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 Post subject: Lawsuit re: possession of firearms in DE State Parks
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 2:54 pm 
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DSSA, Bridgeville Rifle & Pistol and some individuals have filed a lawsuit in the Delaware Court of Chancery over the administrative ban on possession of firearms in Delaware State Parks and State Forests. The defendants are DNREC, the Delaware Department of Agriculture and the secretaries of those two departments.

The plaintiffs are represented by Francis Pileggi of Eckert Seamans, who won the Wilmington Housing Authority case among other cases of interest to the RKBA community. The complaint seeks a declaration that the regulations violate Article I, Section 20 of the Delaware constitution, that they're preempted by statute, or that they exceed the authority granted to the relevant departments (DNREC for the state parks, Dept. of Ag. for state forests), and an injunction against the regulations.

The case is captioned Bridgeville Rifle & Pistol Club, et al. v. Small, et al., Civil Action No. 11832. The case was filed yesterday (12/21/15) and hasn't been assigned to a judge yet.

Should be interesting to watch.


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 Post subject: Re: Lawsuit re: possession of firearms in DE State Parks
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 4:23 pm 
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Update: Assigned to Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock.

Reminds me, I need to send in a check to renew DSSA membership for myself and the family.


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 Post subject: Re: Lawsuit re: possession of firearms in DE State Parks
PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 8:48 pm 
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Location: Kennett Square, PA
Is there a URL where updates will be posted?


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 Post subject: Re: Lawsuit re: possession of firearms in DE State Parks
PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2015 1:36 pm 
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Location: Newark DE
x2... I'm definitely interested in how this turns out. I would like to be able to help the effort as well...

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 Post subject: Re: Lawsuit re: possession of firearms in DE State Parks
PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2015 2:31 pm 
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It would be awesome to see this won, I'll be following it as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Lawsuit re: possession of firearms in DE State Parks
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:03 pm 
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Mirlen wrote:
Is there a URL where updates will be posted?


DSSA's site, http://dssa.us/, has some posts about it on their news feed, including a link to the complaint. Maybe they'll keep posting updates?

I'm going to try to follow the case through the court's filing system, but as a non-party, that gets expensive.


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 Post subject: Re: Lawsuit re: possession of firearms in DE State Parks
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 5:34 pm 
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Would this apply what I mentioned in this thread?

As it is now you have to get permission from the Director of P&R to carry while on lands/waters administered by the division (which he won't grant, i tried twice.)

If these guys win their case does that mean we'll be able to carry in the aforementioned lands and waters?


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 Post subject: Re: Lawsuit re: possession of firearms in DE State Parks
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 12:39 pm 
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Posts: 113
Here's an update on the litigation:

It appears that the parties are presenting their main arguments to the Court through briefing on crossing motions for judgment. The state filed an opening brief in early February and the DSSA group filed an answering brief in early March. DSSA's site has a page containing a link to their brief, for those interested in reading it: http://dssa.us/2016/03/05/legal-documents-filed/

I don't think DSSA has posted the state's brief. I got it via the Court's electronic filing system. The sort of rhetoric the state is using would drive most of us crazy. "These dumb plaintiffs can't prove they're ever going to need to use a gun in self-defense in a state park, or that the security provided by the department's officers is insufficient, or that they have any legitimate reason to need a gun there despite the risks to public safety that presents"; I paraphrase, but imagine what Mike Bloomberg and Shannon Watts would say, and you've pretty much got it.

The state is arguing (1) that the suit doesn't belong in Chancery Court, but instead in Superior Court, (2) that the statute authorizing DNREC and the Department of Agriculture to adopt regulations implicitly authorizes them to ban firearms on lands those departments control (except for hunting in season and with a license), (3) that Article I, Section 20 is consistent with the regulations the departments have adopted because state forests and parks are just like college classrooms or state buildings (really, they make this comparison), so the presence of cops and a total ban on anyone else being armed is good enough, and (4) the Court can't invalidate the state parks and forests ban on constitutional grounds without also invalidating a lot of restrictions that are statutory rather than regulatory and that aren't being challenged (example cited, gun free school zones).

DSSA's brief distills its position -- roughly speaking, taking the state's arguments in reverse order -- (1) the regulations are unconstitutional, (2) the regulations are preempted by statute, (3) the regulations are beyond the scope of authority granted by the statutes authorizing DNREC and DDA to adopt regulations, and (4) the suit is properly in the Court of Chancery. There's even a shout-out on pages 19-20 to the Delaware Supreme Court's recognition that Delaware is an open-carry state, in Doe v. Wilmington Housing Authority.

I'm not personally involved in the suit, but based on the timing of the briefs so far, I'd guess that the state will get to file a reply brief, probably some time in the next month or so, and the DSSA group might or might not get another reply. Then there will likely be an argument, maybe sometime in May or June, and a written decision within a couple of months after that. Interesting times we live in.


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 Post subject: Re: Lawsuit re: possession of firearms in DE State Parks
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:47 pm 
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I always carry; either open or concealed. Therefore, when I'm out and about I am always armed. That presents a major, and I believe unnecessary, problem for me when I would like to enjoy one of our State Parks.

It's not that I feel a specific need to arm myself when entering a State Park, it's that I see no logic in disarming myself.

So, what's a person to do with their gun in order to enter a State Park? Can the gun be in a motorcycle saddlebag, or in a car trunk, and legally be at a State Park parking lot? If not, their regulation totally bans me from all DE State Parks.

IMHO, the most dangerous place for a citizen is in a gun-free zone. Especially one where you are more likely to be in an isolated area, such as in a State Park.

I hope DSSA includes my concerns in their arguments and I hope they ultimately prevail.

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 Post subject: Re: Lawsuit re: possession of firearms in DE State Parks
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:11 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:23 pm
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Location: Newark DE
Isn't it amazing how they can "permit" a firearm during a hunting season but retsrict all others at any time... even those already with a CCDW permit to carry a firearm at all times... which requires a more extensive background check than a hunting license.... :poed:

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