Citation prevents gun ownership for Irwin man


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Citation prevents gun ownership for Irwin man
By Paul Peirce
Thursday, July 1, 2010

An Irwin man who paid a $100 fine in New York for possessing a billy club 14 years ago cannot possess a firearm in Pennsylvania, a state appellate court ruled Wednesday.

A three-judge Commonwealth Court panel ruled that Terry L. Freeman's payment of the minimal fine in 1986 in upstate New York for possession of a billy club is equivalent to a conviction in Pennsylvania of carrying a prohibited offensive weapon. Therefore, under Pennsylvania law, Freeman cannot carry or possess a firearm, the court said.

"We're definitely disappointed. The sad part is that if Terry lived in New York, he could own a weapon there because it doesn't result in a permanent prohibition in New York," said Freeman's attorney, J. Michael McCormick of Verona.

Freeman has no other criminal record.

McCormick explained that in 1986, Freeman was stopped by a patrolman in Rockland, N.Y., and was cited for possessing a billy club.

"It's a fourth-degree violation of that state's penal law, which would amount to a really low misdemeanor here. The sad part is that it wasn't even a billy club, but a pry bar that he had because he needed it when he worked on his car engine," McCormick said.

"Instead of driving back to New York for a hearing or whatever, he just paid the minimal fine and thought it was behind him," McCormick said.

But when Freeman went to a local sporting goods store in 2008 to purchase a firearm, he was rejected by the Pennsylvania Instant Check system overseen by state police. As a result of that denial, Freeman's license to carry a firearm was subsequently revoked by the Westmoreland County sheriff's office.

Yesterday's decision affirms opinions from an administrative law judge from state Attorney General Tom Corbett's office and Pennsylvania State Police.

Freeman could not be reached for comment yesterday.

In the most recent appeal, Freeman argued that a "billy" club is not specifically included in the state list of prohibited offensive weapons, such as knives and other firearms.

McCormick said New York court records of Freeman's case no longer contain any description of what he pleaded guilty to possessing or even made any reference to the item in question.

"The New York record thus leaves the Pennsylvania courts to guess at exactly what the device was that Freeman had that resulted in his being arrested, and the possible utility of that device," McCormick said.

Pennsylvania State Police argued via a brief in the appeal that "a billy is an implement for the infliction of serious bodily harm that serves no common lawful purpose ... ."

In a 10-page opinion written by Judge Robert Simpson and affirmed by Judge Dan Pellegrini and Senior Judge Rochelle S. Friedman, the court noted the term "billy" is not specifically delineated in the list of prohibited items in Pennsylvania.

However, the judges determined that under New York law "a billy is a stick used to beat somebody."

McCormick said he had not spoken with Freeman yesterday about an appeal. However, he said Freeman may have to first seek redress of the case in Sullivan County, N.Y.


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Just a little more proof that individual Constitutional Rights should trump states rights.

BTW, here's a link:
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For 20 years I rode around with several aluminum softball bats in my trunk. If used to attack someone, one of them would be more destructive than a billy club.

Once again, a law-abiding citizen is ensnared in idiotic laws.


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I was a muslim for several years. I regularly kept a stick in accordance with verse 4:34 of the Quran


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I regularly kept a stick in accordance with verse 4:34 of the Quran

Softball bats, sticks—let's admit it, nogods, we're ipso facto a couple of dangerous thugs, at least in the pea-sized minds of city officials. We better go turn ourselves in (or has the statute of limitations passed?).

Regardless, I now regularly keep a firearm in accordance with Amendment II of the United States Constitution.


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In Virtually Every State , Paying a fine is legally an admission of guilt, and can result in a conviction record.

If the crime carries a POSSIBLE sentence of a year or more
in Jail - You become a PROHIBITED PERSON under Federal LAW.

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As long as the conviction is on record


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