Men Asked to Leave Ron Paul Rally After Openly Carrying Firearms - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Men Asked to Leave Ron Paul Rally After Openly Carrying Firearms

Two Men Were Denied Entry Into The Ron Paul Rally For Openly Carrying Firearms Two Men Were Denied Entry Into The Ron Paul Rally For Openly Carrying Firearms
SPOKANE, Wash. -
Hundreds of supporters packed the Spokane Convention Center Friday to hear presidential candidate Ron Paul as he made a visiting return in advance of the Republican precinct caucuses. Paul, the Congressman from Texas, is a staunch Second Amendment supporter. On Friday night, while he took aim at President Barack Obama's policies, security at the Convention Center took aim at another issue: those openly carrying firearms.
 
In Washington, it's perfectly legal to openly carry firearms as long as it's not being used to intimidate, harass, and so on. There are strict rules about where people can't openly carry weapons including jails and court houses. Ron Paul supporter Jeff Hayes carried his pistol on his hip at the Ron Paul rally in Spokane because he thought he was well within his legal rights.
 
Turns out, he wasn't.
 
Hayes has a concealed pistol's license but said officials asked him to leave the Convention Center because his weapon was not concealed.

"It was embarrassing to be standing there like that when they should have just let it be," Hayes said. "I've been openly carrying a firearm almost everywhere I go for the last three years and this if the first time I've been stopped or questioned or bothered by anybody."

Hayes quickly pointed out firearms-related state codes to officials at the rally, including RCW 94.1.290 (State preemptions) and RCW 9.41.300 (Weapons prohibited in certain places). The later of the two RCW's states that cities, towns, counties, and other municipalities may enact laws and ordinances "Restricting the possession of firearms in any stadium or convention center, operated by a city, town, county, or other municipality, except that such restrictions shall not apply to: 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."
 
Since Hayes had a concealed pistol's license, he felt he was exempt and could therefore openly carry his gun. However, officials at the Spokane Public Facilities District, which runs the Convention Center, disagreed. Kevin Twohig, CEO of the Spokane Public Facilities District, said exposed firearms are against policy.
 
"All of our facilities are operated the same way; We do not allow open carry in any of our facilities," Twohig said. "It really is a safety issue. That's what drives us."
 
To avoid a disturbance, Hayes left the rally - along with a friend who also openly carried - but believes their rights were violated.
"Law abiding citizens, armed or concealed, aren't any threat to anybody," Hayes said.

KHQ reached out to the Washington State Department of Licensing for answers. Washington DOL Spokesperson Christine Anthony said officials at the Spokane Convention Center did nothing wrong.

While Washington state law is specific about concealed weapons licenses, Anthony said open carry laws are purposely vague to protect the Second Amendment right to bear arms. As a result, she said, it's up to local jurisdictions to decide open carry policies. In this case, she said, the Spokane Public Facilities District is considered a municipality which is allowed to prohibit firearms.
 
"State law does allow for certain places to set rules on places like convention centers and parks that people aren't allowed to have weapons in."
 
Anthony also said, just because someone has a concealed pistol license, doesn't mean that person can openly carry a firearm in a place where it is prohibited.
  
REVISED CODE OF WASHINGTON:
There are four main state statutes that one must be cognizant of while carrying firearms:
RCW 9.41.050 <http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9.41.050> (Carrying Firearms),
RCW 9.41.280 <http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9.41.280> (Carry on School Grounds),
RCW 9.41.300 <http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9.41.300> (Weapons Prohibited in Certain Places),
RCW 70.108.150 <http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=70.108.150> (Firearms in Outdoor Music Festivals).
RCW RCW 9.41.050 <http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9.41.050> is the primary law which affects gun carrying on a day to day basis. This law makes it unlawful for one to conceal a pistol without a concealed pistol license (hereinafter called CPL), and also makes it unlawful for one to carry a loaded pistol in any vehicle, whether it be openly carried or concealed carried unless a person has a valid CPL(see RCW 9.41.060 <http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9.41.060> on Exceptions).

SPOKANE MUNICIPAL CODE:
Here is the Municipal Code for taking firearms into places like the Spokane Arena or Spokane Convention Center:
 
Title 10 Regulation of Activities
Division I. Penal Code
Chapter 10.10 Offenses Against Peace and Order
Section 10.10.050 Municipal Public Assembly Facilities
A.     No person shall bring into any City public assembly facility any cans, bottles, alcoholic beverages, controlled substances, guns, knives or other such devices which are weapons or apparently capable of use as weapons.
 
B.     The public assembly facilities are the INB Performing Arts Center, the Convention Center, Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, and Joe Albi Stadium.
 
C.     This shall not prohibit legitimate operations of licensed concessionaires or other persons authorized by the Spokane Public Facilities District, Chief Executive Officer or designee.
 
Date Passed: Monday, January 9, 2012
Effective Date: Thursday, February 16, 2012
ORD C34823 Section 1
 
 
RESOURCES:
Washington Department of Licensing: http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/firearms/faconceal.html


--
CHELSEA KOPTA
Digital Journalist
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