Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    (Montgomery County)
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    Default State/local law on discharging a firearm?

    I live in a Townhome community and PSP is our responder. The guys next door were firing a handgun/rifle outside our home (about 10 ft. away and were drinking)

    I contacted PSP who came out and said I will talk to'em about it, he chalked it up to they just made a mistake (after talking to'em). I didn't approve becuase they showed a serious lack of judgement. 5 children live in direct vicinity (within 20 feet of where it was all fired from) I asked the TPR what my options were because I wasn't happy with the decission and wanted to persue something if I could. He semi-changed his mind and asked me to hold off for a day and he will look into the matter.

    1) I can't find a State Law online that was violated, Was one violated?

    2) I know there is Town Ordinance on this but I here PSP can't enforce that, true?

    This matter is about common sense and saftey only. I will wait to hear from the PSP before I call anyone to see what I can push but is there anything I can push if need be? Thanks for any input!

  2. #2
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    Pocono`s, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: State/local law on discharging a firearm?

    In townships with no Police of their own PSP don`t enforce ordinances but you can go to a township meeting, or call the safety or zoning officer. In the case where it`s a townhouse community I`ll bet some state laws were violated. You also have townhouse covenants and firearm discharge may be addressed there too.

    That being said my buddy has 12 acres near Dredly on Rolling Hills Farm Rd and somebody called about him target shooting. He has the safe distance and a natural backstop of a dirt hill. PSP came confiscated his weapons looked around and he had to go to Swiftwater barracks the next day to retrieve them.
    "Man is not free unless government is limited." - Ronald Reagan

  3. #3
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    Oct 2006
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    Around, Pennsylvania
    (York County)
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    Default Re: State/local law on discharging a firearm?

    Doubt you'd find a state law covering this. I hope not since one law could not cover the variety of towns, townships and borough in PA.
    IF there is a town ordinance, I suggest you contact the town officials. There should be some type of ordinance enforcement officer.

    You could also try talking to your neighbors and express your concerns....just make sure you aren't over reacting. Also, since you wrote about kids in the area, talk to their parents.

    However, since the trooper asked you to give him a day or so, wait until you hear back from him.

  4. #4
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    Feb 2007
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    ChesCo, Pennsylvania
    (Chester County)
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    Default Re: State/local law on discharging a firearm?

    "Give me a day or so" means "I don't want to do the paperwork". Call his barracks and report to the highest officer there regarding the conduct of the officer (if you remember his name).

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Mountain Top, Pennsylvania
    (Luzerne County)
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    Default Re: State/local law on discharging a firearm?

    1) Not being there are being able to examine the circumstances in more detail I can not say your claim is a legitimate "safety" and "commom sense" concern. Firearms being used in the vicinity of children is not an automatic safety issue anymore than an automobile being used in the vicinity of children is a danger... The "danger" would be dependent on the other circumstances such as the actors gun handling, sobriety, etc. and would be a danger regardless if there were children present or not.

    Being that a PSP trooper came out and according to your report had no obvious issue with what had taken place I have to assume there was no immediate danger associated to the shooting activity that took place.

    That said, we'll address the Q's assuming you are correct and not just seeking to hassle people for doing something you disagree with. Sorry, lacking more info about you we have to take that position due to the prevalence of such attitudes. Please don't take that for more than it is, simpy have no idea where you are coming from incident to your one posting here thus far. There are idiot gun owners out there, as with any group, and these fellows very well may be in the wrong, but we gun owners are unfairly labeled black sheep of society so hopefully you can understand my/our caution and scrutiny of your request.

    2) There is no general state law concerning discharge that I am aware of. There are game laws that regulate discharge w/in certain footage of dwellings not owned by or permission given by the owner. Not sure if these regs would apply to a person obviously not hunting though... I doubt it.

    Localities are generally prohibited from enacting/enforcing laws that regulate the owning, carrying or transporting of firearms. (ref: 18Pa.C.S.6120)
    However, many municipalities have ordinances regulating "discharge". These laws seem to pass muster in that they do not regulate carrying, possession or transportation. If your locality has such an ordinance, and target shooting is not an exception, that would be applicable IMO.

    3) Lastly, as was pointed out, if your TH is governed by a homeowners association, they may have rules regarding shooting. Those are not law but hold weight similar to a lease agreement.

    Quote Originally Posted by bort View Post
    I live in a Townhome community and PSP is our responder. The guys next door were firing a handgun/rifle outside our home (about 10 ft. away and were drinking)

    I contacted PSP who came out and said I will talk to'em about it, he chalked it up to they just made a mistake (after talking to'em). I didn't approve becuase they showed a serious lack of judgement. 5 children live in direct vicinity (within 20 feet of where it was all fired from) I asked the TPR what my options were because I wasn't happy with the decission and wanted to persue something if I could. He semi-changed his mind and asked me to hold off for a day and he will look into the matter.

    1) I can't find a State Law online that was violated, Was one violated?

    2) I know there is Town Ordinance on this but I here PSP can't enforce that, true?

    This matter is about common sense and saftey only. I will wait to hear from the PSP before I call anyone to see what I can push but is there anything I can push if need be? Thanks for any input!
    _________________________________________

    danbus wrote: ...Like I said before, I open carry because you don't, I fight for all my rights because
    you won't, I will not sit with my thumb up my bum and complain, because you will.
    Remember Meleanie

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    ..............., Pennsylvania
    (Chester County)
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    Default Re: State/local law on discharging a firearm?

    Quote Originally Posted by bort View Post

    2) I know there is Town Ordinance on this but I here PSP can't enforce that, true?
    IMO State Police CAN make arrests pursuant to local ordinances...

    71 P.S. 252 (Adm. Code 712). The Pennsylvania State Police Force

    The various members of the Pennsylvania State Police are hereby authorized and empowered:


    (a) To make arrests, without warrant, for all violations of the law, including laws regulating the use of the highways, which they may witness, and to serve and execute warrants issued by the proper local authorities. They shall have all the powers and prerogatives conferred by law upon members of the police force of cities of the first class, and upon constables of the Commonwealth;

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: State/local law on discharging a firearm?

    Except ordinances don`t fall under the penal code or motor vehicle code.
    "Man is not free unless government is limited." - Ronald Reagan

  8. #8
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    collegeville, Pennsylvania
    (Montgomery County)
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    Default Re: State/local law on discharging a firearm?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pa. Patriot View Post
    1) Not being there are being able to examine the circumstances in more detail I can not say your claim is a legitimate "safety" and "commom sense" concern. Firearms being used in the vicinity of children is not an automatic safety issue anymore than an automobile being used in the vicinity of children is a danger... The "danger" would be dependent on the other circumstances such as the actors gun handling, sobriety, etc. and would be a danger regardless if there were children present or not.

    Being that a PSP trooper came out and according to your report had no obvious issue with what had taken place I have to assume there was no immediate danger associated to the shooting activity that took place.

    That said, we'll address the Q's assuming you are correct and not just seeking to hassle people for doing something you disagree with. Sorry, lacking more info about you we have to take that position due to the prevalence of such attitudes. Please don't take that for more than it is, simpy have no idea where you are coming from incident to your one posting here thus far. There are idiot gun owners out there, as with any group, and these fellows very well may be in the wrong, but we gun owners are unfairly labeled black sheep of society so hopefully you can understand my/our caution and scrutiny of your request.

    2) There is no general state law concerning discharge that I am aware of. There are game laws that regulate discharge w/in certain footage of dwellings not owned by or permission given by the owner. Not sure if these regs would apply to a person obviously not hunting though... I doubt it.

    Localities are generally prohibited from enacting/enforcing laws that regulate the owning, carrying or transporting of firearms. (ref: 18Pa.C.S.6120)
    However, many municipalities have ordinances regulating "discharge". These laws seem to pass muster in that they do not regulate carrying, possession or transportation. If your locality has such an ordinance, and target shooting is not an exception, that would be applicable IMO.

    3) Lastly, as was pointed out, if your TH is governed by a homeowners association, they may have rules regarding shooting. Those are not law but hold weight similar to a lease agreement.
    Local Law was violated (ordinance) but you are right off the bat, the TPR. felt it was a non-issue. I feel it is an issue as a Firearms owner long/small arms who would never drink grab my guns go out on my deck and fire rounds off. We are a town home single home community and were firing into the ground because there was no safe direction to fire. Enforcing the law will show a proactive measure in the community that this won't be tolerated.


    I respect and aprreciate all the the responses, even if the TPR. was trying to avoid it I will then bring it up to the HOA and town mayor.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Mountain Top, Pennsylvania
    (Luzerne County)
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    Default Re: State/local law on discharging a firearm?

    Quote Originally Posted by bort View Post
    Local Law was violated (ordinance) but you are right off the bat, the TPR. felt it was a non-issue. I feel it is an issue as a Firearms owner long/small arms who would never drink grab my guns go out on my deck and fire rounds off. We are a town home single home community and were firing into the ground because there was no safe direction to fire. Enforcing the law will show a proactive measure in the community that this won't be tolerated.


    I respect and aprreciate all the the responses, even if the TPR. was trying to avoid it I will then bring it up to the HOA and town mayor.
    If you feel the act was unsafe (improper backstop, alcohol, etc) then I agree you should pursue it. Best we police ourselves. I would likely speak with them first, and if the issue was not acknowledged in an adult and agreeable fashion would definitely pursue it legally if I thought the incident was a legitimate danger.

    Hopefully you took no offense to my skepticism. I know a number of people that have had the cops called on them for 100% *safe* and legal shooting, as well as other safe/legal gun related things (open carry), etc... More often than not the person calling is a "gun owner". IOW: Gun owner does not = automatic friend of gun owners or even rational paerson
    _________________________________________

    danbus wrote: ...Like I said before, I open carry because you don't, I fight for all my rights because
    you won't, I will not sit with my thumb up my bum and complain, because you will.
    Remember Meleanie

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    ..............., Pennsylvania
    (Chester County)
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    Default Re: State/local law on discharging a firearm?

    Section8-1021 Restrictions on use of firearms and other weapons
    and on firing or discharging projectiles .
    No person shall, except in necessary defense of person or
    property, or as set out in Section 8-1022, fire or discharge any
    gun or other firearm or any instrument or device by which a
    projectile of any kind may be fired or discharged .
    Collegeville Ordinance prohibits firing guns in Borough.

    http://keystatepub.com/keystate-pdf/...0Nuisances.pdf

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