Keep us up to date on this one!
This is a discussion on Awesome article today in the paper within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; This was smack dab on the front page of our local newspaper today. It's about Mr. Rotz, open and concealed carry in Pennsylvania. All this ...
This was smack dab on the front page of our local newspaper today. It's about Mr. Rotz, open and concealed carry in Pennsylvania. All this is happening right here where I live in Franklin County PA. It makes me wonder if Sheriff Wollyung is as pro-gun as I once thought he was I think I'll go to the court house and support Mr Rotz Tuesday.
More than a dozen supporters of gun rights are expected to attend a Franklin County Court hearing on Tuesday when President Judge John R. Walker will hear arguments on whether a Chambersburg man should get back his permit to carry a concealed firearm.
Many of Greg Rotz' supporters are expected to be packing handguns in plain view, just as they do every day.
Pennsylvania law allows citizens to wear guns in the open without a permit.
Weapons, however, are not allowed in courts. Courthouse visitors must empty their pockets and pass through a metal detector. Security officers also X-ray briefcases. They keep the knives and other questionable items that people bring with them.
Franklin County Sheriff Robert Wollyung said he has instructed his officers to tell gun-toting visitors to park their weapons in their vehicles or to surrender them.
Wollyung revoked Rotz' concealed weapon permit after an incident at the New Franklin voting precinct on Election Day (Nov. 6). A state constable challenged Rotz who was wearing a handgun in a holster at his side. The constable cautioned Rotz to leave the gun in his vehicle. Rotz asserted his right to open carry.
The case has aroused open-carry advocates, who have donated nearly $3,000 toward Rotz' legal fees. His situation is a discussion topic on at least 13 different Internet bulletin boards. The original posting of his case on the Pennsylvania Firearm Association's Web site (www.pafoa.org) garnered nearly 700 replies and 42,000 views. At least 15 people from across Pennsylvania plan to attend the hearing, according to Rotz.
"I think it's amazing," Rotz said.
"Gun owners may attend the hearing because the stakes are so high for all gun owners, particularly any who want to carry their gun concealed or in a vehicle in Pennsylvania," said Mike Stollenwerk, co-founder of OpenCarry.org. "The hearing is a de novo review of the sheriff's action, not just a review of his action for some sort of extreme abuse of discretion. The sheriff is not supposed to have discretion in the first place."
Two states require no permit to carry a concealed firearm. Of the 48 states requiring a permit to carry, 37 are "shall issue" states -- meaning that the licenses are like driver's licenses -- if you qualify for one, you get one, Stollenwerk said.
"If the United States heads backwards on 'shall issue,' this will be a huge setback for gun rights," Stollenwerk said.
In 1986, there were only eight "shall issue" states.
Wollyung will not be sheriff at the time of the hearing, which falls on the second day of Sheriff-elect Dane Anthony's administration.
Anthony, a former deputy sheriff, said he isn't sure if the sheriff's office has enough gun cabinets for all the weaponry that may show up in the courthouse lobby.
"I haven't been in the office for five years," Anthony said. "We'll either turn them away or take their weapons from them."
Wollyung said Rotz could avoid a hearing by applying for a permit from Anthony.
"The law requires a one-year waiting period after a denial or revocation has occurred," Rotz said. "Dropping the appeal would amount to conceding the revocation and prevent me from immediately applying for a new license to carry a concealed firearm."
But Rotz and Anthony had not spoken as of Thursday evening.
"I am taking the action I took to undo a wrong," Rotz said. "The revocation was not valid in my opinion, and I'm fighting to have it voided."
It's only the second time the 36-year-old Rotz has been to court. The first time was to complain about a neighbor's barking dog, he said. Rotz and his son discussed the court case and the 11-year old is asking his school to excuse him for an educational day to attend the proceedings.
Anthony said he has talked about the case with his administration's solicitor, Pat Redding.
"We were hoping it would be worked out by the 8th," Anthony said.
The sheriff is not required to be represented at the hearing, according to Wollyung.
A citizen can carry a gun at his or her side while walking down the street in Pennsylvania, but he or she needs a concealed weapon permit to get into a vehicle with the weapon. Pennsylvania law considers a handgun in a vehicle to be a concealed weapon.
The county sheriff issues concealed weapon permits, and has the authority to revoke a permit for the same reasons he would deny one.
The Franklin County Sheriff's office issues almost 2,000 permits to carry concealed weapons each year, according to Wollyung. The permit fee is $30. A person must be at least 18 years old. Nearly 8,000 people in Franklin County have the five-year permit.
When a person applies for a permit, the sheriff's office has 45 days in which to conduct an investigation, including a check of criminal, military and mental health databases.
Ten states allow guns to be carried openly on foot and in vehicles, according to OpenCarry.org, which tracks state laws about carrying weapons and hosts discussion groups on the topic. Six states severely restrict open carry. Pennsylvania and the other states fall in the middle.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett's office did not return a reporter's telephone calls inquiring about places where open carry is prohibited in Pennsylvania.
Wollyung has said that the court will probably rule against him.
If Rotz did not violate the letter of the law at the polling place, he violated the spirit of the law on two points -- harassment and disorderly conduct, Wollyung said.
Rotz said he has done nothing wrong.
"Let's review the facts: The sheriff revoked Rotz' license to carry a concealed weapon because Rotz legally open carried while voting, but for some reason irritated an elected constable," Stollenwerk said. "A good analogy would be the Department of Motor Vehicles revoking Rotz' driver's license, which allows the holder to drive a motor vehicle on public roads, because Rotz legally walked across a street inside a crosswalk, but irritated an elected constable who was driving on that road."
Franklin County District Attorney John Nelson said it's "pretty apparent" when a weapon is used in a threatening fashion.
"I don't have anything in this fight," Nelson said. "This scenario is something new, and I haven't been called upon to address whether that's a violation of any criminal statute. If it's legal and not specifically prohibited, even though it may make some people uncomfortable, it's hard to argue that it's a criminal violation."
The hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday in Courtroom One on the third floor of the county courthouse. Entrance is from the courthouse annex on Lincoln Way East.
Carrying a weapon
Many people such as Greg Rotz want to carry a handgun for self-protection.
"I think perhaps I'm taking more seriously my responsibility for myself and my family," Rotz said.
In May, Rotz got a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The sheriff revoked the permit in November, and Rotz is in court to get it back.
The responsibility of carrying a gun may one day come down to a decision about using deadly force.
"You are justified in the use of deadly force in protecting yourself or another if you reasonably believe someone is placing you in danger of death or serious bodily injury," Franklin County District Attorney John Nelson said. "It has to be a reasonable belief. You have the duty to retreat if you can do so in safety. You are not required to retreat from your residence."
At the same time, people who carry guns also carry a greater burden should they intimidate another person.
For a person found guilty of terrorist threats, the sentencing guidelines are stiffer if the person visibly possessed a weapon at the time he or she made the threat, Nelson said.
Last edited by Pro2A; January 6th, 2008 at 01:21 PM.
Keep us up to date on this one!
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A person who is incapable of independent thought; a person who is herd animal-like in behavior; one who cannot distinguish between right and wrong; a foolish person.
See also Sheep
Sounds like a worthwhile effort. It will be interesting to see the long-term results. If more of these sorts of engagements happen, it can only help raise awareness and show "normal" folks how normal and non-threatening it really is.
Yes, keep us up to date on the results of the case!
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NRA Life Member
I hope Greg Rotz has an effective, pro-gun attorney to aid in his hearing...
I hope he prevails...it's definitely important to a lot of people.
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NRA Life Member
The article doesn't clearly state it, but implies he was trying to enter the courthouse. If so, makes the case tougher, IMHO.
Protect your family. Reload. Call 911.
Oh no. He was voting in a regular polling place. The courthouses here have metal detectors before you go in.
Here in VA MOST polling locations are public schools. As such they are off limits for carry either open or concealed. Just curious as to what type of establishment the polling was taking place in.
the sheriff himself,and the D.A. says he believes Mr. Rotz will win.is everyone reading the entire article?
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