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Park firearm restrictions - round two!

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Thoreau
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Park firearm restrictions - round two!

Post by Thoreau » Mar 07 2011 3:43 pm

Update: Revived this ~4 year old thread after finding that the city of phoenix is back to their ineptitude. New info here.

This is a personal peeve of mine, so apologies to those who couldn't care less about the subject, but...

For those who are unaware, last year the State of Arizona passed legislation that prevents cities, counties, etc. from prohibiting of restricting firearms in parks. This means everything from county parks like the Cave Creek Regional Park (Maricopa), to city parks like the Reach 11 Recreation Area (City of Phoenix) to state parks like Tonto Natural Bridge.

Before the new laws, there were loopholes that applies to parks smaller than one square mile in size, and only then to 'improved' areas (like ramadas, for example.) Using Reach 11 as the example (since I use it frequently due to how close it is to my home (shared property line, woohoo!) let's just say that the above loophole NEVER applied to it as it is over 2.3 square miles in size.

Long of short, the City of Phoenix has so far refused to fix their signs (which were illegal when they were put up YEARS ago, and made even more illegal (is that possible?) last year). I've fired off the following email to the City of Phoenix on the matter and hope that those who don't like their governments to ignore the law might do the same.

Two of the three images that I included in the email are as below. The first is the sign under the SR51 overpass portion of the park taken in October of last year:
http://xanthotech.com/gallery/d/7313-2/reach112.jpg

The 2nd is the same spot as of yesterday showing an even MORE restrictive sign:
http://xanthotech.com/gallery/d/7578-2/ ... 1-SR51.jpg

And now for the letter which I sent to receptionist.pks@phoenix.gov, james.burke@phoenix.gov, ken.vonderscher@phoenix.gov, karen.williams@phoenix.gov, rob.harman@phoenix.gov, and inger.erickson@phoenix.gov.
Good Afternoon,

I believe I and the rest of Phoenix have been rather patient on this matter. This is obviously not something that has been taken seriously by the city, however.

First and foremost, the most recent law changes prohibit ALL parks from being able to restrict firearm possession. This ruling has been largely ignored by the city of Phoenix. Secondly, the signs as they previously stood (and most still do) were NOT LEGAL EVEN WHEN THEY WERE ORIGINALLY ERECTED. The 'loophole' that the parks system attempted to exploit was in regards to parks smaller than one square mile, and even then the law only allowed limitations to apply to 'improved' areas. That said, at no point in time has it been legal for firearms to be restricted in the Reach 11 Recreation Area.

That said, I find it odd that as time goes on, not only are proper signs still not being put in place (all it takes is a sticker to cover the existing lines) but the signs are now taking the restrictions to new levels.

The sign located within Reach 11 and underneath the SR-51 overpasses is a blatant violation of the law by the city of Phoenix.

I have attached a few photographs to illustrate.

The first photo is a picture I took of the sign located under the SR51 overpass portion of the park back on 10/04/2010. This sign showed the 'standard' (illegal) restriction of firearms to those who have a valid CCW permit. (Reach11-10042010-SR51.jpg)

The second is a photo I took yesterday of the same sign in the same location (03/06/2011.) This sign has actually TIGHTENED the restrictions to outright ban ALL firearms. (Reach11-03062011-SR51.jpg)

I managed to take photos of the Tatum Blvd. entrance, Horse Park entrance, SR51 area, and Cave Creek entrance and all four of them, save for the SR51 sign, still maintain illegal restrictions and infringement upon the rights of park-goers.

This is not acceptable. Following the law is not an option for the citizens of this City, State, or Country. Following the same laws is not any more optional for a government agency than it is for the citizenry. Obviously your department is well-versed when it comes to applying stickers over portions of the sign to update them as is evidenced by the third attached file, Reach11-03062011-HorsePark.jpg. Additionally, it is blatantly obvious that the area under the SR51 overpass is NOT well policed or safe by any modern standards when you take even a quick look at the graffiti that plagues not only the entire area down there, but the sign itself.

Again, I will reiterate that this is not something which you have only had since last year's legal changes to resolve. AT NO TIME HAVE THESE SIGNS BEEN LEGAL IN THE CASE OF THE REACH 11 RECREATION AREA which is OVER ONE (1) SQUARE MILE IN SIZE AND CONTAINS NO "IMPROVED AREAS." These signs are, and always have been ILLEGAL.

Please let me know what your department and the city intend to do to remedy this situation expeditiously.

Best Regards,
On that note, has anyone else noticed parks which still attempt to restrict firearms in spite of the law? I had been watching the McDowell Sonoran Preserve for this issue for a while as well but haven't been back lately to see if anything has changed.
Last edited by Thoreau on Jan 06 2015 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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chumley
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Re: Park firearm restrictions

Post by chumley » Mar 07 2011 4:20 pm

Tempe actually updated their signs a few years ago due to legal challenges even before the law was changed. Their signs now say something to the effect of "Prohibited: Alcohol consumption, amplified music, dangerous acts (such as discharging firearms, archery), golfing, overnight camping, etc."

I just looked up their website and it still has the old verbiage. I walk Kai in the park by my house every day and I am absolutely certain that the signs there now refer to "dangerous acts (such as discharging firearms)" and am similarly certain that the older wording simply prohibited "firearms".

From the tempe.gov:
Park Regulations
Park Hours: 6 AM to 10 PM (Unless otherwise posted.)
Permits are required for: Amplified Sound, Beer Consumption, Boating, & Fishing

The following are prohibited in Tempe parks:

Motor Vehicles
Abuse of Facilities
Disruptive Behavior
Alcohol (except beer by permit)
Glass Containers
Golfing
Skateboards/Rollerskates
Firearms
Archery
Ice-blocking
Swimming, diving, wading
Pets are welcome but must be leashed and cleaned up after.
I'm not a fan of arguing with a cop who wants to cite me, and I'd rather not have to pay legal fees to defend myself, but you know that the signs are wrong. Something you fail to mention in the letter above which you should have memorized is the exact law that prohibits it. You could always ask politely how SB#### or HB#### affects the city ordinance.
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Re: Park firearm restrictions

Post by Tough_Boots » Mar 07 2011 4:21 pm

Firearms aren't really my issue, but you could just ignore the signs and if someone from law enforcement messes with you-- get it dropped in court plus get instant backing from the firearms community to change these signs. You might get quicker public backing to change the signs if you start wandering around the parks with a shotgun (if anyone asks-- you did NOT get that idea from me :lol: ).
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chumley
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Re: Park firearm restrictions

Post by chumley » Mar 07 2011 4:24 pm

On a totally unrelated "Classic Moments in HAZ Forum History" ... I notice that Tempe Parks do not prohibit nudity. :-k
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Thoreau
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Re: Park firearm restrictions

Post by Thoreau » Mar 07 2011 4:26 pm

Lol, don't tempt me =) Ah who am I kidding, I don't own a shotgun (yet!) I could DEFINITELY get a lot of attention if I hiked in these parks with what I wear out in the less-friendly parts of the state though...

Nah, as much as I like the shock factor stuff, I'm too tame for that. A nice open-carry group hike would be more than sufficient in my eyes though. Toss in a little picnic action at the end near a busy trailhead, and you've got a recipe for visibility!

It is funny ya mention that though. The thing that really got me active in this department was that kid a year or two ago who had a SWAT team descend upon him while he was hiking in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. He WAS wearing all camo, and carrying an AR-style airsoft toy though. His intention wasn't to make political waves as he was simply trying to practice for ROTC/Military enrollment (18 year old kid was getting ready to enlist.) You're right though, it does get attention =)

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Re: Park firearm restrictions

Post by Tough_Boots » Mar 07 2011 4:34 pm

Thoreau wrote:if I hiked in these parks with what I wear out in the less-friendly parts of the state though...
I bet-- when we were in the Thicket/Cornucopia area, between what you had on your belt and the radio equipment strapped to your vest-- I thought I was hiking with Robocop! :sl:
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Re: Park firearm restrictions

Post by PLC92084 » Mar 07 2011 5:10 pm

@Tough_Boots

...but one can never have too much "gear" :gun:

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Thoreau
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Re: Park firearm restrictions

Post by Thoreau » Mar 07 2011 6:18 pm

Wow, that was fast for a response from them...

From rob.harman@phoenix.gov:
the Reach 11 Recreation area is Federal Property under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior. We will be working with them and hope to have new signs in place shortly. I am sorry it has taken us so long to get the new signs up at the Reach 11.

Thanks
If you have any questions, please let me know.
Rob Harman
I call BS on that, since everything points to it being city owned/operated. Even then, firearms have been allowed on DOI/BLM land unrestricted for all eternity as well...

I suppose anything is possible, even if it doesn't explain or justify their breaking the law.

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Re: Park firearm restrictions

Post by Jeffshadows » Mar 09 2011 10:43 am

Everyone's so broke, they can't even afford to look at the signs let alone fix them...
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Thoreau
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Re: Park firearm restrictions

Post by Thoreau » Mar 09 2011 10:46 am

Doh, forgot to post the more recent updates here...

After some not-so-nice wording on my own part (frustration got the better of me) the following message came back yesterday from Rob Harman:
Reach 11 is Federal Property managed for recreation purposes by the City of Phoenix. We simply needed to have the new language approved by the Office of the Solicitor General, which was done yesterday. I anticipate the new language will be up by the end of the week.

thank you for your patience.

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Thoreau
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Re: Park firearm restrictions

Post by Thoreau » Mar 09 2011 10:49 am

jeffmacewen wrote:Everyone's so broke, they can't even afford to look at the signs let alone fix them...
Considering what Phoenix spent recently to ship our ****head mayor overseas, I say the money is there. It's just being misappropriated all too frequently =)

Moreover, as soon as it is okay for me to use lack of cash as an excuse to break the law (sorry officer, I can't afford car insurance. I'll get around to it though, really!) THEN maybe the government can have the same free pass.

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Re: Park firearm restrictions

Post by ladmo » Apr 14 2011 4:23 pm

I had not been to the Reach 11 for over a month but went last Tuesday. I noticed the firearms part was whited out on the sign at the Tatum entrance. I always wondered if that sign was up to date or not. I used to hike that section a lot around sunset and have seen a few people that looked suspect at best. I might start carrying now, piece of mind is a nice thing.

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Thoreau
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Re: Park firearm restrictions

Post by Thoreau » Apr 14 2011 4:37 pm

Thanks for the thread bump.. I had forgotten to follow up much on this one...

Yeah, the Tatum sign was just updated in the last week or so. Prior to that the sign underneath the 51 was also updated, and even the one up at Deer Valley at the end of the park farthest NW.

I saw one sign that was a retarded screw up on the part of whoever was playing sticker duty that day located on the NW corner of the main sports complex. It's like the person cut the sticker in half horizontally and half covered the firearms part, and half covered some other rule. *shrug*

I haven't checked the rest of the signs in the sports complex portion though, or any signs that might exist at the top of the SR51 area. The sign on the Horse Park entrance portion is still outdated though.

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Re: Park firearm restrictions

Post by BobP » Apr 14 2011 4:41 pm

ladmo wrote:I used to hike that section a lot around sunset and have seen a few people that looked suspect at best
I run in that area a lot....a week or so ago I pulled next to a white van. About a minute later, a black truck pulls up with flashing lights. Two guys with bulletproof vests jump out and shine lights into the van. They walk around and then nod to me and then tear off. Should I run or leave??? I go for my run and when I get back there's a talkative guy at the TH. I was stretching and he asked me some questions...I told him what happened and he said its some private security company making themselves seen. He said some guy got a grant to reopen the horse area and now this security company is patrolling. It was just a wierd situation.
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Thoreau
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Re: Park firearm restrictions

Post by Thoreau » Apr 15 2011 6:13 am

Would love to know what a *private* security company is doing on *city* property looking inside *citizens* vehicles...

Alas, no such sighting on my ride yesterday =( *crosses fingers for the future!* :y:

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Thoreau
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Re: Park firearm restrictions

Post by Thoreau » Apr 18 2011 7:00 pm

Meanwhile at Shaw Butte, Phoenix Parks & Rec, who blamed the US DOI on the delays in getting signs legalized for Reach 11 slacks on another park that has no apparentl DOI connection...

http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=188957

And it appears as though they have an issue with shopping carts?

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Re: Park firearm restrictions

Post by Thoreau » Jan 05 2015 11:04 pm

Now seems like as good a time as any to revive this antique thread.

The city has known now for quite some time that they can't prohibit firearms, and the actions taken on some of the above signs are evidence of that. Having been kinda out of the hiking loop in any meaningful way for a while the topic kinda went by the wayside for me, and the few times I've hiked since then I hadn't noticed any new violations.

Fast forward to this past Sunday, and it seems that the ineptitude is alive and well in the city parks/rec department. The Camelback Echo Canyon trailhead signage outright forbids firearms. Odd since that is all new from the recent remodel.

Long story short (or longer...) I felt inclined to fire off (no pun intended) the below email to the city to see where this goes...
Good evening,
I am writing in regards to the recently renovated trailhead for Camelback mountain, Echo Canyon trail.

The signage at the beginning of the trail indicates that firearms are prohibited.

Given that the signs are new as part of the remodel, I am confused as to why such a prohibition exists. State law has been solid on this subject for a number of years and specifically prohibits a city from attempting to enact such restrictions. All of the statutes that previously allowed for parks to restrict firearms were stricken years ago (and before then would've still contained exemptions for CCW permit holders.)

Relevant statutes:
http://www.azleg.state.az.us/ars/13/03108.htm

In the past, I have had correspondence with your department on this matter at other park locations (Reach 11 being one) and it was acknowledged that the prohibitions were no longer valid, and work was in process to amend the park signage appropriately. Those changes were indeed made, albeit slowly, in order to come into full legal compliance.

As a taxpayer and resident of the City of Phoenix, I would like to know how this invalid restriction made it onto signs at a newly renovated trailhead, and further would be interested in when it may be corrected in this instance.

Best Regards,
Those guys at the parks and rec department must loooooove me =)

They sure had fistfuls of cash handy to put trail signs up every 0.01 miles in some areas (and I thought the dots on Flatiron were annoying) so I'm anxious to see what their excuse is this time.

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Re: Park firearm restrictions

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 06 2015 6:31 am

Thoreau wrote:Meanwhile at Shaw Butte, Phoenix Parks & Rec, who blamed the US DOI on the delays in getting signs legalized for Reach 11 slacks on another park that has no apparentl DOI connection...

http://hikearizona.com/photo=188957

And it appears as though they have an issue with shopping carts?
That's double-speak saying that they don't want the homeless going in there to camp. Instead of following Utah's lead in dealing with the homeless, California and Arizona continue to forge on with measures that have never succeeded in the past, and will continue to be unsuccessful.
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Re: Park firearm restrictions - round two!

Post by Alston_Neal » Jan 07 2015 10:47 am

This would be us over here on HAZ...
Funny enough, the hippies usually aren't too rabidly anti-gun over there.
So all you hippies here raise your hand and give a wave.... :y:
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Re: Park firearm restrictions - round two!

Post by SpiderLegs » Jan 07 2015 2:39 pm

As a quick aside to this thread. Used to work for a guy in college who grew up in Phoenix back in the 50's. Last time I went to see him a few months ago he was asking me what part of town I was living in. Told him around Shaw Butte. He told me that he used to live down the street off of 7th Avenue. When he was a kid, Phoenix ended around Hatcher and it was all desert north of Hatcher. One of the things that he and his buddies used to do would be to ride down 7th Avenue with .22's strapped to their backs and a bedroll tied to the back of their bikes. Would go camping and hunting around Shaw Butte & North Mountain. Can anyone imagine the uproar now if people saw 10 year old kids riding down the street with rifles.

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