Seven members of the Libertarian Party turned up for the Stewartstown Borough Council meeting Monday night to voice their protest over the borough's prohibition of firearms in the borough building.
A lettered-on sign on the glass window by the front door reads: "No Firearms are permitted inside this building except by Law Enforcement Officials."
The sign has been in place for "couple of years," according to council president Gordon Wisnom Sr.
"We put it up because we had some contentious issues a while back," he said.
The sign went unnoticed and unremarked on until last month.
Evan Mentzell, secretary of the York County Libertarian Party, said he attended a meeting last month and an officer told him 'You can't have that in here.'"
He said the officer told him there was a sign expressly prohibiting guns, but when the officer and Mentzell went looking for it, they couldn't find it. The borough erected a new sign shortly thereafter.
Mentzell read the state's uniform firearms act in his presentation to the council.
"So, actually, those signs are illegal. We just fought this in York City," he said. "I would suggest you make a motion to dissolve (the ordinance), and take the signs down."
The council agreed to refer the matter to its solicitor, Craig Sharnetzka of CGA Law Firm.
"This is the first we're hearing about this. You blindsided us with this," Wisnom said.
Sharnetzka said he would research the issue and present his findings and opinions to council at the 7 p.
Law professor offers his opinion
One legal expert's interpretation of the statute comes down on the side of the Libertarian Party.
"It depends on what else is in the building. If there is no court facility, then the gun owners might have a pretty decent case," Michael R. Dimino Sr., associate professor of law at Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg, said.
"Localities cannot regulate the possession of firearms if the possession is otherwise lawful under state law. I have found state law that prohibits it in or near a court or in or near a school, but not a government building," he said.