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Thread: GFSZ applies to vacant schools?

  1. #1
    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    GFSZ applies to vacant schools?

    Here's an article about a couple dozen vacant properties controlled by Milwaukee Public Schools:
    http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/112699029.html

    MPS owns 27 empty school buildings with a total maintenance cost of more than $1 million each year... MPS maintains a deed restriction on these properties preventing them from being used as schools that are not part of MPS.
    I'm wondering if, because these properties are vacant, not being used as schools, they now have no effect on the rights of nearby citizens?
    From my reading of the law, it seems that they're now just buildings.

    948.605
    (1) (c) “School zone” means any of the following:
    1. In or on the grounds of a school.
    2. Within 1,000 feet from the grounds of a school.

    948.61
    (1) (b) School” means a public school... which provides an educational program for one or more grades between grades 1 and 12...


    It will be interesting to compare the MPD school zone map with the JSOnline map showing these non-schools to see if the police erroneously included them...
    http://media.journalinteractive.com/...MPTYMPS31G.jpg
    http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/112625099.html
    Sorry, tried to upload the MPD memo & map, but it's too big.
    Last edited by MKEgal; 01-08-2011 at 03:39 PM.
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    Be sure and read the FEDERAL GFSZA before you get 100% excited on this with regard to EMPTY UNUSED FORMER SCHOOL BUILDINGS THAT ARE STILL LABELED AS SCHOOLS OR STILL OWNED BY THE VARIOUS SCHOOL DISTRICTS!

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    Regular Member davegran's Avatar
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    Where's the Danger?

    How about schools in the evening or the weekends when there are no students present? What is the GFSZ protecting then? Answer: Instead of protecting, it endangers anyone in the zone who needs to defend themselves from a deadly attack at night or on the weekend.
    Last edited by davegran; 01-06-2011 at 02:57 PM.
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    Question: Does The Federal 'Gun-Free' School-Zone Law, 18 U.S.C. 922(q), Apply around Vacant Schools?

    Answer: No.

    Analysis:
    Federal Law 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(25) provides that The Term 'School Zone' Means: (A) in, or on The Grounds of, a Public, Parochial or Private School; OR (B) within a Distance of 1,000 Feet from The Grounds of a Public, Parochial, or Private School.
    Federal Law 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(26) The Term 'School' means a School which PROVIDES Elementary or Secondary Education, as Determined under State Law.

    Conclusion:
    Since NO EDUCATION is being PROVIDED at a Vacant School, since NO Children are Present, then, The Provisions of United sTates Federal Law 18 U.S.C. 922(q) are NOT Broken.

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    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeSparky
    Be sure and read the FEDERAL GFSZA before you get 100% excited on this with regard to EMPTY UNUSED FORMER SCHOOL BUILDINGS THAT ARE STILL LABELED AS SCHOOLS OR STILL OWNED BY THE VARIOUS SCHOOL DISTRICTS!
    I posted to ask if my reading of the law is correct.
    You seem to think there's something in the federal law that says properties owned by a city / school district can be considered schools even when they're not being used as schools, even when vacant.
    Please post the part of the federal law that you think applies to this situation.


    ETA - thanks aadvark; that's what I was looking for.
    So federal is the same as state.
    Last edited by MKEgal; 01-06-2011 at 03:19 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by MLK, Jr
    The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort & convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge & controversy.
    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Laigaie
    Citizenship is a verb.
    Quote Originally Posted by Proverbs 27:12
    A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions.
    The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
    Quote Originally Posted by Proverbs 31:17
    She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MKEgal View Post
    I posted to ask if my reading of the law is correct.
    You seem to think there's something in the federal law that says properties owned by a city / school district can be considered schools even when they're not being used as schools, even when vacant.
    Please post the part of the federal law that you think applies to this situation.


    ETA - thanks aadvark; that's what I was looking for.
    So federal is the same as state.
    It has been a while since I've read the Federal GFSZ law. I was not sure if there was anything there or not on this and was merely suggesting the it be looked at also. And for the record, IMO even though the feds made some minor changes to the "justification" of this law AFTER IT WAS ORIGINALLY RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL, I believe it is STILL unconstitutional.

    It had never occured to me to look and see if there was a "occupancy" or "students present" requirements or exclusions in the various State or Fed GFSZ laws.

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    Regular Member AaronS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davegran View Post
    How about schools in the evening or the weekends when there are no students present? What is the GFSZ protecting then? Answer: Instead of protecting, it endangers anyone in the zone who needs to defend themselves from a deadly attack at night or on the weekend.
    It effectively closes off half of my neighborhood to me, and about 70% of my city is also a GFSZ. I guess one could say “I have the right to chose not to go to the areas”, but man, over half my city?
    I tell you one thing. I got friends that live in the “hood”. It is so much fun to visit them at night (try 55th and Center). Thank God the wise people of Milwaukee put a school on every other block to keep me safe.
    Last edited by AaronS; 01-07-2011 at 12:31 PM.

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    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeSparky
    It had never occured to me to look and see if there was a "occupancy" or "students present" requirements or exclusions in the various State or Fed GFSZ laws.
    I believe that's what's referred to as "thinking outside the box" or "following the letter of the law".

    Pity my parents... One of my favorite phrases was "I wonder if..."
    Then of course, there's "Why?" and "What happens if...?" and "Why do we do it that way instead of this way?" (Which was still getting me in trouble when I was in my teens.)


    To go a step further with this,
    Federal Law 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(26) The Term 'School' means a School which PROVIDES Elementary or Secondary Education, as Determined under State Law
    948.61 (1)(b) "School” means a public school... which provides an educational program for one or more grades between grades 1 and 12...
    Both laws use the present tense. So if there are no students present, are the schools really providing education right then?
    What's the time limit? How long do they have to be idle before they're not currently providing education?
    Summer break? (a couple months)
    Winter break? (a couple weeks)
    Long weekend? (several days)
    Overnight? (14-18 hours)

    I can see an argument for "if there aren't kids in the school, there's no education happening".
    But I'm sure the general public / lawmakers would want a bit more lax definition.
    (Not that that stops criminals, of course...)
    Last edited by MKEgal; 01-07-2011 at 02:07 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by MLK, Jr
    The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort & convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge & controversy.
    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Laigaie
    Citizenship is a verb.
    Quote Originally Posted by Proverbs 27:12
    A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions.
    The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
    Quote Originally Posted by Proverbs 31:17
    She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.

  9. #9
    Founder's Club Member Brass Magnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AaronS View Post
    It effectively closes off half of my neighborhood to me, and about 70% of my city is also a GFSZ. I guess one could say “I have the right to chose not to go to the areas”, but man, over half my city?
    I tell you one thing. I got friends that live in the “hood”. It is so much fun to visit them at night (try 55th and Center). Thank God the wise people of Milwaukee put a school on every other block to keep me safe.
    I disagree. You have the right to free travel and the right to bear arms. The state has police power. Your rights trump the police power. This isn't the same as private property; in that case you would be right.

    Remember, the government has NO RIGHTS. (which is also why they can't "grant" rights like some chose to think). The goverment only has powers delegated to them by the people.
    Last edited by Brass Magnet; 01-07-2011 at 02:32 PM.
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    Why Do Some People

    try and find new and better ways to go to jail? Although it's often fun as an exercise to discuss hypotheticals, it is dangerous to state what the law means and industrial strength stupid to rely on a OCDO post as authority to undertake an action. School Zones are what they are. They do not magically lose that designation simply because students and/or teachers are absent (such as vacation periods or overnight). And of course there is always the case of the occasional summer class or individual tutoring. Even if this argument was valid, you would need to canvass the school to ensure that it is really vacant. (Do you trust that your firearm is unloaded without (double-)checking?)

    Some folks posting ought to attend school to refresh their English knowledge. The simple present in English can indicate a habitual action (Fred jogs every morning), a simple statement (Fred jogs) among others. To indicate an action going on at the moment, English would usually employ the present progressive (Fred is jogging.) The present progressive can also be used to indicate the future (Fred is jogging tomorrow.) Even so, a statute is not necessarily going to be interpreted with the customary rules of English. If you violate GFSZ thinking a judge is going to say that "provides an educational program" requires some activity at the relevant moment, you might want to get your affairs in order because you are going to be a guest of the state. Instead of trying to figure out how many angels can dance on the nose of a 9mm FMJ, why not put resources towards practical issues? If you want to work towards repeal or invalidation of GFSZ, then by all means do so. But coming up with ridiculous and ultimately useless theories is a waste of resources.

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    Quote Originally Posted by apjonas View Post
    try and find new and better ways to go to jail? Although it's often fun as an exercise to discuss hypotheticals, it is dangerous to state what the law means and industrial strength stupid to rely on a OCDO post as authority to undertake an action. School Zones are what they are. They do not magically lose that designation simply because students and/or teachers are absent (such as vacation periods or overnight). And of course there is always the case of the occasional summer class or individual tutoring. Even if this argument was valid, you would need to canvass the school to ensure that it is really vacant. (Do you trust that your firearm is unloaded without (double-)checking?)

    Some folks posting ought to attend school to refresh their English knowledge. The simple present in English can indicate a habitual action (Fred jogs every morning), a simple statement (Fred jogs) among others. To indicate an action going on at the moment, English would usually employ the present progressive (Fred is jogging.) The present progressive can also be used to indicate the future (Fred is jogging tomorrow.) Even so, a statute is not necessarily going to be interpreted with the customary rules of English. If you violate GFSZ thinking a judge is going to say that "provides an educational program" requires some activity at the relevant moment, you might want to get your affairs in order because you are going to be a guest of the state. Instead of trying to figure out how many angels can dance on the nose of a 9mm FMJ, why not put resources towards practical issues? If you want to work towards repeal or invalidation of GFSZ, then by all means do so. But coming up with ridiculous and ultimately useless theories is a waste of resources.

    Well, one thing is definitely for sure. This Fred does not jog. (Even though I probably should.)

    However, it is not a waste of resources to open a question for discussion in order to achieve a better understanding of a situation.
    Understanding the problem allows for a better solution if one needs to solve the problem.

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    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apjonas
    Why do some people try and find new and better ways to go to jail? Although it's often fun as an exercise to discuss hypotheticals, it is dangerous to state what the law means and industrial strength stupid to rely on a OCDO post as authority to undertake an action.
    Quote Originally Posted by phred
    ...it is not a waste of resources to open a question for discussion in order to achieve a better understanding of a situation. Understanding the problem allows for a better solution if one needs to solve the problem.
    I'm not trying to go to jail, I'm trying to understand the law. IANAL, I'm just reading what it says & trying to understand it. Discussing hypotheticals is a wonderful & time-honored way to learn. If anything, I'm trying to learn & stay out of jail.

    Quote Originally Posted by apjonas
    School Zones are what they are. They do not magically lose that designation simply because students and/or teachers are absent (such as vacation periods or overnight).
    That's what I'm trying to figure out. Does a building have to be officially declared closed, not doing business, in order to not fit the legal definition of 'school', or does the law mean what it says, and it's not a school if it's not currently providing education?

    I think it'd take a long time & a lot of money, not to mention someone suffering through our "justice system" to get an answer that meant anything legally. But it'd be interesting to present the argument and let the court sort it out.
    Quote Originally Posted by MLK, Jr
    The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort & convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge & controversy.
    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Laigaie
    Citizenship is a verb.
    Quote Originally Posted by Proverbs 27:12
    A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions.
    The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
    Quote Originally Posted by Proverbs 31:17
    She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.

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    Taking the GFSZ in Wisconsin to a different direction.

    As everybody knows, Iowa just converted to a "Shall Issue" state.

    They have a way to go: They still are not able to carry in city or state parks, and also have a GFSZ on the books.
    However, the IOWA GFSZ goes a little different:

    The IOWA GFSZ - law operates merely as a penalty enhancer - it does not create any new substanative offense - the relevant text is "Notwithstanding sections 902.9 and 903.1, a person who commits a public offense involving a firearm or offensive weapon, within a weapons free zone, in violation of this or any other chapter shall be subject to a fine of twice the maximum amount which may otherwise be imposed for the public offense."

    Side walks and streets are not included in the GFSZ if the individual has a permit. ( don't bite me, I'm just stating that "Copying this IA statute is my suggestion for the other states with 1,000 ft. zone gun bans around schools - WI should to amend the 1,000 foot bans into mere penalty enhancers." In Wisconsin we drop the permit).

    Keep the penalties in place for crime committed in School Zones.

    This might help us on this path.

    JJC

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    Founder's Club Member protias's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJC View Post
    As everybody knows, Iowa just converted to a "Shall Issue" state.

    They have a way to go: They still are not able to carry in city or state parks, and also have a GFSZ on the books.
    However, the IOWA GFSZ goes a little different:

    The IOWA GFSZ - law operates merely as a penalty enhancer - it does not create any new substanative offense - the relevant text is "Notwithstanding sections 902.9 and 903.1, a person who commits a public offense involving a firearm or offensive weapon, within a weapons free zone, in violation of this or any other chapter shall be subject to a fine of twice the maximum amount which may otherwise be imposed for the public offense."

    Side walks and streets are not included in the GFSZ if the individual has a permit. ( don't bite me, I'm just stating that "Copying this IA statute is my suggestion for the other states with 1,000 ft. zone gun bans around schools - WI should to amend the 1,000 foot bans into mere penalty enhancers." In Wisconsin we drop the permit).

    Keep the penalties in place for crime committed in School Zones.

    This might help us on this path.

    JJC
    I will harp on this one more time. What does doing a crime in a certain location make it any more evil than another place? How about being harder on the crime rather than where it was done.
    No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. Thomas Jefferson (1776)

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    It is sometimes reasonable

    Quote Originally Posted by protias View Post
    I will harp on this one more time. What does doing a crime in a certain location make it any more evil than another place? How about being harder on the crime rather than where it was done.
    to consider the locus of the act. For instance arson of a residential structure is almost (not always) more heavily punished than that of a storage facility, which itself is a greater offense than arson of an empty, abandoned shack. Societal views or public policy dictates that certain factors be taken into account when punishing crime. It may be the identify of the victim (a child vs an adult), the perpetrator (negligent first offender vs. intentional repeat offender), the time of day (burglary at night vs. daytime), value of an item (petty theft vs. grand theft). Location is not often a factor but it could be. For instance criminal trespass at a school may be more serious that the same crime elsewhere. It doesn't have to make sense - it's the law.

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