Sunday, July 09, 2017

PA: State Law Allows Guns and Knives in Schools for Lawful Purposes

In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to possess a weapon on school grounds. There are broad exceptions. From 18 Pa.C.S. 912(c):
(c) Defense.--It shall be a defense that the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course or is possessed for other lawful purpose.
 The words are clear. The meaning is plain.  On 16 February, 2017, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania correctly decided to uphold the plain language of the law.  From Commonwealth v. Goslin (pdf):
We conclude that the language of Section 912(c), though broad, is unambiguous, and that Appellant possessed his pocketknife on school grounds for “other lawful purpose.” Therefore, we vacate Appellant’s Judgment of Sentence and order a new trial.4
The Superior Court decision was filed on 16 February, 2017. It did not take long for another law abiding citizen to be saved from the clutches of overzealous bureaucrats: From
Jordan was charged with a single count of possessing a weapon on school property. That charge was withdrawn Friday, however, due to new guidance from the Pennsylvania Superior Court in another case, Commonwealth v. Goslin.

That opinion, filed Feb. 26, stated that carpenter Andrew Goslin brought a work knife with him to a meeting at an elementary school. He was found guilty of possessing a weapon on school property during a bench trial, but appealed the verdict.

The statute provides that “it shall be a defense that the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course or is possessed for other lawful purpose,” according to the opinion.

Goslin argued on appeal that the trial court misread the statute to require that the “other lawful purpose” must be related to the reason that the possessor is on school property. The Superior Court agreed and vacated the conviction.
Jordan had a legally possessed pistol in his backpack.  He has a valid Pennsylvania concealed carry permit. 

The Superintendent of the school, Daniel G.l Nerelli is a typical waffling bureaucrat. He says he supports the Second Amendment... but ... In other words, he only supports the Second Amendment when he finds it convenient to do so. From
Whelan said he supports the Second Amendment, but does not agree with the law as written and would raise the issue with local legislators to see if it can be amended.
It is only recently that guns and knives have been considered "forbiden" in schools. They were fairly common in schools when I was growing up. The Federal government started to encourage schools to ban guns in 1990 and 1994. After those bans were put into effect, mass school shootings increased 440%.

Bans on guns and knives in schools do not increase school safety. They are emotionally driven, and have the intention of delegitimizing the exercise of the Second Amendment.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruling in Commonwealth v. Goslin is an appropriate and commonsense step away from eviscerating the rule of law.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

I'm not exactly sure by what you mean when you say knives banned in school is a "recent" phenomenon. Back when I was in Junior high (57-58) we would have unannounced searches in the gym. We had to put everything from our pockets on the floor in front of us and turn our front pockets inside out. Any knife found was impounded by the coach and thrown into the lake across the street from the school. This occurred 2-3 times each school year. I lost one knife and never carried a pocket knife again until my senior year of high school (different county, no searches there).


Dean Weingarten said...

When I went to high school, 65-69 everyone carried pocket knives. If you did not, you were considered weird.

State law against knives in schools history likely varies state to state.

Anonymous said...

OK, legally, the search was unconstitutional, next the taking of the knife was theft, guess what there is no statute of limitations on denial of constitutional rights. My grand father gave me an heirloom knife. I think I would have tired to cut that coaches nuts off in self defense to prevent the theft. when will people wake up to the fact that we do not have to take government over reach at any level from ass holes in school to ass holes in Congress. What does the law say? what is the first thing cops do when they stop you for a traffic stop? they start asking you questions. Constitutionally you don't have to answer any questions without an attorney present. any time a cop threatens you it is a criminal act. a proper traffic stop is ,Sir I stopped you for speeding. I require your driver license and insurance card to fill out the citation, sign here, here is your drivers license and insurance card, this is your copy of the citation, have a nice day. You are not required to say one word. any time someone takes your personal property with out your consent it is theft. cops have no right to keep personal legal property, your family has first claim. Personally I am damn disgusted with what the system gets away with. a case years ago the cops took a S&W 44 mag pistol from a person passing through the state during a traffic stop. the citation was thrown out. the cops kept the 800 dollar weapon. this was on a TV series. criminal theft of a fire arm by any one is a mandatory five years in prison under federal law. the problem is you can not get cops arrested for criminal acts of any kind. but there is a way to turn the tables on them legally, citizens arrest.

Anonymous said...

Can we agree that individual states are required to honor United States Supreme court rulings? if not why does it exist? you say laws very state to state. unconstitutional laws are void in all states. If you collect and combine the supreme court rulings. National reciprocity is the only thing that survives. there is no definition of what a weapon is and no authority for any one to create a definition. the court has ruled no state can turn a right into a privilege. the constitution commands no state can tax a person from another state. the court has ruled all of your rights travel with you. No person, no state can deny you your rights. constitutionally you can not be forced or required to pay more than 20 dollars for anything. 140$ for an instate permit 200 dollars for an out of state permit, when "0" dollars can be charged to any one to exercise a guaranteed right. Pocket knives included. No constitutional amendment ever outlawed packet knives. all unconstitutional laws are void.