    "It's never really been an issue for us," Caesar said.

    Violation of the ordinance carries a fine ranging from $25 to $600.

    The impetus to change the ordinance came from gun advocates who have spent several months lobbying the commissioners for a revision.

    Christopher Smith of Penn Township said he discovered Westmoreland's existing ordinance was out of compliance with state law while researching legalities for a meeting of Second Amendment advocates to be held April 24 at Twin Lakes Park.

    "I don't want to see any citizen brought up on any charges because of that law," Smith said.

    Kim Stolfer, chairman of the Firearms Owners Against Crimes, said the existing ordinance violates state law.

    "It was a crime, and the people who enacted it committed a crime," he said.

    The proposed ordinance is on display at the courthouse. The commissioners are slated to vote on it April 22 at their next meeting.

  2. #2
    Regular Member Sig229's Avatar
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    I think it would be wonderful if this passed.
    And hopefully, the law can go statewide so that firearms are allowed in all state parks.

    I dont have my LTCF yet, but I do have my Sportsman Firearms Permit, and I carry when fishing.

    In PA, there are many wonderful state parks to fish at, but most of them do not allow firearms.

    And personally, I dont like being out in the boonies alone fishing while being unarmed!

    Thanks for posting this article by the way too.
    "Let your gun be your constant companion during your walks" ~Thomas Jefferson

  3. #3
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    Sig229 wrote:
    I think it would be wonderful if this passed.
    And hopefully, the law can go statewide so that firearms are allowed in all state parks.

    I dont have my LTCF yet, but I do have my Sportsman Firearms Permit, and I carry when fishing.

    In PA, there are many wonderful state parks to fish at, but most of them do not allow firearms.

    And personally, I dont like being out in the boonies alone fishing while being unarmed!

    Thanks for posting this article by the way too.


    if you come to the Get together on the 24th, you can carry while fishing. we are having an informal fishing derby that day along with a cookout. I have the Link Posted at the top of the Pennsylvania section.

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    See update here with video report: http://www.wpxi.com/news/23164305/detail.html

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    Even though I moved a little farther away I think I am going to try and make it over for the cookout.

  6. #6
    Regular Member Sig229's Avatar
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    Those moronic yuppie soccer moms in that video make me sick.

    What happened to the "independent thinking woman"?

    They were acting like people would be just random spraying bullets around at the park.

    Not to mention another foolish Pittsburgh news station reporting on the new law.
    "Let your gun be your constant companion during your walks" ~Thomas Jefferson

  7. #7
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    Link to the Trib Live Article for today:

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_677752.html

    Westmoreland County Commissioners voted yesterday to change an ordinance to allow guns in all county parks.

    Commissioners Tom Balya and Tom Ceraso, both Democrats, said they had no choice but to amend the county's 1974 parks ordinance so it concurs with state law that allows firearms in public places, including parks.

    "We would be foolish to try to keep an ordinance on the books that would not pass muster in court," Balya said yesterday after a handful of county residents both for and against the proposed ordinance change addressed the commissioners.

    Republican Commissioner Charles Anderson did not attend yesterday's meeting and did not cast a vote.

    The change approved removes wording from the original ordinance, which was amended in 1995, that banned firearms from specific areas of county parks. The revised law now carries no prohibitions of guns, but bans the discharge of firearms outside of designated hunting areas.

    The county allows hunting in six parks: Mammoth, Twin Lakes, Cedar Creek, Northmoreland, Bridgeport Dam and Chestnut Ridge.

    Gun opponents asked commissioners to table the proposal.

    Marian Elizabeth Mientus of Norvelt told commissioners she will no longer take her goddaughter to the park because of the revised gun ordinance.

    "I don't want anyone to fear for their children's safety in the recreation areas of the county parks. Why do we need more guns in our parks where we take our children to play? What is more important than our children's safety?" Mientus said.

    Ann Moser of Ligonier told commissioners that allowing guns in the parks would encourage more dangerous activity and that she, too, feared for her children's safety as a result of the change.

    "This ordinance is about white, angry men who enjoy looking menacing," Moser said.

    Proponents of the ordinance change said it was needed to bring Westmoreland County into compliance with state law. For decades, the Westmoreland County park police have virtually ignored the prohibition on guns in the parks and issued no citations to anyone with a firearm.

    Chris Smith of Penn Township lobbied commissioners to pass the change. Smith is holding a rally in favor of the Second Amendment this weekend at Twin Lakes Park and said he began researching the gun issue to ensure those attending could legally take their firearms into the park during the event.

    "This gun rights issue was never a rally about gun rights. It was about the county adhering to state law," Smith said.

    Commissioners said the revised ordinance will have little or no effect on park visitors.

    "We could not have enforced an ordinance that was unlawful in our commonwealth," Ceraso said.

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