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Posted: 6/9/2003 7:35:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/23/2003 12:06:03 PM EDT by Maddog50]
I saw a "no guns" sign up at the YMCA, so I wrote a letter to the local president: Dear Mr. : I recently signed up for a summer package at the Round Rock YMCA location to enjoy your weight training facilities in preparation for my entry into a police academy later this year. I used to work at the YMCA and your location was convenient for me, so it was an easy decision. So far the YMCA has met my needs very well. Recently, however, I noticed a sign posted outside that stated that firearms are not permitted on YMCA premises for the protection and well being of members and employees. While you are well within your rights to post this sign, it is a bad idea for several reasons: First, it does not discourage criminals from carrying weapons. Criminals are ineligible for licenses to carry handguns, so they are already breaking the law if they carry a handgun (PC §46.02). It is unlikely that a criminal would turn around and go home when they read your sign. Second, it does not carry the force of law to discourage the carrying of handguns by law-abiding licensed citizens. Under the required training that handgun license applicants receive, they learn that in order to be convicted under PC §30.06, “Trespass by holder of a license to a carry concealed handgun” a sign must be displayed conspicuously that contains the following language in both English and Spanish with block letters at least one inch in height and with contrasting colors: “Pursuant to Section 30.06, Penal Code (trespass by holder of a license to carry a concealed handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (concealed handgun law), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun”. In other words, your members are not liable under criminal law if they do not comply with your sign. Next, the sign sends the wrong message. It tells violent attackers that the YMCA is a safe place to operate. It encourages them because they expect members and employees on your property to be defenseless against their attacks. Numerous studies have shown that the public is safer when the criminals don’t know if their next intended victim might be armed. Sadly, we cannot always count on the police to prevent these attacks. It is an unfortunate fact that typical police response times are measured in minutes while deadly attacks are measured in seconds. This policy is especially discriminatory toward women, who on average are physically disadvantaged against a male attacker and are more likely to be accompanied by small children who need protection. Furthermore, attempting to deny members the ability to defend themselves without guaranteeing their personal safety may open you to liability. Finally, your sign is insulting to your law-abiding members who have made the effort to get trained and licensed to carry a concealed handgun or are sympathetic to those who have. If it is not removed or altered, I will not be renewing my membership and I will encourage others to avoid the YMCA. I will gladly pay more to train in a less hostile environment. I look forward to your response in this matter. My email address is XXX@XXXX.net
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 8:01:20 PM EDT
Well said. YMCA's are usually located in the low-rent districts which put them on my list of places not to go to unless armed.
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 8:29:06 PM EDT
In other words, your members are not liable under criminal law if they do not comply with your sign.
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Excellent letter, but I'm not sure that telling the guy how to fix his sign so it will be legal is a good idea. Until now, the only people it would have scared off were the folks who didn't know the difference between a legal and a non-legal sign (e.g., people who probably aren't carrying legally anyway). After he fixes it, it may scare off other CCW holders.
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 8:38:15 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 8:40:49 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Skibane:
In other words, your members are not liable under criminal law if they do not comply with your sign.
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Excellent letter, but I'm not sure that telling the guy how to fix his sign so it will be legal is a good idea. Until now, the only people it would have scared off were the folks who didn't know the difference between a legal and a non-legal sign (e.g., people who probably aren't carrying legally anyway). After he fixes it, it may scare off other CCW holders.
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I'd have to whole heartedly agree. More than likely, they'll put up the legal sign not take it down.
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 8:42:58 PM EDT
I would follow it up with a phone call, and request a personal visit, if there's no response... Damn good letter, we should archive these somewhere, and folks could use 'em when they needed to...
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 9:19:54 PM EDT
Thanks for the kind remarks. Would one of you moderators tack this under Hometown/Activism? I'll let you know how it turns out.
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 10:28:34 PM EDT
Originally Posted By 45ACP_Marine:
Originally Posted By Skibane:
In other words, your members are not liable under criminal law if they do not comply with your sign.
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Excellent letter, but I'm not sure that telling the guy how to fix his sign so it will be legal is a good idea. Until now, the only people it would have scared off were the folks who didn't know the difference between a legal and a non-legal sign (e.g., people who probably aren't carrying legally anyway). After he fixes it, it may scare off other CCW holders.
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I'd have to whole heartedly agree. More than likely, they'll put up the legal sign not take it down.
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Well would we really want legal CCW holders to carry into an anti-gun place anyway?
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 10:34:10 PM EDT
HELL YES!!!!!
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 1:22:33 AM EDT
Go ahead and forward that to the new president of the Young Women's CHRISTIAN Assosciation... MS Pat Schroeder.
Link Posted: 6/23/2003 12:01:41 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/24/2003 9:50:12 PM EDT by Maddog50]
Well, after hounding these folks for two weeks I finally got the opportunity to sit down with someone who had some authority on this matter. I went over my four talking points and she assured me that they didn't intend to offend anyone. They just wanted to make it look like they were doing something to make the place safer without spending money on security. The branch executive was very polite throughout our discussion. She told me that she would address it with her boss tomorrow and contact me in the afternoon for follow-up. I'll take that, I guess. Here's the email I followed up with after our meeting today. Anyone with 30 spare seconds or so can email their own words of concern to Sheri Yarrington, Branch Executive of the YMCA of Greater Williamson County. As always, try to be nice! Her email is: syerrington@ymcawilliamsonco.org ------------------------------- Ms. Yerrington, Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today and listen to my concerns. I have attached a copy of the letter I sent to Wade Todd on 9 JUN for your reference. From what I understand, your primary reasons to have these signs are for liability reasons and criminal activity (minor in possession, minor consumption, disorderly conduct, etc.) on YMCA property after hours. I have some suggestions addressing your concerns. With regards to liability, attempting to deny members the ability to defend themselves without guaranteeing their personal safety may also open you to liability. Besides, it is not an industry-wide practice to post these signs. I have never seen signs like these at other gyms. In fact, it is rare these days to see them anywhere. If you are having a problem with criminal activity after hours, have you considered closing the property after hours? A sign with "basketball court hours" would make it a trespassing offense to hang out there after hours. Unlike your existing signs, this one would have the force of law (PC §30.05). Even without the trespassing signs, the more times the police are called the more they will patrol the area. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. Please let me know if your insurance has a specific requirement for these signs. If it does, I will organize a campaign to address the issue with that company. Again, my offer stands to make a targeted donation of money (and labor) to alleviate financial concerns of changing the signs. I look forward to working with you to find a solution that is acceptable to us both.
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 6:30:33 AM EDT
This is anaother example of an issue which truly needs to be addressed legislatively. There should not be a provision for prohibiting legal CCW holders from entering a premesis. The reasoning for such prohibition is "private property rights." That's nonsense. These people are running a public accommodation. Private property rights also were the excuse when businesses discriminated racially. Public accommodation was the phrase used in the law to knock that down. An individual has every right to keep your weapon and, indeed, you from entering his/her personal residence, and could even exercise that on racial grounds. But, once a business is open to the general public, it should not be an issue. The law needs to be changed. That's one thing I noticed in TX on a number of trips. There are prohibitions in the most ridiculous places. Some, in combination with others and common sense, seem to be directed at preventing carry entirely. I've seen the provision in parking garages or lots as well as the associated stores. What exactly am I supposed to do? Can't leave it in the car: there's the sign as well as common sense to not leave it for criminals. But, I can't carry to the store, either. OK, either go home or say "screw 'em." Yes, that's why it's concealed. I don't know if TX law has a provision to allow force (especially CCW) to stop a "forcible felony" that does not directly involve oneself. If it did, do you think I'd exercise it in such a store?
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 6:49:44 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 7:41:44 AM EDT
Originally Posted By rjroberts: There should not be a provision for prohibiting legal CCW holders from entering a premesis. The reasoning for such prohibition is "private property rights." That's nonsense. These people are running a public accommodation.
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With legislation that permits CCWs recently passing in Minnisota, various city groups are now considering using that same "private property loophole" to circumvent the new law. Basically, you put public facilities and venues under the auspices of a "private" company, thereby making it legal to exclude CCW holders.
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 7:28:02 AM EDT
I've seen the provision in parking garages or lots as well as the associated stores. What exactly am I supposed to do?
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IANAL but Texas law expressly states that both public and private driveways and parking lots are not affected by the display of a 30.06 sign. So they can post until they are blue in the face; but it has no legal force. On the other hand, the local police department in Grapevine does uphold the interpretation that parking lots are off limits at the Grapemine Mills mall... so while you might beat the charge, you could still end up getting arrested.
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 7:54:37 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/25/2003 8:04:10 AM EDT by Maddog50]
Originally Posted By Bartholomew_Roberts: IANAL but Texas law expressly states that both public and private driveways and parking lots are not affected by the display of a 30.06 sign. So they can post until they are blue in the face; but it has no legal force.
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You are mostly right. 30.06 signs actually say "...may not enter this property..." We are talking about property now and not a "premisis" which means buildings only. Here's the catch: in order for it to apply to property other than a building, you must have received notice. One method is with a card or document. Some employers have you sign this. AMD here in Austin has you sign a document when you sign in as a visitor. In this case you cannot CARRY on or about your person on their property including parking lots, etc. Nothing (with regard to criminal law) stops you from having a gun in the trunk or in a handy safe. Another method is having these signs posted at every possible entrance to the property. That would meet the requirement being "displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public". If it is fenced off, then this is feasible. Or the other choice would be oral notice. Someone could tell you at any place on the property that you can't carry and you would have to depart. But, yes, a simple 30.06 sign posted at the entrance to a building doesn't apply to parking lots.
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 8:00:10 AM EDT
Thanks for the clarification. That explains the Grapevine Mills issue too I guess.
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