Butler County Metroparks Rules in violation of law.

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color of law
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Butler County Metroparks Rules in violation of law.

Post by color of law » Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:16 pm

Back on September 28, 2016 I sent the following Email.
To: Chief Dan Bower and Jonathan Granville
Ref: Park Rules

On Monday morning (September 26, 2016) I spoke with Sergeant James about the park rules being in violation of state law relating to firearms. Sergeant James said that he would have the chief call me that afternoon. I received no such call. I called Tuesday morning (September 27, 2016) and I left a voice message with Jonathan Granville. I have not received a return call from either.

One of the park rules that is in violation of state law (ORC § 9.68) and the Ohio Supreme Court (Ohioans for Concealed Carry, Inc. v. Clyde, 120 Ohio St.3d 96, 2008-Ohio-4605) is:

“1545.09 5b No person, except a Park Ranger, another law enforcement officer, a person within a designated hunting area, a person within a Board designated target range, or a person specifically authorized in writing by the Executive Director or his or her designee shall carry or possess a firearm of any description, air rifle, slingshot, bow, crossbow, rocket, missile throwing device, or hunting knife within a Park unless said devise is a handgun and said person possess a valid Ohio Concealed Carry Permit.” (Emphasis added)

The above rule was Adopted: May 13, 2008, but on September 18,2008 the Ohio Supreme Court found such local laws or rules in violation of state law. Sergeant James acknowledged the park rules are in violation of state law, but informed me the rules are under review.

However, in an April 2012 email Mr. Granville stated:

“We appreciate your comments in regard to the open carry provisions of state law and the apparent conflict with the language of MetroParks Rules and Regulations. You are correct that state law always trumps local ordinances whenever there is a conflict. Recent court cases from across the state support your contention regarding open carry rights regardless of the possession of a concealed carry permit.

Our Park Rules and Regulations are due for an update to eliminate such conflicts, address present park system needs and increase clarity. Locally, you may be interested to know, our Ranger staff have never issued a citation based on the specific section of our Rules and Regulations which is the subject of your email and, under present circumstances, our officers will not do so.

However, your communication is very timely. We are in the process of rebuilding our Ranger Dept. and a rewrite of its public safety operating policies and existing Park Rules and Rules will take place in the coming months.

Thank you for taking the time to alert us to the potential conflict for had we been unaware the rights of responsible gun owners might have abridged.”

Being in the process of rewriting the rules and regulations 4 1/2 years later is clearly unacceptable.

The rules and regulations require your immediate attention. And it should be noted that ORC § 9.68 does provide a remedy.

A prompt reply as to the time and date these rules will be amended would be appreciated.

Color Of Law

CC: Edward L. Dwyer
Cynamon Trokhan
Gregory T. Amend

P/S – Any posted signs in the parks that are in conflict with state law need to also be addressed.
After a few Emails back and forth, the board, on October 18, 2016, passed a Resolution fixing their rules.

After all these years we are still getting towns, cities and parks in compliance.

This summer I had to get tough with Miami Township park system in Clermont County to get their rules in compliance. But, it got done.....

People, we still got a lot of work to do. We can't stop now.

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Re: Butler County Metroparks Rules in violation of law.

Post by JustaShooter » Sat Oct 22, 2016 8:48 pm

Well done, CoL, and you are absolutely correct. From RTAs to Fair Boards to city Parks and Recreation departments, there are still many illegal ordinances throughout Ohio that need to be removed or fixed. We need to continue to be vigilant and not ignore or accede to them simply because they are posted by the Government. We need to ensure we understand the laws and if they are not in compliance, challenge them as you and others have done so effectively.
Christian, Husband, Father
NRA Life Member
NRA Certified Range Safety Officer
NRA Certified Pistol & Rifle Instructor

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Re: Butler County Metroparks Rules in violation of law.

Post by sd790 » Sun Oct 23, 2016 12:58 am

Excellent! Thank you.

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Re: Butler County Metroparks Rules in violation of law.

Post by Brian D. » Sun Oct 23, 2016 9:12 am

Good job, color of law!
"I have decided not to vote, speak in public, assemble in groups or petition my government either directly or by writing to the newspapers.

Some ignorant person may become alarmed, and we can't have that.''

--CAR15A2, 3/31/09

color of law
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Re: Butler County Metroparks Rules in violation of law.

Post by color of law » Sun Oct 23, 2016 10:22 am

Below is one of the emails I sent. Notice that I address Open carry inside the buildings. No objection was received by the Chief Ranger or their legal counsel.

I have open carried in one of the township buildings where I live. Our township attorney has acknowledged that open carry in state buildings is not prohibited. And even back in 2012 the attorney for Vandalia, OH also acknowledged you can open carry in state buildings, recognizing certain exceptions. Here what Vandalia's law director, Gerald McDonald, said, "For the most part the above law is specific to concealed carry. In other words, while a person may be prohibited from carrying a concealed weapon in a public building under 2923.126(8) (9), he would not necessarily be prohibited from having an open weapon in a public building."

So take a minute and read below, and then ask your attorney to show you the law that says otherwise.
Dear Mr. Granville,

Your last sentence of your Email (I share your frustration that this issue has not yet been dealt with.) is quite disturbing. Either you are trying to pass the buck by implicating the boards incompetence in their failings to take your advice, or could it be that you and the board lack respect for the law. Lets not forget that all of you took an oath of office to support the laws of Ohio. Lack of due diligence is unacceptable.

I see that that section 1545.09 5b has been deleted from the Metro Park Rules showing an Adopted: May 13, 2008 date, but lacking any revision date or foot note indicating such change. I hope the altering of the park rules has been internally recorded should an open records request demand such official acts.

Section 1545.09 5b is not the only problem with the park rules.

Regarding posted signs on state government buildings; another park rule that is in violation of state law is:

“1545.09 5a No person, except Park Rangers or other law enforcement officers, shall, within a Park building, carry or be possessed of firearms of any description or other dangerous ordinances, or any air rifle, sling­shot, missile throwing device, switchblade, hunting knife, dagger, or metal knuckles.”

First, R.C. 2923.1212 is a supplemental section of R.C. 2923.12. See “A Guidebook for Ohio Legislators,” page 67. http://www.lsc.ohio.gov/guidebook/guidebook15.pdf Second, R.C. 2923.1212 addresses state agencies or state government entities, not the citizens or a concealed carry licensee. In other words, posted signs on state government buildings only apply to the conceal carrying of firearms, not the open carrying of firearms.

Other than bars (R.C. 2923.121), schools (R.C. 2923.122), Courthouses (R.C. 2923.123), Jails and State run mental hospitals, Ohio law does not interfere with citizens' inalienable right, as protected by the Constitution, of the open carrying of firearms on public property open the public, outside under the sky or inside a building. Open carry is a right, not a privilege. Conceal carry of a firearm is a privilege in Ohio.

In State v. Shelton, 63 Ohio App. 3d 137 – Ohio: Court of Appeals 1989, the court stated: (The issue is: Did she have a privilege to enter the lobby of the sheriff's office? As a general rule, a person has the right to enter and be upon the public areas of public property. So we have to ask: May a county official revoke such a privilege when the official finds that person to be a nuisance? We think not.) In other words, it says you cannot be charged with trespass for just being in the open to the public area of a state building just because some government employee doesn't like you being there.

Open carry by itself does not support a charge of Disorderly Conduct, Inducing Panic or even Trespass.

We know a person may be prohibited from carrying a concealed weapon in a public building under R.C. 2923.126(9). So, what law says it's a crime to open carry in a state government building open to the public? We know it's not R.C. 2923.12 or R.C. 2923.1212. And in light of R.C. 9.68 I will bet that you will not find an Ohio statute saying otherwise.

Carrying firearms in your parks is not your only problem, I suggest you read Speet v. Schuette, 726 F.3d 867, 869 (6th Cir. 2013) relating to begging and soliciting, (The first issue is whether begging is a form of solicitation that the First Amendment protects. We hold that it is.).The Park Rules at 1545.09 7l (No person shall beg, hawk, peddle, or solicit within the Park without a special permit issued by the Executive Director.) and 1545.09 10c (No person shall beg or solicit any person for any purpose in the Park.) appear to be in violation of the First Amendment.

You and the board, as well as law enforcement have a duty to not violate peoples' rights. And law enforcement cannot claim ignorance of the law. See Northup v. City of Toledo Police Department, No. 14-4050 (6th Cir. May 14, 2015) (If it is appropriate to presume that citizens know the parameters of the criminal laws, it is surely appropriate to expect the same of law enforcement officers—at least with regard to unambiguous statutes. Heien v. North Carolina, 135 S. Ct. 530, 540 (2014).

It appears you and the board have a lot to get done before your October meeting.


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Re: Butler County Metroparks Rules in violation of law.

Post by dademoss » Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:37 am

Thanks for your work, CoL !

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