Wednesday, February 12, 2014

BB Gun Ordinance Full of Holes, Sez Resident

Josh Berk
Under Pennsylvania state law, no local municipality has any authority to ordinances that limit the right to own, transport or carry a firearm. But most local governments, including Hanover Township, have ordinances concerning the "discharge" of firearms. Hanover's discharge ordinance may originally extend back to the '70s, according to Township manager Jay Finnigan. For the last two years, even BB guns are included. But resident Scott Hess told Supervisors, at their February 11 meeting, that the local ordinance is too restrictive.

Hess told Supervisors that he should be able to teach his son how to shoot a BB gun while in his back yard. He also complained about the $1000 fine. "If I'm defending my home under the castle doctrine, could I be fined $1000?" he asked.

Hess also accused township officials of turning the municipal building into a fortress, complaining about bulletproof glass that separates Township staff from the public.

"Unfortunately, in today's society, there are lunatics out there," responded Manager Jay Finnigan. He reminded Hess that, this past Summer, a shooting rampage during a township meeting killed three people.

"You can't live in fear," responded Hess. He told them he'd give them some time to think the matter over.

Washington Township, located in Northampton County, is currently considering a limitation on the discharge of firearms in residential areas.

In other business, Supervisors refused to waive $1,152 in tax penalties and late fees for business privilege taxes owed by several Penncap properties. Spokesperson Lisa Pektor argued that she never received the notices from Berkheimer Associates. "It's a one-time deal," she promised. Though Chairman John Diacogiannis was willing to grant a waiver on a one-time basis, Supervisors Glenn Walbert, Jack Nagle and mark Tanczos disagreed. manager Jay Finnigan explained, after the meeting was over, that the Township has a policy against allowing these waivers.

Supervisors also learned that their salt shortage crisis may be coming to an end. Public Works Director Vince Milite reported that 125 tons were recently delivered. But his workforce has now been stricken by the flu, though he said they have continued to plow.

As a final matter, Bethlehem Area Public Library's new Executive Director, Josh Berk, introduced himself, thanking the Board for their support. In addition to lending books, Berks also writes them. His latest is "STRIKE THREE: YOU'RE DEAD", intended for young readers.

It can be borrowed at the library.


Anonymous said...

No more nanny state nonsense. A BB gun is harmless and I hope he fights it in court!

Anonymous said...

He needs to team up with The Mess in West Easton. Birds of a feather who don't think workers are entitled to a minimum of protection.

Anonymous said...

Ever walk into a municipal building nowaday? It has more glass and walls between the resident than many banks.

Anonymous said...

What business would seal off its employees from the customers it serves because of an incident that occurred at another business?

Even taking it a step further and keeping things within the same company, you still don't see that kind of response. If a shooting occurs at a McDonalds in NYC, does every other McDonalds in the country build a plexiglass partition to keep their employees "safe"?

Among organizations that serve the public, government seems to be the oddity. While I can understand reasonable security for certain functions (courts, police, etc), I have to wonder if maybe the pendulum hasn't swung too far (security-wise) for some of the more routine functions of government.

Anonymous said...

That's right Mr. Hess you cant live in fear. Or paranoia of the feds breakin down your door etc. etc.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"What business would seal off its employees from the customers it serves because of an incident that occurred at another business?"

I can think of numerous. Just about any bank. Just about any business that deals with cash or mentally unbalanced people. It is entirely appropriate for local governments to institute measures to protect their workforces from assholes who bully, threaten and intimidate.

Anonymous said...

Reeeeally...You can't shoot BBs?

What a bunch of momos.


Red Rider said...

You'll shoot you eye out, kid.

Anonymous said...

I suggest you read PA Title 18 section 6304. Sale and use of air rifles

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hess is the reason people live in fear. I'm a neighbor and he's a nut!

J. SPIKE ROGAN said...

Ross Township in Monroe County lacked safety glass. Nice to see people less than 30 minutes away have such short memories.

Anonymous said...

We would take BB guns out to the corn fields along Orchard Dr in the township and shoot them there. I'm a mad man!!


Anonymous said...

I took a BB gun walking around town when I was a kid, but you have to admit (and I'm assuming you are older than your 30's) times and the air guns have changed. The air rifle I had as a kid could barely punch through cardboard. The one I own today shoots a pointed pellet as fast as a .22 short.

Most kids then had respect for property and people. Much less today.

Though I don't believe the law should treat an air rifle as it does an assault rifle, they do need some type of lawful control placed on them.

Anonymous said...


I'm younger then you think!! But I agree with everything you have to say. We would shoot the small copper bbs at paper targets. If I had the more powerful version I would have had no issue using where we would go. Plenty of room, no homes, no people, and the road always at least 50 yards to our backs. It's a shame a lot of people lack common sense and respect for others.