Centre County municipalities revising gun laws

Several Centre Region municipalities are taking steps to alter their parks and recreation ordinances regarding firearms after the passage of a new state law.

In the past, municipalities have passed their own ordinances regulating the possession and carrying of firearms in public places. Under the new law, “a person adversely affected by an ordinance, a resolution, regulation, rule, practice or any other action promulgated or enforced by a county, municipality or township prohibited (under the subsections) may seek declaratory or injunctive relief and actual damages in an appropriate court.”

About two dozen municipalities have agreed to change their ordinances rather than face legal action, according to an Associated Press story published Monday.

Among these municipalities is College Township, which will hold a public hearing in February regarding its own parks and recreation ordinance.

The ordinance states that “it is unlawful for any person to carry onto or possess on any park or other public land designated by College Township as recreational a shotgun or rifle or pistol or firearm of any make or kind” outside of authorized wildlife control.

Township management analyst John Franek Jr. said the township was made aware of the ordinance discrepancy by Ferguson Township.

Ferguson will hold a public hearing regarding its rules and regulations concerning weapons in parks on Monday.

Patton Township Manager Doug Erickson said Patton has the same issue as College Township and needs to delete one sentence prohibiting the carrying of firearms.

“We’ll be taking action in the next 30 days,” he said, “probably at the February 11 Board of Supervisors meeting.”

Halfmoon Township must also change its ordinance because it’s not permitted under state law anymore, solicitor Kathleen Yurchak said at a township meeting Thursday.

The Board of Supervisors deferred a motion to hold a public hearing until solicitor and staff recommendations are collected and an ordinance can be drafted.

Harris Township ordinances contain no language regarding firearms and therefore have no need to address the issue, according to a township representative.