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Thread: Carry question on state land as it relates to RCW 72.23.300

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    Regular Member bennie1986's Avatar
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    Carry question on state land as it relates to RCW 72.23.300

    I found a sign just outside the exit of the Medical Lake water front that pertains to the land northwest of the lake. The sign references RCW 72.23.300. That RCW states "Any person not authorized by law so to do, who brings into any state institution for the care and treatment of mental illness or within the grounds thereof, any opium, morphine, cocaine or other narcotic, or any intoxicating liquor of any kind whatever, except for medicinal or mechanical purposes, or any firearms, weapons, or explosives of any kind is guilty of a class B felony punishable according to chapter 9A.20 RCW." I am aware there is eastern state hospital is somewhere out in Medical Lake but not knowing the area I emailed the Medical Lake City Administrator and his reply was "The sign you are referring to located just north of the exit from Waterfront Park is indeed a reference to state land, which almost all of the area north of our park is." My reply was "The law in reference applies to a state institution. Is a state institution located on this land or is this just state owned land? I can find no law that prohibits firearms on state land." I'm guessing the sign is for the mental hospital but I thought the City Administrator's email would raise some discussion here. Also if there is anything anyone is aware if that I'm not regrading this topic I would appreciate the info.

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    Opt-Out Members BigDave's Avatar
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    You picked a good one to look at.

    Which one trumps the other?

    RCW 72.23.300 Bringing narcotics, intoxicating liquors, weapons, etc., into institution or its grounds prohibited — Penalty.

    Any person not authorized by law so to do, who brings into any state institution for the care and treatment of mental illness or within the grounds thereof, any opium, morphine, cocaine or other narcotic, or any intoxicating liquor of any kind whatever, except for medicinal or mechanical purposes, or any firearms, weapons, or explosives of any kind is guilty of a class B felony punishable according to chapter 9A.20 RCW.
    RCW 9.41.300 Weapons prohibited in certain places — Local laws and ordinances — Exceptions — Penalty.

    (1) It is unlawful for any person to enter the following places when he or she knowingly possesses or knowingly has under his or her control a weapon:

    (c) The restricted access areas of a public mental health facility certified by the department of social and health services for inpatient hospital care and state institutions for the care of the mentally ill, excluding those facilities solely for evaluation and treatment. Restricted access areas do not include common areas of egress and ingress open to the general public;

    (5) The perimeter of the premises of any specific location covered by subsection (1) of this section shall be posted at reasonable intervals to alert the public as to the existence of any law restricting the possession of firearms on the premises.
    Last edited by BigDave; 07-14-2010 at 01:05 AM.

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    Regular Member bennie1986's Avatar
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    An email back from the City Admin confirmed what I suspected. That land is owned by the state because of four state institutions and the land is considered part of the campus.

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    Is the land where the mental facilities are located gated, fenced and marked (other than the sign you saw)?

    Open, unfenced state land should not be considered part of any "campus" unless it is enclosed as such. In particular if it is adjacent to a state or public park. At least in my humble, non-lawyer opinion.

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    Regular Member Lammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDave View Post
    You picked a good one to look at.

    Which one trumps the other?

    RCW 72.23.300 Bringing narcotics, intoxicating liquors, weapons, etc., into institution or its grounds prohibited Penalty.

    Any person not authorized by law so to do, who brings into any state institution for the care and treatment of mental illness or within the grounds thereof, any opium, morphine, cocaine or other narcotic, or any intoxicating liquor of any kind whatever, except for medicinal or mechanical purposes, or any firearms, weapons, or explosives of any kind is guilty of a class B felony punishable according to chapter 9A.20 RCW.
    RCW 9.41.300 Weapons prohibited in certain places Local laws and ordinances Exceptions Penalty.

    (1) It is unlawful for any person to enter the following places when he or she knowingly possesses or knowingly has under his or her control a weapon:

    (c) The restricted access areas of a public mental health facility certified by the department of social and health services for inpatient hospital care and state institutions for the care of the mentally ill, excluding those facilities solely for evaluation and treatment. Restricted access areas do not include common areas of egress and ingress open to the general public;

    (5) The perimeter of the premises of any specific location covered by subsection (1) of this section shall be posted at reasonable intervals to alert the public as to the existence of any law restricting the possession of firearms on the premises.
    General rule when statutes appear to conflict is to read them together and harmonize them so as to give effect to both. Both statutes restrict firearms inside and on the premises of a mental health facility but one contains an exception. I think the egress/ingress exception would be read into 72.23.300, so, you would still be ok to carry in "common areas of egress and ingress open to the general public" such as the driveway or footpath leading to a public visitor's entrance. The real conflict is when it comes to the penalty for a violation. There is more than a small difference between a gross misdemeanor and a B felony (9 years and $15,000 difference to be precise). In this instance, the "tie" would go to the defendant and the most one could be convicted for would be the misdemeanor under 9.41.300. Just don't carry any of the listed drugs along with your gun and that's what would likely apply. Also, it's interesting that the facility is posted with signs as required by 9.41.300 whereas there is no posting required by 72.23.300.

    PS - - FWIW, there is no citation in Westlaw to RCW 72.23.300, at least as of last night (07-13-10). This means that there has been no appellate court decision involving any person charged with violating that statute.
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    Lammo/Bennie, I believe The "Key Words" are ("within the grounds")

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/within

    I don't know of any State Mental Institutions that are not closed off/gated/fenced off to the public. Generally you must check in/be screened to visit voluntarily, or involuntarily... As a patient, OR visitor.

    Do you think that patients can just come and go as they please? No

    I believe the Legislative Intent is/was "To bring into the State institution, or within the state institution grounds. Meaning the closed off/gated/fenced off area.

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=72.23.020 These are the Institutions that pertain to the RCW in question.

    XD
    Last edited by XD45PlusP; 07-14-2010 at 04:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bennie1986 View Post
    An email back from the City Admin confirmed what I suspected. That land is owned by the state because of four state institutions and the land is considered part of the campus.
    Who is this city admin?

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    Regular Member Lammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XD45PlusP View Post
    Lammo/Bennie, I believe The "Key Words" are ("within the grounds")

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/within

    I don't know of any State Mental Institutions that are not closed off/gated/fenced off to the public. Generally you must check in/be screened to visit voluntarily, or involuntarily... As a patient, OR visitor.

    Do you think that patients can just come and go as they please? No

    I believe the Legislative Intent is/was "To bring into the State institution, or within the state institution grounds. Meaning the closed off/gated/fenced off area.

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=72.23.020 These are the Institutions that pertain to the RCW in question.

    XD
    That's one of the odd things about ESH - - I have never been able to see any fences or gates around the grounds (so far I have always observed it from the outside). That and the park mentioned in the OP is about a half mile or so from the main hospital building. Additionally, the patients are in various levels from voluntary commitment to involuntary civil commitment to forensic examination to NGI commitment (Not Guilty by reason of Insanity) so some of them actually can leave if they want to. Remember, this is the place that took a bunch of patients to the County Fair, including the guy who escaped who was an NGI on a homicide!
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    Regular Member bennie1986's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XD45PlusP View Post
    Who is this city admin?
    His name is Doug Ross.

    After reading some of the other posts and rereading RCWs 72.23.300 and 9.41.300 I used Google Maps to take a look at the area. I found something of considerable interest, there is a bike path open to general public that goes right by the Pine Lodge Corrections Center for women on this same land (or so it would seem). This prompted me to fire off another email to Doug but have yet to get a response back. From what I can tell the sigh is not in accordance with state law.

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    Regular Member Lammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bennie1986 View Post
    His name is Doug Ross.

    After reading some of the other posts and rereading RCWs 72.23.300 and 9.41.300 I used Google Maps to take a look at the area. I found something of considerable interest, there is a bike path open to general public that goes right by the Pine Lodge Corrections Center for women on this same land (or so it would seem). This prompted me to fire off another email to Doug but have yet to get a response back. From what I can tell the sigh is not in accordance with state law.
    PLCC is either fully closed or is in the process of shutting down so it will no longer be an active corrections facility. AFAIK it will still be a state owned property.
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    Regular Member bennie1986's Avatar
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    Ok so after presenting the facts to the city admin he told me my questions should be directed to the state. Does anybody have any ideas on who I should contact? My first guess would be someone from DSHS because the of the sign referencing the law that relates to state institutions.

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