Supervisors to lobby state lawmakers TO EXTEND FIREARMS BAN TO SUBLIC SARKS
LOtER MAKEFfELD - The board of supervisors said it will petition Pennsylvania lawmakers to make it a crime to carry firearms in state and local parks.
fn a 5-0 vote on Jan. 16, the supervisors agreed to ask the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) to lobby state legislators to pass a law to extend the firearms ban to all parks.
Currently, state law only makes it a crime to carry guns in certain places, such as schools and courthouses, but not on parkland.
Many municipalities, including Lower Makefield, had passed ordinances banning guns in their parks. But the state Supreme Court had overturned Philadelphia’s ban, ruling that under the preemption doctrine only the state, not local governments, can regulate firearms.
“As much as f support the Second Amendment, f can’t think of any good reason to have firearms at Macclesfield,” said Chairman Pete Stainthorpe.
Vice Chairman Doby Dobson concurred. “Let’s be sensible here, there’s no good reason to be carrying a gun in a public park.”
According to township solicitor Jeffrey Garton, the letter is not asking lawmakers to ban firearms, but just regulating where they can be carried.
However, Stainthorpe noted that the chance of all the PSATS delegates endorsing the ban “is quite small.
“The attitude about guns in other parts of Pennsylvania is very different than it is here,” he contended.
Meanwhile, Police Chief Ken Coluzzi commented that the letter is “a good first step.”
fn order to move forward with the petition, the supervisors have to first notify the Bucks County Association of Township Officials (BCATO) of Lower Makefield’s request to extend the ban because the state association only considers requests from county organizations.
The county group meets early next month, with PSATS convening in April. At the Jan. 16 meeting, the supervisors authorized Garton and township manager Terry Fedorchak to notify BCATO that the supervisors would soon be considering a formal resolution calling for a ban.
Earlier in the meeting, Arthur Cohn of Spruce Mill Drive asked the board to send a letter to U.S. Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (R-8) urging him to support an assault weapons ban.
“There’s not a need for them in any community, including Lower Makefield,” Cohn declared. “Your support would send a message to Congress.”
However, Stainthorpe said that the board itself should not support something on the federal level, and instead should concentrate on township matters.
“Each of [the supervisorsz is free to write a letter on township letterhead,” he said.