As the title says, I was on a recent business trip to AZ, and during an afternoon at a park I noticed a "No Weapons" sign. I did a little research and wrote a letter to the City Council and Mayor.
Here is my letter;
Here is my letter;
Today I received a response;Ladies and Gentlemen,
I recently had the pleasure of visiting your wonderful town, Fountain Hills, on a business trip. The weather was a perfect 70 degrees during the day, and cool at night. The people were friendly and accomodating. I had some time to kill, so I got to spend an afternoon at the Fountain Hills Park. I visited the Veteran's Memorial (being a Veteran of Desert Storm myself), and watched a Disc Golf Tournament being played around the lake.
I checked out the Dog Park, and watched families with Children play on the various pieces arrayed around the area.
It was at one of these areas that I noticed the park rules sign and cast a short glance at it, with one rule in particular catching my eye causing me to look closer.
No firearms or weapons allowed.
I am from the State of Michigan, and hold a CPL (Concealed Pistol License). I do travel with my personal defense weapon at all times, as is my right. I was under the impression that the State of Arizona was a State that also abided by a citizens right to Keep and Bear Arms, so I was a bit confused by the sign. As I was carrying (concealed) at the time, I promptly left the park and returned to my hotel room.
You see, I am a Law abiding citizen and do not wish to cross any laws, even those I believe to be against my rights, as I would prefer to discuss and possibly correct those that are erroneous, rather than have a confrontation with LE, of which I have great respect.
I am now home in MI, and am doing a bit of research on AZ gun laws, particularly as they pertain to State Preemption. Understanding that I am NOT a Lawyer, so am able to accept that I may be absolutely incorrect, but as the State of Arizona has retained preemption as it concerns Gun laws, I believe your sign to be erroneous and should have the "No Firearms or Weapons" part removed, as well as the same warning on the website of Fountain Hills Parks and Recreation.
The relevant part of AZ law is here, http://www.azleg.state.az.us/ars/13/03108.htm , and states in part, "A. Except as provided in subsection F of this section, a political subdivision of this state shall not enact any ordinance, rule or tax relating to the transportation, possession, carrying, sale, transfer, purchase, acquisition, gift, devise, storage, licensing, registration, discharge or use of firearms or ammunition or any firearm or ammunition components or related accessories in this state.
Subsection F states,
"F. This section does not prohibit a political subdivision of this state from enacting and enforcing any ordinance or rule pursuant to state law or relating to any of the following:
1. Imposing any privilege or use tax on the retail sale, lease or rental of, or the gross proceeds or gross income from the sale, lease or rental of, firearms or ammunition or any firearm or ammunition components at a rate that applies generally to other items of tangible personal property.
2. Prohibiting a minor who is unaccompanied by a parent, grandparent or guardian or a certified hunter safety instructor or certified firearms safety instructor acting with the consent of the minor's parent, grandparent or guardian from knowingly possessing or carrying on the minor's person, within the minor's immediate control or in or on a means of transportation a firearm in any place that is open to the public or on any street or highway or on any private property except private property that is owned or leased by the minor or the minor's parent, grandparent or guardian. Any ordinance or rule that is adopted pursuant to this paragraph shall not apply to a minor who is fourteen, fifteen, sixteen or seventeen years of age and who is engaged in any of the following:
(a) Lawful hunting or shooting events or marksmanship practice at established ranges or other areas where the discharge of a firearm is not prohibited.
(b) Lawful transportation of an unloaded firearm for the purpose of lawful hunting.
(c) Lawful transportation of an unloaded firearm for the purpose of attending shooting events or marksmanship practice at established ranges or other areas where the discharge of a firearm is not prohibited.
(d) Any activity that is related to the production of crops, livestock, poultry, livestock products, poultry products or ratites or storage of agricultural commodities.
3. The regulation of land and structures, including a business relating to firearms or ammunition or their components or a shooting range in the same manner as other commercial businesses. Notwithstanding any other law, this paragraph does not authorize a political subdivision to regulate the sale or transfer of firearms on property it owns, leases, operates or controls in a manner that is different than or inconsistent with state law. For the purposes of this paragraph, a use permit or other contract that provides for the use of property owned, leased, operated or controlled by a political subdivision shall not be considered a sale, conveyance or disposition of property.
4. Regulating employees or independent contractors of the political subdivision who are acting within the course and scope of their employment or contract.
5. Limiting or prohibiting the discharge of firearms in parks and preserves except:
(a) As allowed pursuant to chapter 4 of this title.
(b) On a properly supervised range as defined in section 13-3107.
(c) In an area approved as a hunting area by the Arizona game and fish department. Any such area may be closed when deemed unsafe by the director of the Arizona game and fish department.
(d) To control nuisance wildlife by permit from the Arizona game and fish department or the United States fish and wildlife service.
(e) By special permit of the chief law enforcement officer of the political subdivision.
(f) As required by an animal control officer in performing duties specified in section 9-499.04 and title 11, chapter 7, article 6.
(g) In self-defense or defense of another person against an animal attack if a reasonable person would believe that deadly physical force against the animal is immediately necessary and reasonable under the circumstances to protect oneself or the other person."
Of which none apply in this case.
As I stated, I am not a Lawyer, so I may not be reading all the possibilities that may allow you to enact and enforce the No weapons allowed sign, but I am concerned that attempting to enforce this rule may open the city and council to potential lawsuits, based on AZ's Preemption law.
Cases that have been brought up before can be seen here, http://www.saf.org/journal/16/conflictsbetweenstatefirearmsstatutesandmunicipalordinances.pdf , pertaining Specifically to AZ, the case of McMann v. City of Tucson, 47 P. 3d 672 (Ariz. App. Div. 2, 2002).
I DO hope to have the opportunity to visit your wonderful town again, as I also hope that I am afforded the ability to protect myself and my loved ones as afforded by our 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution and the Constitution of AZ.
Thank you for you attention,
Needless to say, I WILL be visiting this wonderful little town again, and WILL be carrying!!Thank you for visiting our beautiful town. I am so glad that you were able to enjoy our good weather and visit some of our wonderful facilities that our residents enjoy each day. We are especially proud of our Veterans Memorial, created by an artist from our vision. The bronze piece of the doughboy was modeled after the artist's father, while the uniform is exact, copied from one belonging to a local veteran. We wanted this to be a very special place to honor our veterans and we hold ceremonies there several times a year.
I apologize for the "no weapons" sign at the dog park. I don't have a dog (I'm a cat lady.) so never realized that the sign was still there. After the AZ Legislature passed its recent law, all the signs in our parks should have been removed. That one, unfortunately, was not. I have spoken to our town manager about the sign. He also was not aware that the sign was still there and is taking steps to have it removed.
I've attached a copy of the new AZ Firearms law, a great deal of it the results of support from my husband, State Representative John Kavanagh, an avid 2nd amendment supporter, as am I.
I do hope that you will visit Fountain Hills again. Please feel free to contact me directly at any time concerning our town.
Mayor Linda M. Kavanagh
Town of Fountain Hills