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Thread: York County Sheriff wants repeal of gun discharge rules

  1. #1
    Campaign Veteran kimbercarrier's Avatar
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    Retyped from the Daily Press June 5, 2010

    Sheriff wants repeal of gun discharge rules


    York-Poqouson Sheriff Danny Diggs, a gun-rights advocate, has weighed in on the ongoing debate over York County's gun discharge ordinance. Diggs wants to chuck the whole thing.

    The York County Board of Supervisors plans to revisit the issue on June 15 with another public hearing on the topic. Some Supervisors have recently questioned whether the ordinance should stay on the books.

    Discussions regarding proposed amendments to further restrict where and what types of guns can be fired in the county have been ongoing for well over a year since dove hunters legally shooting on private property prompted a lockdown at a neighboring elementary school.

    In an e-mail to York resident Greg Garrett, Diggs laid out his position in a four page statement.

    "First, any restrictions on the use of a firearm is a potential infringement of the Second Amendment and should be considered very carefully," Diggs wrote.

    He said existing county policy that allows homeowner associations to petition the Board of Supervisors to be placed on a list of neighborhoods where any firearm discharges are illegal.

    "It may be reasonable for associations to make rules for parking, trash or some other rule that governs day-to-day living, but giving power to any association to infinge upon the Second Amendment" rights, or any other constitutional rights, Diggs said, "should be unlawful itself".

    Perhaps more importantly, Diggs stated that in more than 10 years, no one has been charged under the county ordinance.

    In the past 3 !/2 years, six arrests have been made following calls that started as "shots fired". All six were charged under existing state law- three for reckless handling of a firearm, one for brandishing, one for carrying a concealed weapon and another for being drunk in public. Diggswrot.

    Diggs also questioned whether the discharge rules can be fairly applied.

  2. #2
    Lone Star Veteran DrMark's Avatar
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    We've known for a long time that Sheriff Diggs is a class act.

    From his participation in our open carry dinners, to his department's professionalism to gun owners, to the words of admiration toward him expressed by one of his deputies that I know, I have a lot of respect for Sheriff Danny Diggs.

    The content of this article just adds to that respect.

    Great stuff.



  3. #3
    Regular Member 45acpForMe's Avatar
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    Kudo's to Danny Diggs.

    Existing State laws are sufficient, we don't need additional local laws to muck up the works.

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    Regular Member MSC 45ACP's Avatar
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    Thank you Sheriff Diggs! We don't say it nearly often enough and I know you and your department sometimes feel unappreciated. You are VERY much appreciated!

    Thanks again!

    (for those that don't know, Sheriff Diggs is a regular reader of OCDO).

    With GreatRespect;

    MSC
    "If I know that I am headed for a fight, I want something larger with more power, preferably crew-served.
    However, like most of us, as I go through my daily life, I carry something a bit more compact, with a lot less power."
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    Regular Member 2a4all's Avatar
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    I attended the BOS work session last month. Sheriff Diggs put forth his position then, and it didn't meet with any opposition. However, the BOS indicated that they would hear requests from HOAs that wanted to have their neighborhoods included in the list of "shooting restricted areas". I agree with the Sheriff. HOAs have no business trying to preempt state or federallaw.

    As a resident of Newport News, I have been trying to imagine the City Council having the same discussion as the York BOS. My head hurts when I do. The entire city is a "no shooting zone", and we see how well that's working...
    A law-abiding citizen should be able to carry his personal protection firearm anywhere that an armed criminal might go.

    Member VCDL, NRA

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    Regular Member t33j's Avatar
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    Also attended. I was surprised at the frank discussion of the topic. Prohibition on CO2 firearm discharges were to be stricken from the code as well IIRC.
    Sic Semper Tyrannis

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    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    From the sound of it, I sure wish that I worked for Sheriff Diggs instead of where I was. If I had, I might still be in LE.
    James Reynolds

    NRA Certified Firearms Instructor - Pistol, Shotgun, Home Firearms Safety, Refuse To Be A Victim
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    Regular Member 2a4all's Avatar
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    2a4all wrote:
    I attended the BOS work session last month. Sheriff Diggs put forth his position then, and it didn't meet with any opposition. However, the BOS indicated that they would hear requests from HOAs that wanted to have their neighborhoods included in the list of "shooting restricted areas". I agree with the Sheriff. HOAs have no business trying to preempt state or federallaw.

    As a resident of Newport News, I have been trying to imagine the City Council having the same discussion as the York BOS. My head hurts when I do. The entire city is a "no shooting zone", and we see how well that's working...
    Check out this LTE in today's (6/9/2010) D/P!

    http://www.dailypress.com/news/opini...,1217471.story



    Right to restrict

    I can't believe York-
    Poquoson Sheriff Danny Diggs. To claim that restrictions imposed by homeowner associations on discharging of firearms violate the Constitution of the United States is simply ridiculous. Gun discharge restrictions do not prohibit carrying them anywhere it is allowed; but the Second Amendment (even if accepted as prohibiting gun controls) does not give gun owners the right to discharge them anywhere they please.

    Whether or not gun discharge rules can be fairly enforced, homeowner associations do have the right to preserve the tranquility and safety of their residents by adopting gun-discharge restrictions. And it is not unconstitutional.
    A law-abiding citizen should be able to carry his personal protection firearm anywhere that an armed criminal might go.

    Member VCDL, NRA

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    Campaign Veteran Dutch Uncle's Avatar
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    I support Sheriff Diggs in spirit, but some of the objections in the article were valid. The 2nd Amendment to the Federal Constitution hasn't been incorporated to the states (yet), so actually it is Art. 1, Sec 13 of the Virginia Constitution that applies. The right to keep and bear arms here has never been questioned, but the legislature does have the authority to limit certain gun-related activities. Fortunately, pre-emption means we now only need to fight with them over ill-concieved gun restrictions. Richmond does say that localities have the authority to regulate the discharge of weapons in their jurisdictions. I agree that no HOA should have any authority in the matter. My father used to have some land in Middlesex Co. He and his neighbor shot on their respective properties all the time(and when my family went up to visit, it sounded like a Schutzenfest). The HOA had a "no guns/no shooting" provision, but it had no validity. State code said they couldn't shoot within 100 yds of a house or public road, that's all, and they had enough property to shoot safely. I think Diggs is trying to maintain the same situation in York Co. If someone has 15 acres, why should the county tell him he can't target shoot on his own damn property??!!

    And I'm glad the CO2 restricitions are being axed. Now I can practice hold and trigger control in my back yard instead of the garage all the time!:celebrate:celebrate

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    Regular Member MSC 45ACP's Avatar
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    On the grounds that I may incriminate myself, I won't say where we've been practicing with the pellet rifle and pellet pistol...

    It is sufficient to say it is done in a safe manner in a safe place with sufficient backstop for the air-powered weapons in use under the supervision of a certified small arms instructor.
    "If I know that I am headed for a fight, I want something larger with more power, preferably crew-served.
    However, like most of us, as I go through my daily life, I carry something a bit more compact, with a lot less power."
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    Regular Member virginiatuck's Avatar
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    Dutch Uncle wrote:
    I support Sheriff Diggs in spirit, but some of the objections in the article were valid. The 2nd Amendment to the Federal Constitution hasn't been incorporated to the states (yet), so actually it is Art. 1, Sec 13 of the Virginia Constitution that applies. The right to keep and bear arms here has never been questioned, but the legislature does have the authority to limit certain gun-related activities. Fortunately, pre-emption means we now only need to fight with them over ill-concieved gun restrictions. Richmond does say that localities have the authority to regulate the discharge of weapons in their jurisdictions. I agree that no HOA should have any authority in the matter. My father used to have some land in Middlesex Co. He and his neighbor shot on their respective properties all the time(and when my family went up to visit, it sounded like a Schutzenfest). The HOA had a "no guns/no shooting" provision, but it had no validity. State code said they couldn't shoot within 100 yds of a house or public road, that's all, and they had enough property to shoot safely. I think Diggs is trying to maintain the same situation in York Co. If someone has 15 acres, why should the county tell him he can't target shoot on his own damn property??!!

    And I'm glad the CO2 restricitions are being axed. Now I can practice hold and trigger control in my back yard instead of the garage all the time!:celebrate:celebrate
    I agree, the Sheriff should have also cited the Virginia Constitution... also the Virginia Constitution includes something that the U.S. Constitution does not... "trained to arms"

    From what I've read on this topic, the HOA doesn't have, wasn't given, and hasn't taken the authority to regulate firearms. They just have the ability to petition the County BoS to add neighborhoods to the list of places. So the issue is still with the County, not the HOA.

    Also, I'm having trouble finding the exact State law that authorizes counties to regulate the discharge of firearms. All I can find right now is § 15.2-1113, but that pertains to municipal corporations, defined by § 15.2-102 as:
    "Municipality," "incorporated communities," "municipal corporation," and words or terms of similar import shall be construed to relate only to cities and towns.

    I thought there was code that authorized counties to regulate the discharge of firearms, but perhaps there is not. Does anyone have it handy?

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    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    virginiatuck wrote:
    Also, I'm having trouble finding the exact State law that authorizes counties to regulate the discharge of firearms. All I can find right now is § 15.2-1113, but that pertains to municipal corporations, defined by § 15.2-102 as:
    "Municipality," "incorporated communities," "municipal corporation," and words or terms of similar import shall be construed to relate only to cities and towns.

    I thought there was code that authorized counties to regulate the discharge of firearms, but perhaps there is not. Does anyone have it handy?
    I'm not sure if there is a code that allows them to regulate discharge. If there is, I can't recall it. It may just be that 15.2-915 prohibits them from regulating other aspects of firearms ownership, but since that statute doesn't specifically limit thier authority regarding discharges, then they can enact ordinances regulating that....just a guess there.
    James Reynolds

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    Regular Member virginiatuck's Avatar
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    ProShooter wrote:
    virginiatuck wrote:
    Also, I'm having trouble finding the exact State law that authorizes counties to regulate the discharge of firearms. All I can find right now is § 15.2-1113, but that pertains to municipal corporations, defined by § 15.2-102 as:
    "Municipality," "incorporated communities," "municipal corporation," and words or terms of similar import shall be construed to relate only to cities and towns.

    I thought there was code that authorized counties to regulate the discharge of firearms, but perhaps there is not. Does anyone have it handy?
    I'm not sure if there is a code that allows them to regulate discharge. If there is, I can't recall it. It may just be that 15.2-915 prohibits them from regulating other aspects of firearms ownership, but since that statute doesn't specifically limit thier authority regarding discharges, then they can enact ordinances regulating that....just a guess there.
    Ah, that appears to be correct. Use or discharge is not preempted. Thanks.

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    virginiatuck wrote:
    ProShooter wrote:
    virginiatuck wrote:
    Also, I'm having trouble finding the exact State law that authorizes counties to regulate the discharge of firearms. All I can find right now is § 15.2-1113, but that pertains to municipal corporations, defined by § 15.2-102 as:
    "Municipality," "incorporated communities," "municipal corporation," and words or terms of similar import shall be construed to relate only to cities and towns.

    I thought there was code that authorized counties to regulate the discharge of firearms, but perhaps there is not. Does anyone have it handy?
    I'm not sure if there is a code that allows them to regulate discharge. If there is, I can't recall it. It may just be that 15.2-915 prohibits them from regulating other aspects of firearms ownership, but since that statute doesn't specifically limit thier authority regarding discharges, then they can enact ordinances regulating that....just a guess there.
    Ah, that appears to be correct. Use or discharge is not preempted. Thanks.
    Which brings up the ever present question... if Virginia really is a "Dillon Rule" state, then the preemption statute should not be needed, and in fact, if there is not a specific law granting the authority to regulate the discharge of firearms, then such regulations are not indeed, authorized.

    It seems that Virginia is actually a "Dillon Rule, when it's convenient" state...

    TFred


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    Regular Member 45acpForMe's Avatar
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    Anyone have an update from the meeting. I wasn't able to attend but emailed the board of supervisors with my support for Danny Diggs viewpoint.

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    Lone Star Veteran DrMark's Avatar
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    45acpForMe wrote:
    Anyone have an update from the meeting. I wasn't able to attend but emailed the board of supervisors with my support for Danny Diggs viewpoint.
    It was pretty darn cool...

    Sherriff Diggs did a great job of expressing his logical point of view, even while one Supervisor played "what if" for a long time.

    Even before the public spoke, it became evident that the e-mails received by the Board had made an impact; I think they were considering dropping the the entire section. The County Attorney opined that they couldn't properly do that, as the meeting was advertised as a "adopt the proposed changes or not" meeting.

    The Board basically said, "Okay, lets now hear from the public, who are going to tell us they agree with Sherriff Diggs." Then the public did that, with the exception of one mentally disturbed women who said that guns are bad before veering into a discussion about brothels.

    After the public comment, the Board figured out the good parts of the proposed changes and voted them in unanimously, stripping the rest.

    They are looking into considering dropping the entire ordinance at the next meeting, consistent with Sherriff Diggs' position.

    Great stuff.

    :celebrate

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    Regular Member MSC 45ACP's Avatar
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    I'm sorry I missed that. I wasn't feeling well and couldn't make it.
    "If I know that I am headed for a fight, I want something larger with more power, preferably crew-served.
    However, like most of us, as I go through my daily life, I carry something a bit more compact, with a lot less power."
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    SERPA retention or concealed...

    "Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not." ~Thomas Jefferson
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    Regular Member NRA-EVC's Avatar
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    I find it interesting that the Daily Press covered the Wetlands agenda item of last night's meeting but made no mention of the firearm discharge ordinance item.

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    Regular Member 2a4all's Avatar
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    Here's some video I shot of PVC addressing the York County BoS. The audio is a bit weak (cell phone camera limitation).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7noKAU6n-kY

    I wish I had gotten some video of the woman who spoke against this issue.

    Sheriff Diggs says she shows up from time to time, and is generally not taken too seriously, but cautions that she might have friends.

    (Edited to add)

    After listening to remarks from Sherrif Diggs, PVC, and others, the BoS adopted the amendments to their Firearms Discharge Ordinance.

    http://www.yorkcounty.gov/LinkClick....amp;tabid=1900

    The Daily Press print edition (6/17/2010) did include this item.

    A law-abiding citizen should be able to carry his personal protection firearm anywhere that an armed criminal might go.

    Member VCDL, NRA

  20. #20
    Regular Member 45acpForMe's Avatar
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    I got the following from the NRA which says they did add subdivisions to the list of no discharge sites. I thought they "did the right thing" and stopped adding places?

    Virginia: York County Expands Scope of Discharge Ban


    At their June 15 meeting, the York County Board of Supervisors voted 5 to 0 to approve Ordinance No. 09-8(R3), adding additional sub-divisions to the list of places where the discharge of a firearm is prohibited while providing exceptions to law enforcement officers, animal wardens and game wardens in the line of duty, military personnel in the line of duty, the discharge of firearms on firing ranges or target ranges operating in conformance with the county’s zoning regulations, the discharge of a firearm in conjunction with a managed hunt to control the deer population pursuant to Code of Virginia section 29.1-529, and any discharge of a firearm in lawful defense of property or persons or to kill a dangerous or destructive animal.

    The Board also approved amending their current code by deleting restrictions on pneumatic gun discharges.

    A major issue of contention that is still yet to be resolved was the proposed amendment to the county code which will prohibit the discharge within of a firearm 1,000 feet of any school property without first notifying the Principal, Vice-Principal or the Principal’s office staff through direct oral communication. The Board has decided that more discussion is warranted on the issue and plan to bring this section up for further discussion in July.

    Thank you to all of those who attended or called in opposition to this ordinance. The NRA will keep you up to date on any changes and will notify you if further discharge regulations brought up in York County.

  21. #21
    Lone Star Veteran DrMark's Avatar
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    45acpForMe wrote:
    I got the following from the NRA which says they did add subdivisions to the list of no discharge sites. I thought they "did the right thing" and stopped adding places?
    I thought they dropped that part. Guess I was mistaken; I was having trouble hearing all that was being said.

    I know they did make some improvements before voting, one of which resulted in the "lawful defense of property and persons" wording.



  22. #22
    Regular Member 2a4all's Avatar
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    The provision for HOAs to petition the BoS to be added to the list of places where discharge of firearms is prohibited was retained (some newneighborhoods were added).

    There was some discussion about repealing the ordinance altogether, but on advice of the County Attorney, since such a motion would require additional public notice and comment period,it waspostponed for future consideration.
    A law-abiding citizen should be able to carry his personal protection firearm anywhere that an armed criminal might go.

    Member VCDL, NRA

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