Friday, June 27, 2008

Today's "Activism Watchlist"

Here are a couple of links to some 'incidents' I'm currently working on. These blatant violations need to be taken to task - and with the growing assistance of more and more PAFOA members, they will be.

NJ man has his firearm confiscated while taking a walk in Wilkes-Barre - A bit of good news on this story today. Rich Banks (a good friend of mine and founder of accompanied this gentleman to the Wilkes-Barre PD where the owner was able to retrieve his firearm. He did not provide proof of ownership to do so, which was the original demand of the department, despite the fact that there is no legal burden to do so. Legal action by the citizen is still pending in this matter.

Carrier illegally detained and falsely charged in Pittsburgh - This incident occurred at 3 am this morning. It is the third time this individual has been hassled by local LEOs, and despite previous follow-ups and attempts to make the law clear to those involved, they refuse to accept it. At the center of the issue is an illegal City of Pittsburg ordinance:
No person shall carry in any vehicle or concealed or unconcealed on or about his person except when on his or her land or in his or her own abode or fixed place of business any firearm; provided that this section shall not apply to:
(a) Those persons specifically exempted under 18 P.S. Sec. 6106(b)(1-10); or
(b) Any person issued a valid license to the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act when carrying the type of weapon for which such license was issued.
(Ord. 11-1980, eff. 7-25-80; Am. Ord. 30-1993, eff. 12-9-93)
Pa.'s Preemption Statute clearly makes this ordinance null and unenforceable:
§6120. Limitation on the Regulation of Firearms and Ammunition.

(a) General rule. No county, municipality or township may in any manner regulate the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammuni­tion components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by the laws of this commonwealth.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A misguided attempt at defending his actions
Cash in ambiguity

Editor: The Second Amendment contains only one sentence of 27 words but is one of the most ambiguous amendments. The lawsuit about the May 9 incident with Dickson City police over the right to bear arms seems like a way to cash in on this ambiguity.

The officers were faced with serious uncertainty and are to be commended for their prudence, good judgment and professionalism in trying to defuse a potentially serious situation.

Let’s hope the court rules with common sense so that the taxpayers of Dickson City are not hit in the pocketbook.



Note the name of the writer and compare it to the list of defendants in the first lawsuit. Can you say "desperate attempt to justify overreactions"? Come on - "serious uncertainty"?! Sounds like an admission of incompetence to me. It's also an interesting angle since the first lawsuit makes no mention of the 2nd Amendment whatsoever.

Mr. Mariano, if you're reading this: This is NOT a gun issue. You need to understand this to avoid repeating such blatant violations again, assuming you'll have the chance to continue your career in law enforcement.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Light posting

Haven't had a whole lot to post about, but there are a couple of things going on 'behind the scenes'.
  1. While attempting to rent a pavilion in Hazle Township, I encountered a park rule that violates PA's preemption statute. I e-mailed my concern to the people I was dealing with about the rental, and they have forwarded my concern to the Township Solicitor at my request. More details as the emerge.
  2. I'll be visiting the Dickson City/Wilkes-Barre area in person over the 4th of July weekend. We'll see if the law enforcement in these communities have changed their attitude (or at least their response) toward open carry in light of recent events. If I haven't posted anything by Monday, check the local police logs!

Two down, ? to go.

From PaOpenCarry:
June 21, 2007
Clifford, PA (Susquehanna County) - A fifth person has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Borough of Dickson City and members of the Dickson City Police Department due to the "open carry" incident at the Old Country Buffet in Dickson City, PA on May 9, 2008.

The plaintiff, Edward Kraft, Jr., of Clifford PA, seeks compensatory and punitive damages as a result of alleged civil rights violations suffered during the police response to a call about a group of people peaceably eating dinner, some of whom were openly carrying holstered handguns.

Kraft's action, filed in United States Federal District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, follows a similar lawsuit filed by four other patrons on June 11 that were also involved in the incident. Kraft and the other four plaintiffs, one of whom was only armed with a video camera, claim they were doing nothing illegal or suspicious under Pennsylvania law and the police had no reason or authority to detain and search them, or confiscate their guns.

Press reports on the Dickson Dozen police roundup:

Police report:

Complaint can be read at:

Lawsuit Contacts: Lead counsel: Johanna L. Gelb, Esquire at (570) 343-6383

Thursday, June 12, 2008

More "Erring on the side of caution"?

The following first-hand account was posted by someone visiting a Dickson City business today:
I was in Joanne Fabric today out of total desperation for something and I asked the ladies if they were DC or Scranton. They told me they pay taxes to Scranton, but are in DC. I asked if they were questioned about -- I didn't even finish my question and they had a response.

Their policy is that customers are allowed to "have a gun" but that employees are not. They also told me that the manager told them that, if there was any kind of problem with someone carrying a gun, that they were to call the police and not mention anything about a gun because, if a gun is mentioned, the DC police are not coming. I made my $3.00 purchase and left.

I went back into the store and told them that I would shop in their store, unlike most DC businesses.
So much for not tailoring police response based on their allowing legal carry in their establishments.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The wheels continue to slowly turn.....

The next step in this admittedly slow process has finally happened. Today, four of the affected parties from the Dickson City incident filed suit in US District Court. The suit alleges six different counts of rights violations, and names both officers involved (Mariano & Gallagher), Chief Stadnitski and Dickson City as defendants. It will take a few days for the parties to be officially served notice, but due to the expected continuing media coverage, they should be aware of the suit before the process server tracks them down. Of course, once this happens, each defendant will have thirty day so submit their formal response before the matter is put on the court calendar.

As I understand it, at least one other party is filing separately, through their own attorney. Additional actions are likely as well, since both the quantity and variety of violations that occurred make it difficult to address them all in a single venue.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Vote for me and you could win too!

ParaUSA is having a special Gun-Bloggers weekend. The top 10 vote getters will be spending the weekend learning from Champion Shooter, Todd Jarrett. What's in it for you? Everyone who votes is also entered and one name will be drawn to fill the 11th spot. Please stop by ParaUSA's website and vote for GunTruth ( Hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dickson City's "List"

Info on the list and links to all documents online can be found over at PAFOA.