Mayor Panucci and City Council members,
The Syracuse City (Utah) Newsletter was delivered to my residence today and I read about the city’s annual pumpkin walk with great interest.
As you know, the annual Pumpkin Walk is held annually at Centennial Park (behind City Hall). Centennial Park is a public park and the Pumpkin Walk is a city endorsed and tax-payer funded event.
Nestled within the announcement for this year’s Pumpkin Walk is the following line: “(No masks, guns, or pets)”.
Why is the city prohibiting the lawful carry of firearms during a public event on public property? Where does the city derive this authority?
Pursuant to Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-500(2), adopted in 1999, “[u]nless specifically authorized by the Legislature by statute, a local authority or state entity may not enact or enforce any ordinance, regulation, or rule pertaining to firearms.” Section 63-98-102, adopted in 2004, elaborates upon this policy. It provides, in part:
(4) All authority to regulate firearms is reserved to the state except where the Legislature specifically delegates responsibility to local authorities or state entities.
(5) Unless specifically authorized by the Legislature by statute, a local authority or state entity may not enact, establish, or enforce any ordinance, regulation, rule, or policy pertaining to firearms that in any way inhibits or restricts the possession or use of firearms on either public or private property.
Further, regarding persons who have a valid, Utah issued or recognized Concealed Firearm permit (http://bci.utah.gov/CFP/FIREARMS_LAWS_FOR_INSTRUCTORS.pdf), it is only unlawful for a person with a firearm permit to carry a concealed firearm in the following locations:
- Any secure area (as defined by State and Federal Law) in which firearms are prohibited and notice of the prohibition is posted.
- Any secure area of an airport.
- Any courthouse, courtroom, mental health facility or correctional facility that may provide by rule that no firearm may be transported, sold, given, or possessed upon the facility. At least one notice shall be prominently displayed at each entrance to a secure area in which a dangerous weapon, firearm, or explosive is restricted.
- Any house of worship that has notified BCI and is posted on the BCI website.
Since none of the above applies to a City Park, it is unlawful for the Syracuse City to impose such a prohibition.
Additionally, it is entirely inappropriate and reckless for a city to publish to everyone (including criminals) where and when a large number of unarmed, defenseless citizens will be. This only serves to invite tragedy at the hands of a criminal (need I remind you all that Trolly Square (which is privately owned) prohibits firearms and effectively disarmed their patrons, giving a criminal a defenseless killing ground).
I feel that Syracuse City should immediately publish a retraction of the illegal prohibition and deliver said retraction to the same persons who receive the Newsletter in which the original prohibition was publically circulated.
I await your response.
– Joe Levi