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Thread: Lackawanna County Seeks To Violate Preemption

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    Regular Member jahwarrior72's Avatar
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    County rules on guns could be unconstitutional
    By Charles Schillinger (Staff Writer)
    Published: June 10, 2010

    http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/cou...ional-1.838282

    New rules on guns in Lackawanna County parks adopted by county commissioners last month are being challenged by local law enforcement as too lenient, and by gun-law experts as possibly unconstitutional.

    Commissioners approved rules and regulations prohibiting smoking, skateboarding and other activities in county parks, including new restrictions on guns. The rule says, "No unlicensed firearms or weapons are allowed in a park." Discharging a firearm is also prohibited.

    Olyphant resident Keith MacDonald challenged the language at a commissioners meeting Wednesday, saying there is no license for guns in Pennsylvania and arguing the county cannot prohibit people from openly carrying a firearm.

    Meanwhile, Sheriff John Szymanski said he also plans to challenge the new rule - arguing the county should make it more strict.

    "We don't allow firearms in the park," said Mr. Szymanski, whose department oversees law enforcement of county parks. "It's a public facility, and if you walk around with a gun, you're going to intimidate a lot of people. Our position is we're not allowing it and we're going to ask for clarification on that point."

    The wording of park rules, unchanged or made more strict, could set off a constitutional debate on gun rights in Lackawanna County, experts say. County solicitor John O'Brien said they are reviewing the language and looking to see how it can be updated.

    "Our intention is not to make illegal anything that you can already do under state law," Mr. O'Brien said, indicating he thinks openly carrying a firearm in a park might be allowed under state law.

    Mr. O'Brien couldn't say what the county meant by an "unlicensed firearm."

    "What is an unlicensed firearm?" asked attorney Edward Bilik, who takes on gun law cases in the western part of the state. "I believe that they're pre-empting state statute with that, and it's going to be unconstitutional."

    Tunkhannock attorney Jerry Grimaud, who takes on constitutional law cases, said the wording of the county park rules "would likely not pass constitutional muster." He added the county would have issues if it outright banned guns, as Mr. Szymanski plans to request.

    "That's clearly unconstitutional," said Mr. Grimaud. "It's probably not been the subject of litigation, but if it does, I'm convinced it's not constitutional."

    Pennsylvania has no license to carry a gun - there is a license to carry a concealed weapon - or state registration of gun owners, said Jack Lewis, a state police spokesman. State police only require sellers check the background of a person prior to the sale of a handgun.

    Contact the writer: cschillinger@timesshamrock.com
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    http://www.wnep.com/news/countybycou...,1090511.story



    Quote:



    The Lackawanna County commissioners are doing all they can to keep guns out of the county's two parks but the county's gun ban is stirring up a bit of controversy.

    Paul Moffitt and his dog, Sarah, go to Merli-Sarnoski Park outside Carbondale a few times a week. He recently found out about the new gun ban implemented at county parks. "I don't believe anyone should have an unlicensed gun in a county or a state park. It's just sort of a contradiction," said Paul Moffitt.

    That's where it gets tricky. The county recently banned "unlicensed guns" in county parks, even though you don't officially need a license to carry an unconcealed gun anywhere in Pennsylvania. The county soliciter said the ban is trying to deter people from having guns in the park, but he admits they cannot stop anyone from bringing a legally owned gun into a park.

    The Lackawanna County Sheriff John Szymanski said there is a meeting coming up with commissioners to discuss and potentially revise some of the words in the gun ban. He said the county is, "Not opposed to the carry law, but that they have an obligation to the patrons of the park to prevent intimidation (from people carrying guns)."

    The owner of Bill's Sporting Goods in Scranton said current gun laws are already confusing. "I sell guns and meet a lot of people that have them, and you could have five people here and we could ask them and we'd get five different opinions on what the rules and laws and regulations are," said Ted Warholic Jr.

    A dad at McDade Park in Scranton said guns have no place in parks. "It would definitely make me a little nervous seeing someone with a gun in a holster walking around in a park. You never know these days. There's some crazy individuals out there," said Brian Martin of Scranton.

    Paul Moffitt feels the constitutional right to carry a gun shouldn't trump his right for safety. "I think my dog is my constitutional right, and I have a right to bring her up here and not put her in danger," he said.

    Despite the controversy, an employee at McDade Park said signs outlining the gun ban will be going up in the county parks in the coming weeks.


    initiating facepalm of epic proportions...

    on the upside, Sheriff Szymanski has finally committed his views publicly to the media. i've been after him for two years, now, and he's managed to avoid speaking with me on this subject. his second-in-command, Deputy Dom Manetti, is under the impression that open carry is considered 'public nuisance', and as such, an individual could be cited for it. i let him know my schedule for the following weeks afterwards as an invtation to do so to me. no one ever showed.


    the Sheriff, however, has been noticeably mum on the subject until now. now, his hand can be forced.


    here are some people to contact and annoy about this:


    Bill Davis, Deputy Director/ Parks and Recreation
    Phone: 570-963-6764
    Fax: 570-963-6351
    E-mail: davisw@lackawannacounty.org


    Commissioner Michael J. Washo, Chairman
    Phone: 570-963-6800
    Fax: 570-963-6812
    E-Mail: washom@lackawannacounty.org


    Commissioner Corey D. O’Brien, Vice-Chairman
    Phone: 570-963-6800
    Fax: 570-963-6812
    E-mail: cobrien@lackawannacounty.org


    Commissioner A. J. Munchak
    Phone: 570-963-6800
    Fax: 570-963-6812
    E-mail: munchakaj@lackawannacounty.org


    Maria Elkins, Chief of Staff
    Phone: 570-963-6800
    Fax: 570-963-6812
    E-mail: elkinsm@lackawannacounty.org



    John Szymanski

    Phone: 570-963-6719

    Fax: 570-963-6859
    E-mail: szymanskij@lackawannacounty.org



    Dom Manetti

    Phone: 570-963-6719 Ext: 7110

    Fax: 570-963-6859
    E-mail: manettid@lackawannacounty.org



    Fran Dirienzo

    Phone: 570-963-6719

    Fax: 570-963-6859
    E-mail: dirienzof@lackawannacounty.org
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    Paul Moffitt feels the constitutional right to carry a gun shouldn't trump his right for safety. "I think my dog is my constitutional right, and I have a right to bring her up here and not put her in danger," he said.
    I would enjoy watching Mr. Moffitt try to find where in the constitution (state or federal) that he has a "right" for safety. Plus, his dog is a property right, not a constitutional right.


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    Regular Member jahwarrior72's Avatar
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    Statkowski wrote:
    Paul Moffitt feels the constitutional right to carry a gun shouldn't trump his right for safety. "I think my dog is my constitutional right, and I have a right to bring her up here and not put her in danger," he said.
    I would enjoy watching Mr. Moffitt try to find where in the constitution (state or federal) that he has a "right" for safety. Plus, his dog is a property right, not a constitutional right.
    well, if having a dog and being safe are his rights, then it's my right to have Krispy Kreme every day, and to tell stupid people to get sterilized.
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    lol...you guys on the"free america"side of the delaware crack me up....

    here in jersey;our big issue is the whole buying process, carry here? never happen...and to have gun laws close to what pa. has ;is more of a pipe dream....you good folks should defend and defeat any law that will send pa.down a path towards jersey....

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    Regular Member jahwarrior72's Avatar
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    nj12ga wrote:
    lol...you guys on the¬*"free america"¬*side of the delaware crack me up....

    here in jersey;our big issue is the whole buying process,¬* carry here?¬* never happen...and to have gun laws close to what pa. has ;is more of a pipe dream....you good folks should defend and defeat any law that will send pa.¬*down a path towards jersey....
    it's **** like this that will send us down the path to NJ, if we don't fight it now. you guys in NJ cry about your lack of rights, but if you'd been vigilant in the beginning, and not allow petty politicians to chip away at your rights little by little, you wouldn't be where you are now. so, throwing a fit over such "little" things like this help ensure we stay free.
    Last edited by jahwarrior72; 02-28-2011 at 12:43 PM.
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    the 2a was never part of our state constitution and the gun laws got bad in the 60's

    its 40 yrs of feel good laws and corperate politicians, pro 2a bills have been proposed for years but die in committee...if 1 million peoplewrote letters asking for less restrictive gun laws the politico's would laugh it off..so, to say we (gun owners in nj) are not willing;is a little strong.....the majority are sheep;;but not all .....

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    A little strong? Yes. But wrong? No.

    Unfortunately, Al Gore didn't invent the internet soon enough for all the gun owners in New Jersey to organize.

    So, all that means in the here and now is that you Jerseyites will have to keep fighting, in the courts, in the newspapers, anywhere, everywhere to regain your civil rights. Perhaps McDonald v. Chicago may help, if and when the decision is ever published.

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    Regular Member Sig229's Avatar
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    This weekend when Im at work, I will dedicate some time and type out an email to the addresses you posted.

    Maybe I will call though, not sure.

    Will post the replies I get (if any).

    At any rate, this guy being a LEO is disgusting and he needs to be put in check right now.

    Thanks for letting is know about this matter Jah, you are a true patriot!
    "Let your gun be your constant companion during your walks" ~Thomas Jefferson

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    Regular Member jahwarrior72's Avatar
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    Sig229 wrote:
    This weekend when Im at work, I will dedicate some time and type out an email to the addresses you posted.

    Maybe I will call though, not sure.

    Will post the replies I get (if any).

    At any rate, this guy being a LEO is disgusting and he needs to be put in check right now.

    Thanks for letting is know about this matter Jah, you are a true patriot!
    nah, i just don't like being treated like an idiot, and i have issues with authority.
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    taken from June 12's edition:


    Quote:



    Park gun rule could lead to federal civil action, advocate says
    By Charles Schillinger (Staff Writer)
    Published: June 12, 2010


    Posting the new Lackawanna County park rules would put the county in violation of state law and open the county up to federal lawsuits, a state gun rights advocate warned Friday.

    The new rules prohibit "unlicensed firearms" from county parks, language county officials have acknowledged needs to be re-examined. That review is not anticipated to delay the posting of the rules, said county solicitor John O'Brien.

    "The way it's set up now, legal gun possession has not been made illegal by this law," Mr. O'Brien said. "Whatever is previously proper and legal continues to be so."

    But because all guns in the state are unlicensed, the law can also be interpreted to ban the carrying of all guns in county parks, argued Kim Stolfer, chairman of Firearm Owners Against Crime, a statewide gun rights group.

    "The way it's crafted, 'no unlicensed firearms' ... since we don't license firearms (in Pennsylvania) they will all be banned by virtue of that language," Mr. Stolfer said. "They've blatantly done this even though they've been notified ahead of time ... (and) they're setting themselves up for a federal civil rights action."

    County commissioners approved last month nine pages of new rules for county-owned parks that include bans on smoking, parking on grass, skateboarding and unsupervised children under 14 in the parks. There was no public hearing or public comment period before the rules were adopted.

    While other rules were based on park rules elsewhere across the state and nation, Mr. O'Brien said the language on firearms was created by county officials with the intent to address the possession of illegal weapons in county parks.

    "So we're examining it. Maybe that word (unlicensed) isn't right. Maybe it should have said illegal," he said.

    Mr. O'Brien and Parks and Recreation Department deputy director Bill Davis both said they believe people have the right to openly carry guns in parks. Mr. Davis said this was their first attempt at crafting rules since the inception of the parks.

    "My only goal in all of this was to create a safe and healthy environment in the park, period," Mr. Davis said. "We're not trying to infringe upon anyone's rights under the law."

    Mr. Stolfer - whose group successfully lobbied this spring to have Westmoreland County change its park laws forbidding guns - recommended the county seek a legal expert before it posts the new rules and when it rewrites the language. He said when local agencies attempt to write laws restricting gun rights, they're typically "acting emotionally and irrationally."

    "To proscribe someone's civil rights based on an unfounded fear is exactly what Americans and our constitution are supposed to protect against," he said.

    Contact the writer: cschillinger@timesshamrock.com
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    "So we're examining it. Maybe that word (unlicensed) isn't right. Maybe it should have said illegal," [County Solicitor John O'Brien] said.
    Geez, for a county solicitor he's not too bright. Maybe he could educate us on what an "illegal" firearm is?

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    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    And you'd think that the County Solicitor would know that there are ALREADY laws in PA against the possession and carry of "illegal" firearms.

    Why make a redundant rule?

    Wouldn't it be simpler to just ENFORCE the laws that are already on the books?

    The members of the Parks and Recreation Department board should all be indicted for criminal conspiracy to violate their Oaths and enacting laws that are in violation of the PA Code.

    Impeach the guilty ones. Vote the rest out in November...
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggressionóand this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

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    Many people seem to make all sorts of declarations w/o a factual clue. They have no idea what actual rights are (of any sort) and parrot terminologies as tho theywere interchangable.It's obvious the people hired/elected don't know what they're doing or refuse to acknowledge reality. 'Stuck on stupid' is appropriate to this condition.

    Their job is not to assume.. ("I think...?") or act on personal opinion.

    Their job is to KNOW.

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    Open Carry fo Firearms is Public Parks is Pennsylvania is Legal under The Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act.

    Lackawanna County may only Arrest someone with a Firearm in their Park if:

    1. The Firearm is Concealed without the Authority of a Pistol Permit,

    2. The Firearm is in a Motor Vehicle without a Pistol Permit, or

    3. The Firearm is Carried during a State of Emergency without a Pistol Permit.

    ***As always..., Persons enumerated under Pa.C.S. 6105 can not have Firearms, unless relieved of the disability imposed thereupon.***

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