NPS/Firearms in Wolf Trap

This is a discussion on NPS/Firearms in Wolf Trap within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; From a VA-ALERT. VA-ALERT is a project of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. [First person singular pronouns (I, my, mine, etc) and “PVC” reference ...

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Thread: NPS/Firearms in Wolf Trap

  1. #1
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    NPS/Firearms in Wolf Trap

    From a VA-ALERT.

    VA-ALERT is a project of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc.

    [First person singular pronouns (I, my, mine, etc) and “PVC” reference Philip Van Cleave, President VCDL]


    Firearms in Wolf Trap
    **************************************************

    Government considers lawn area "part of a building"

    Bill Heath emailed me this. This is your government working AGAINST you. Petty bureaucrats ripping away your freedoms. VCDL is weighing its options.

    --

    Philip,

    I finally got a response from the NPS about carrying a firearm in the "lawn area" of the Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park.

    Apparently, between the Park Service and their Solicitor Office, they have determined that the lawn area is "part of a building".

    In my opinion, this is quite a stretch, but I'm not surprised as government bureaucrats often do whatever they can to restrict our freedoms.

    Sincerely,
    Bill Heath


    --------


    Dear Mr. Heath,

    This responds to your e-mail inquiry about the recent Federal firearms law, now codified at 16 USC 1a-7b, and its impact at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, located in Virginia.

    Federal Law 16 USC 1a-7b generally allows individuals to possess firearms in a Unit of the National Park System, if such possession is also in compliance with other Federal laws as well as the laws of the State in which the park unit is located.

    In that regard, 18 U.S.C. 930 is another Federal law, and it generally prohibits firearms within a Federal facility. Further, the term Federal facility is defined at 18 USC 930(g)(1) as a "building or part thereof owned or leased by the Federal Government, where Federal employees are regularly present for the purpose of performing their official duties." The Park Service in consultation with our Solicitor's Office, has determined that the entire Filene Center, which also includes the amphitheater areas located inside its ticketed entrances, qualifies as a Federal facility under 18 USC 930(g)(1). To alert the public, appropriate signage has been posted conspicuously at each public entrance to the Filene Center.

    As to your question regarding firearms at private restaurants at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, it is the Park Service's policy to defer to its concessioners to decide for itself whether to prohibit firearms, as long as such authority is also authorized under State law such as at Va. Code Ann. 18.2-308(O). In the event that a restaurant concessioner in our park decides to prohibit firearms, appropriate signage will be posted conspicuously by the concessioner at each public entrance to the restaurant.

    Thank you for your interest in Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.

    Duane Erwin, Chief Ranger
    Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
    1551 Trap Road, Vienna, Virginia 22182-1643
    Office # (703) 255-1822, Fax # (703) 255-4009
    I'll try to keep the DC members informed.

    In the mean time be advised of this apparent violation of your rights and stay out of their clutches.
    Μολὼν λαβέ

    I'm just one root in a grassroots organization. No one should assume that I speak for the VCDL.

    I am neither an attorney-at-law nor I do play one on television or on the internet. No one should assumes my opinion is legal advice.

    Veni, Vidi, Velcro

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array Tom357's Avatar
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    Good to know. While I agree that it is people working against our rights, I can also understand the decision. The Filene Center is a unique facility and venue, having both covered standard seating, and open-air lawn seating for performances. It's a theatre, but it's not. It's an amphitheatre, but it's not. In good warm weather, the sides and back of the house are open, and the lawn is full of picnicing audience. In bad warm weather, the sides of the house can be shuttered, the show goes on, and folks on the lawn forfeit their seats or sit in the rain. In cool weather, the house may be completely enclosed. So, as long as the law disallows carry in park buildings, where do they draw the line inside the ticketed venue?

    And honestly, should we be surprised, given that Wolftrap lies in the heart of Fairfax County? This is where the wine-and-cheese set stop in Vienna, top down on their Beemers and Benzes, NPR blaring, to pick up their $100 picnic for Wolftrap. Or maybe they stop a few doors down and decide to go slumming by picking up some overpriced hotdogs-to-go from the Village Inn... Please. And yes, I know I'm stereotyping, and that many people who attend performances at Wolftrap Farm Park for the Performing Arts aren't like Biff and Sparky, above. And I do understand that this is important for people who carry in NoVA who like to go to Wolftrap. And yes, Wolftrap is a national park just like Glacier NP or the Grand Canyon. It is also unlike just about any other facility in the entire NPS system, and their logic isn't unreasonable.

    Frankly, after our HUGE win against the NPS regarding carry in parks nationwide, it's hard to get but so worked up about one venue in one park. Is it something to work on? Absolutely. Hopefully, we can get the definition of park facilities narrowed down to administrative offices or eliminated completely, some day.

    I think, though, that VCDL has bigger things to focus on in Fairfax County, like unseating entrenched, anti-gun legislators who helped block 2/3 of our legislative agenda, this year, and the on-going battle against the anti-gun rhetoric because the Brady Bunch is in our backyard, and lobbying legislators and crafting legislation for the next session. After winning back carry in national parks, I hope we work quietly on this one, and don't set ourselves back by raising a big stink. I'd rather see quiet, consistent, steady progress, myself.
    - Tom
    You have the power to donate life.

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    VIP Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom357 View Post

    ....
    Frankly, after our HUGE win against the NPS regarding carry in parks nationwide, it's hard to get but so worked up about one venue in one park. Is it something to work on? Absolutely

    ....

    I think, though, that VCDL has bigger things to focus on in Fairfax County, like unseating entrenched, anti-gun legislators who helped block 2/3 of our legislative agenda, this year, and the on-going battle against the anti-gun rhetoric because the Brady Bunch is in our backyard, and lobbying legislators and crafting legislation for the next session....
    1st remember that it was VCDL that started th ball rolling on NPS, when everyone else had "bigger things to focus on."

    Unlike those who excuse not doing something (such as support OC) because they need to focus on bigger things, VCDL tends to multi-task, quite well. Could be because VCDL is grass-roots.

    FWIIW -- unseating entrenched, anti-gun legislators is a goal of every true RKBA supporter in Virginia. But who wants to put all their energy into pushing one big ball up hill, when multi-tasking is working on many fronts.

    As always, YMMV and I hope the our in your "our HUGE win against the NPS" means you are one of the grass-roots and are in the fight for RKBA for the long haul.
    Μολὼν λαβέ

    I'm just one root in a grassroots organization. No one should assume that I speak for the VCDL.

    I am neither an attorney-at-law nor I do play one on television or on the internet. No one should assumes my opinion is legal advice.

    Veni, Vidi, Velcro

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    Distinguished Member Array GWRedDragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom357 View Post
    And honestly, should we be surprised, given that Wolftrap lies in the heart of Fairfax County? This is where the wine-and-cheese set stop in Vienna, top down on their Beemers and Benzes, NPR blaring, to pick up their $100 picnic for Wolftrap. Or maybe they stop a few doors down and decide to go slumming by picking up some overpriced hotdogs-to-go from the Village Inn... Please.
    I've only been to Wolf Trap once, but it wasn't like that at all.

    It was Peter, Paul and Mary...I wonder if that's a different audience
    "Trust in God with hand on sword" -Inscription on my family's coat of arms from medieval England
    ---Carry options: G26/MTAC, PF9/MiniTuck, PPK/Pocket, USP40/OWB---
    ---NOTE: I am not an expert. If I ever start acting like a know-it-all, please call me on it immediately. ---

  6. #5
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    Question Older crowd??

    Quote Originally Posted by GWRedDragon View Post
    It was Peter, Paul and Mary...I wonder if that's a different audience
    ... and they came on stage, stopped half-way to center stage, took a look at the audience and said "Boy have they gotten older."
    Μολὼν λαβέ

    I'm just one root in a grassroots organization. No one should assume that I speak for the VCDL.

    I am neither an attorney-at-law nor I do play one on television or on the internet. No one should assumes my opinion is legal advice.

    Veni, Vidi, Velcro

  7. #6
    Senior Member Array Tom357's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveH View Post
    1st remember that it was VCDL that started th ball rolling on NPS, when everyone else had "bigger things to focus on."
    Oh, I remember. I remember how short the list of co-signing groups was, at first, and how long it took for that list to grow. I remember which major groups weren't on the list, too. Working for carry throughout the national park system is very different from pushing for carry in one venue of one park.
    FWIIW -- unseating entrenched, anti-gun legislators is a goal of every true RKBA supporter in Virginia. But who wants to put all their energy into pushing one big ball up hill, when multi-tasking is working on many fronts.
    I quite agree, and never suggested pushing one big ball uphill, nor did I suggest that Wolftrap wasn't something to pursue. I did express my concern about expending much energy on one venue in one park within the system. I did list several other multi-tasking issues I thought were more important. I could be wrong. I frequently am.
    ...As always, YMMV and I hope the our in your "our HUGE win against the NPS" means you are one of the grass-roots and are in the fight for RKBA for the long haul.
    Funny, I thought it was a win for all of us who carry, that's the 'our' to which I was referring. And in turn, I hope it is possible to question an issue and still be considered part of the fight. I'm not sure how my mileage varies in your reply, but I've been active in this fight, and others, for a lot longer than I've been a member of VCDL, or the NRA, or SAF. I'm not a blind follower, and I don't pay these groups to fight for me. I pay them to fight with me.
    Quote Originally Posted by GWRedDragon View Post
    I've only been to Wolf Trap once, but it wasn't like that at all.

    It was Peter, Paul and Mary...I wonder if that's a different audience
    I used to attend Wolftrap performances regularly, but since writing this, I have been forcefully reminded that that was longer ago than it feels like, or than I want to face. You're right, the audience does depend somewhat on the act. Or did. I'm sure it has changed. I know it has - there were no restaurant concessions in the park, and you were allowed to bring your own food and drink, if you had lawn seats. There were a lot of vain, status-conscious people attending who tried to outdo each other with elaborate picnics. Then, later, you could picnic on the grounds, but couldn't take anything into the lawn, and they started serving a few refreshments at the back of the house. Oh well. I suppose it was wrong to talk about stereotypes.
    - Tom
    You have the power to donate life.

  8. #7
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    Thumbs up Works for me

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom357 View Post
    Funny, I thought it was a win for all of us who carry, that's the 'our' to which I was referring. And in turn, I hope it is possible to question an issue and still be considered part of the fight. I'm not sure how my mileage varies in your reply, but I've been active in this fight, and others, for a lot longer than I've been a member of VCDL, or the NRA, or SAF. I'm not a blind follower, and I don't pay these groups to fight for me. I pay them to fight with me.
    "for all of us who carry" works for me.

    Didn't mean to suggest that I was talking about being a member of VCDL, or NRA, or GOA, or any other particular group.

    If you are active in the fight for RKBA, that works for me and I hope we can agree to disagree on some points or tactics w/o fracturing the group.

    One of my fears is that as we become more successful in the pro-RKBA agenda, we become more fragmented, over sub-issues. It seems to me that the more up-hill the fight was, the more we pulled together.

    No offense was intended. Hope none was taken.

    BTW -- re: VCDL see my signature -- I don't speak for VCDL and, for what it is worth, sometimes I disagree with a tactic, also.

    Albeit I feel a strong need clean-up exactly what a "facility" is -- be it Wolf Trap or anywhere else in the NPS (or elsewhere on Fed property) where there seems to be different applications of the law. IMHO, this issue is rather like "State Preemption" (which I see second only to "Must Issue"). One of the anti-RKBA strategies (next after outright or de facto bans) is to create a patchwork quilt of difference "but-not-here's" from place to place. The antis expect that if they create a minefield of isolated traps that, alone, will keep people from carrying out of fear of unknowingly/unintentionally breaking the law by doing something that is legal where they live but against a local law somewhere they are traveling. Even well posted signs at entrances can create a logistical nightmare, when you come up on an unexpected/unplanned on "but-not-here-facility"

    IMHO, I suspect that that is the tactic behind the NPS's repeated announcements that they "will not.... It is up to the individual to know and follow the law" and the like.

    So let's just agree to disagree on this one and support each other on those where we agree.
    Last edited by DaveH; March 28th, 2010 at 08:44 AM. Reason: Added the penultimate paragraph and fixed syntax
    Μολὼν λαβέ

    I'm just one root in a grassroots organization. No one should assume that I speak for the VCDL.

    I am neither an attorney-at-law nor I do play one on television or on the internet. No one should assumes my opinion is legal advice.

    Veni, Vidi, Velcro

  9. #8
    Senior Member Array Tom357's Avatar
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    I think we agree, even on this issue, more than we disagree, Dave. I think we should pursue this issue. I also think we have a relatively brief (in legislative terms) window of opportunity, with a new Governor who supports gun rights, and a distinct opportunity to shift the balance of the State Senate away from the Dems, to work on ending the Saslaw/Marsh blockade of gun rights legislation in the Senate. My main concern is that, having achieved carry throughout the NPS system, we will find that the administration of this facility, in Fairfax County, to be very stubborn and unmoving. While we should continue to work on it, as we do carry in coliseums and other performance venues around the state, I'd hate to see us divert too much resource toward a very difficult Federal challenge in the Filene Center decision, when we have so many opportunities to leverage our advantage in issues that are purely State issues.

    I think you are right to be concerned about the potential for dissent within the group as VCDL becomes more successful and various people want to take it different directions. That is a risk with any group, particularly a grass-roots organization with a mission. Different factions have different views of the mission and goals. I'm not suggesting a different direction. I'm questioning whether the decision by the NPS, in this peculiar case, is an outrage worth spending too much resource at this time.

    No offense taken. I don't expect any of us will always agree, and we should be able to spar and hash out our perspectives, perchance to disagree, and remain fellows with the same goals at heart.

    I agree about clarifying the definition of facility, and limiting it as much as possible, and I said as much in my original post, I think. We have Senate Dems from Fairfax who think they are safely ensconced in their offices and felt free to blockage all gun rights legislation passed by the Delegates, except those that mirrored legislation that passed out of the Senate. We have Senator Marsh, who has explicitly stated that he sees his role as a State Senator to be one of dispensing justice. We have Senator Saslaw bellowing and (apparently successfully) shouting down opposition to his selective violation of the Senate Rules to defeat all this legislation, under the guise of sending a message to the Delegates about sub-committees killing bills. I would hate to see Wolftrap distract from the clear opportunity we have to demonstrate that the Fairfax Senate Dems are NOT safely ensconced and that they CAN be removed from office. That Senator Marsh's job is not to mete out justice, but to serve his constituents, and as a committee member, the entire citizenry of the Commonwealth - not to dictate to them. That Senator Saslaw should not consider himself safe to ignore Senate rules as he sees fit, and that he must give the committees the opportunity to hear all bills and vote on them as a representative subset of the Senate, in accordance with Senate rules. I just see these as more important, right now, and I can't get too worked up about the Filene Center.

    I understand what you mean about the incremental patchwork quilt of exceptions. In this case, though, the house of the Filene Center begins at the base of the stage and extends to the back of the house, and then continues onto the lawn as amphitheatre. This isn't the same as a Park shop or a park-owned restaurant or museum, where the lawn has nothing to do with the venue inside. Given the laws as they currently stand, IMO it isn't an unreasonable stance for the NPS to consider that the lawn is part of the facility, in this unique case. I am concerned that it will be very difficult to get these Fairfax anti's to change their entrenched opinion on the matter.

    Can we agree to disagree? Absolutely. Can we support each other on the rest? I think we already do.
    - Tom
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