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Some more on the gun ban battle in Seattle

June 13, 2008

The Seattle Times has written an editorial that I have to declare disgusting. It is insulting to the dignity of the people of Washington. It is a declaration of open war against the law of the State of Washington. It presumes virtue in the noxious process of forging policy by the heat of litigation. The editorial is stupid.

Concealed pistols do not give off pathogenic fumes as vinyl shower curtains have been found to do. They are not vectors of salmonella as some tomatoes have become. Concealed pistols are absolutely harmless until necessary. Very rarely, they may wind up in the wrong hands and make news on which the Times can feast between scandals.

The Folklife incident fueling Mayor Nickels’s gun-free campaign was an error by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department and the State Patrol in issuing a CPL to a person who was already ineligible for one under state statute. One of the victims of the shooting affirmed her conviction that people who use guns properly should still be entitled to have them.

You can get up to speed on more of the prattle in Seattle at these links: 

Executive Order 07-08, Gun Safety at City Facilities

Press Conference with Mayor Nickels

Pacific Northwest Shooting Park v. City of Sequim, the State Supreme Court opinion on which Mayor Nickels apparently bases his confidence that he can overcome state law

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3 Comments
  1. June 13, 2008 12:21 pm

    The editorialist has fallen to worshipping whim. I wonder what he would say if the Mayor decided to outlaw editorials?

    “The mayor’s executive order, effective without City Council approval, means people with concealed weapons will be asked to give up weapons on city property or leave the premises.”

    Yes, of course they can ask people to leave, just as I can ask the Mayor to leave Seattle. But that doesn’t mean the city officials have authority to ask.

    “The mayor’s ban on guns likely will be challenged in court. Fair enough. It is about time a leader stood up to protect citizens. City law cannot supersede state law on guns but the city can charge violators with trespassing.”

    Again, the City could charge people with a crime, but it doesn’t have authority to do so. The only way the City can charge you with trespass in a park, for example, is if you are in the park after hours, are violating some other actual law (not an executive order—which is binding only on city employees), or have been given an exclusion notice (which can only be issued if you have violated a specific municipal ordinance).

    And the City’s own ordinance on weapons expressly says it is legal to have a concealed firearm if you are a CPL holder:

    SMC 12A.14.080 Unlawful use of weapons.

    It is unlawful for a person knowingly to:

    . . .

    C. Possess a firearm in any stadium or convention center operated by a
    city, county or other municipality, except that such restriction shall
    not apply to
    :

    1. Any pistol in the possession of a person licensed under RCW
    9.41.070 or exempt from the licensing requirement by RCW 9.41.060, or
    . . . .

    Trespassing in parks: http://clerk.ci.seattle.wa.us/~scripts/nph-brs.exe?s1=&s2=trespass&S3=&Sect4=AND&l=20&Sect3=PLURON&Sect5=CODE1&d=CODE&p=1&u=/~public/code1.htm&r=13&Sect6=HITOFF&f=G

  2. June 13, 2008 3:33 pm

    It’s almost comical that the Mayor is ignorant of–or indifferent to–existing city law. Or is he just an anarchist? Or maybe he is blinded by the grandstand lights…is the city attorney skulking off somewhere to an undisclosed location? Is he being held incommunicado? This is going to hit big-time national embarrassment levels. No wonder Seattle didn’t make Most Intelligent City this year.

  3. Don permalink
    June 13, 2008 8:43 pm

    Vic, if I may expand on your post to include more of the ordinance regarding criminal trespass, this time with regard to ANY public property or building:

    SMC 12A.08.040
    Criminal trespass.

    A. 1. A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the first degree if he or she knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building.

    2. Criminal trespass in the first degree is a gross misdemeanor.

    B. 1. A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the second degree if he or she knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in or upon premises of another under circumstances not constituting criminal trespass in the first degree.

    2. Criminal trespass in the second degree is a misdemeanor.

    C. In any prosecution under Section 12A.08.040 A or B, it is an affirmative defense that:

    1. A building involved in an offense under Section 12A.08.040 A was abandoned; or

    2. The premises were at the time open to members of the public and the actor complied with all lawful conditions imposed on access to or remaining in the premises; or

    3. The actor reasonably believed that the owner of the premises, or other person empowered to license access thereto, would have licensed
    him or her to enter or remain; or

    4. The actor was attempting to serve legal process, which includes any document required or allowed to be served upon persons or property by any statute, rule, ordinance, regulation, or court order, excluding
    delivery by the mails of the United States. This defense applies only if the actor did not enter into a private residence or other building
    not open to the public and the entry onto the premises was reasonable
    and necessary for service of the legal process.

    (Ord. 115649 Section 5, 1991: Ord. 114635 Section 4,
    1989: Ord. 113478 Section 1, 1987: Ord. 110062 Section 1, 1981: Ord.
    102843 Section 12A.08.080, 1973.)

    Cases: Use of the phrase “lawful order” in criminal trespass ordinance
    made the ordinance unconstitutionally vague. City of Seattle v. Rice,
    93 Wn.2d 728, 612 P2d 792 (1980).

    As formerly written, Seattle trespass ordinance was invalid as applied to trespasses in public buildings, but was valid insofar as it pertained to trespasses on private property.
    City of Seattle v. Davis,
    32 Wn.App. 379, 647 P2d 536 (1982).

    As Vic pointed out the police, without probable cause of a crime being comitted, would not have the authority to trespass someone legally and would be subject to charges of false arrest if they tried.

    A bit long-winded for a post I’m sure but the intent of the city statute is pretty darn clearly written.

    More of this debate can be viewed on the Seattle Channel; City Inside/Out segment and is being aired over the next few days.

    Go to: http://www.seattlechannel.org/CityInsideOut/tvschedule.asp
    for a full schedule

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