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Thread: Progress on carry in state parks?

  1. #1
    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    In reference to this post:
    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum14/28149.html

    I would like to discuss where we are at and where we plan to go with carry in state parks. I personally spend a lot of time in state parks hiking and picnicking and I don't think I should have to be disarmed.

    It would be good to know if anyone has contacted DEP or anyone else about this and what the result was. If no one has contacted them, I think it is time we pressed them for their official stance on this. It sounds like the DEP regulations are simply to prevent illegal hunting. Surely they need to understand that people carry firearms for purposes other than hunting, and that the law is clear on our right to carry with a permit. I am sure we can reach an agreement somehow.

    How about we brainstorm?
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    I have spoken to two different EnCon officers on two different occasions and asked this very question. They both responded the same way, with a strange look, asking "Do you have a permit?". When I respond with a yes, they both said "Then Why not?"

    You are right, the only law pertaining to the subject is about handgun hunting.

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    This is a another great forum I frequent. There is a contributing EnCon officer who will answer questions such as this one. This very question is addressed in this link.

    http://www.cthuntingnshooting.com/vB...ead.php?t=4754

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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    That sounds like what we would expect, but how are we going to be sure? Do we need a declaratory ruling? A memo from the DEP/State Park Rangers?

    I would like to be able to walk into any state park concealed or open carrying a self defense pistol and not have to worry any more than I do anywhere else. Explaining to a park ranger or state trooper that some guy with a pink gun avatar on the internet told me that someone told him that it was alright is probably not going to get me very far if I am stopped.
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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Seems like we should be able to get a hard and fast answer then. Does anyone know who we would inquire about this with? DEP? DPS? Who do we need to email or call to get a solid written answer?
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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    As a start, I fired off an email to dep.stateparks@ct.gov.

    Hello,
    I am interested in whether there is an issue in carrying a handgun in accordance with all normal state statutes and with a valid CT pistol permit at Connecticut state parks. I can use Chatfield Hollow or Hammonasset as examples in this case, but I would be curious whether there are restrictions anywhere else as well. I have never observed any signs or postings that would indicate to me that it is unlawful to be in possession of a firearm, and as far as I know the only body of law that deals with this is only relevant to hunting, which is not what this inquiry is about. I have no interest in hunting or trapping on any state land.

    The only reason for my inquiry is that I have heard rumors of possible issues, but I have never heard or seen anything credible that did not pertain to hunting.

    Could you clarify whether carrying a firearm inside a state park is an issue, and if so, what statutes this would be covered by? Or am I correct in assuming that as long as the normal state law that pertains to any other place is followed that one would be in accordance with the law?

    Thank you,
    Rich B
    Lets see what I get back as a reply.
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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Just got this back:

    Richard,

    Thank you for your interest in Connecticut's State Park System. Regarding your question about firearms in CT State Parks, the following statute applies:

    CGS 23-4-1(c)
    Hunting/weapons.
    Hunting or carrying of firearms, archery equipment or other weapons,
    including but not limited to air rifles and slingshots, is not permitted in any
    state park or forest except as authorized by the Department of Environmental
    Protection. All carrying or use of weapons is subject to applicable provisions
    of the Connecticut General Statutes and regulations adopted there-under.

    I hope this answers your questions.

    Matt Tomassone
    Admin. Sgt. DEP EnCon Police
    This still seems a bit vague, no?
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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    I responded:

    Sgt. Tomassone,

    First, thank you for your prompt reply.
    I had seen that statute before, but it appears ambiguous to me, especially considering the last line:

    "All carrying or use of weapons is subject to applicable provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes and regulations adopted there-under."

    Compared to the first line:

    "Hunting or carrying of firearms" ... "is not permitted in any state park or forest except as authorized by the Department of Environmental Protection."

    If I am to look to Connecticut statutes to know how to proceed, then it would be legal to carry as long as I have a valid pistol permit. But then you have the first line which surely seems targeted at hunting, and I am sure is the intent of the statute.

    So I guess my question comes down to:

    How would one go about being "authorized by the Department of Environmental Protection" to carry a firearm in a state park if that person does not wish to hunt but possesses a valid permit to carry a firearm in the state of Connecticut?

    Thank you,
    Rich B
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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Still no response. I guess they don't want to discuss this?
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    I never engage in internet arguing, typically. That being said, what don't you understand about this?

    All carrying or use of weapons is subject to applicable provisions
    of the Connecticut General Statutes and regulations adopted there-under.

    It's not a K-12 school, post office, courthouse, etc.....it's the forest. I take the sentence above as saying "All usual rules apply." There doesn't need to be a law to allow things, only laws to disallow them. If it's not "illegal", it is therefore "legal."
    ."

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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    AGust82 wrote:
    That being said, what don't you understand about this?
    This:

    "Hunting or carrying of firearms, archery equipment or other weapons, including but not limited to air rifles and slingshots, is not permitted in any state park or forest except as authorized by the Department of Environmental Protection"

    That sounds like more than enough to be busted.
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    I think Rich nailed it with this (empasis mine):

    "How would one go about being "authorized by the Department of Environmental Protection" to carry a firearm in a state park if that person does not wish to hunt but possesses a valid permit to carry a firearm in the state of Connecticut?"

    Do I have to 'know' somebody at DEP?

    Does it bother anyone elsethat such a large part of publicly owned land is considered off-limits to firearms? I hike a lot, and out here in Litchfield County, rattlesnakes are the least of your worries. I've had enough encounters with wildlife that were too up close & personal. Let's just say that this is one area where I am a proponent and practioner of civil disobedience.



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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Thank you. I thought I was going insane. I couldn't figure out what I was missing.
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    What y'all are overlooking is that statutes are not the end of the road. To quote from above:

    "All carrying or use of weapons is subject to applicable provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes and regulations adopted there-under."
    If the DEP has adopted regulations that prohibit the carrying of firearms in state parks, then those regulations have the force of law (unless and until challenged in court and overturned). If the DEP regulations say no firearms unless "authorized" by the DEP, then it becomes necessary to search the DEP regulations for what constitutes "authorized."

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    Hawkmoon wrote:
    What y'all are overlooking is that statutes are not the end of the road. To quote from above:

    "All carrying or use of weapons is subject to applicable provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes and regulations adopted there-under."
    If the DEP has adopted regulations that prohibit the carrying of firearms in state parks, then those regulations have the force of law (unless and until challenged in court and overturned). If the DEP regulations say no firearms unless "authorized" by the DEP, then it becomes necessary to search the DEP regulations for what constitutes "authorized."
    I was at Fort Griswald & Fort Trumbull state parks last year & while I forget which one it was I saw a sign plain as day that stated firearms were prohibited from state parks. Neither place was one that you might want to hunt so I think the statute goes beyond hunting regulations. I'm thinking that initially it was hunting focused but in time seemed a good PC thing to use as a general rule.

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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Hawkmoon wrote:
    statutes are not the end of the road.
    Which is why I am seeking a statement of policy from the Encon Police.
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    Rich, thanks for the thread...very interested as I like to hike alot....with my "heater" of course.

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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    No response yet, I just replied again hoping to remind them I am still awaiting an answer:

    I am sure this a busy time for you, but I would like to confirm your policy on firearms in state parks. In the email exchange that follows, I point out that the statute that seems to govern this is ambiguous at best and I want to make sure I understand the policies that the EnCon police would follow in the event someone is found to be carrying a firearm in a state park. The hiking/camping/fishing/picnicking season is upon us and I wish to stay in compliance with all laws and regulations.

    Therefore please direct me on the following question:

    Will the DEP EnCon police arrest or detain citizens who possess a valid CT permit to carry who carry a firearm in accordance with all relevant state laws inside a state park?
    If yes, is this based on CGS 23-4-1(c) or some other statute?

    Thank you,
    Rich B
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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    From: DEP EnConPolice <DEP.EnConPolice@ct.gov>
    To: Rich B
    Sent: Tue, May 11, 2010 8:53:56 PM
    Subject: RE: Carrying of firearms at state parks

    Rich,
    Yes this is a particularly busy time for us here at DEP. I was out of the office and apologize for not getting back to you immediately. I will be out of the office again for a few days of training but am here tonight for a meeting and will respond now. The regulation states in part 'carrying of firearms...is not permitted'. The part stating 'except as authorized by the DEP'...would refer to the fact that there are some state parks open to hunting, thus people are allowed or 'authorized' to carry firearms in those parks. EnCon Police would take whatever appropriate action with a violation of regulations. The question of an arrest or detention would depend on the specific circumstances. Our officers use their own judgment on each call. If an officer did make an arrest it may or may not be directly for CGS 23-4-1(c), it would depend on the situation. I realize this doesn't exactly answer your question, but when it comes to a hypothetical arrest, it is hard to speculate on what might occur. Again, Sorry for the delayed response.
    Matt
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  20. #20
    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Matt,
    No problem, I certainly understand, I am very busy as well right now.

    I cannot say I agree with the idea of losing our right to carry a firearm just because we are in a state park, but respect the policy of the EnCon police all the same.

    Thank you for your assistance.

    -Rich B
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  21. #21
    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Matt,
    I should probably also add that I am concerned about the conflicting view points from the EnCon police on this matter. The following forum post was brought to my attention, and it sends completely the opposite message from what I am hearing now. I am of course assuming that Captain Raul Camejo is who he says he is. Feel free to correct me if my assumption is in error.

    http://www.cthuntingnshooting.com/vB...ead.php?t=4754

    This is a serious issue that could result in a conflict and the possible arrest of permitted firearm owners for legal advice they have received from the same law enforcement division that would be tasked with their arrest.

    It is my opinion that the EnCon police need to get on the same page about this topic before someone gets in trouble. The current state of things is very confusing. I recommend a declaratory ruling be made regarding this topic and signs posted at each of the state parks as well as a notice on the state park websites if firearms are not permitted. Otherwise, how would most people know this? The idea of not being able to carry a firearm for defense in a park when you may carry one anywhere else in the state is certainly not intuitive.

    Thanks,
    Rich B
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  22. #22
    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Does anyone have any idea how to proceed from here?

    Looks like the law needs to be changed, but this is beyond anything I am knowledgeable about.
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  23. #23
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    Might not require a law change, just a rule change. If DEP can say its ok to carry to licensed hunters why not to permit holders? Try contacting the head of the DEP or a friendly legislator.

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