New Hampshire activist Bradley Jardis is planning an act of civil disobedience at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, New Hampshire. The event is planned for 9am on Friday, 9-Dec, and is a protest of the University's ban on weapons on campus. Jardis issued a press release that states the appropriate New Hampshire law, and shows how Plymouth State University officials blatantly violated New Hampshire State statues with their ban on weapons.
Jardis is planning an event on the campus on Friday, 9-Dec-2012, where he and a friend will be carrying rifles on campus in violation of the rule and talking to students about the law and how their school is breaking it.
It's all in the press release:
RE: Scheduled distribution of information at PSU on 12/09/11.
My name is Bradley Jardis and I am a life-long resident of New Hampshire. I presently reside in Dover and am self-employed.
For approximately eleven years of my life I served in New Hampshire as a police officer. I am a graduate of both the 121st full-time and 211th part-time police academy. In my lifetime I have never been convicted of a criminal or traffic offense.
I am writing to inform you of my intended presence at Plymouth State University on 12/09/11. The purpose of my presence is to interact with members of the PSU community and inform them of an illegally instituted regulation which violates NH RSA 159:26, New Hampshire’s firearm and knife preemption law.
The law reads:
159:26 Firearms, Ammunition, and Knives; Authority of the State. –
I. To the extent consistent with federal law, the state of New Hampshire shall have authority and jurisdiction over the sale, purchase, ownership, use, possession, transportation, licensing, permitting, taxation, or other matter pertaining to firearms, firearms components, ammunition, firearms supplies, or knives in the state. Except as otherwise specifically provided by statute, no ordinance or regulation of a political subdivision may regulate the sale, purchase, ownership, use, possession, transportation, licensing, permitting, taxation, or other matter pertaining to firearms, firearms components, ammunition, or firearms supplies in the state. Nothing in this section shall be construed as affecting a political subdivision’s right to adopt zoning ordinances for the purpose of regulating firearms or knives businesses in the same manner as other businesses or to take any action allowed under RSA 207:59.
II. Upon the effective date of this section, all municipal ordinances and regulations not authorized under paragraph I relative to the sale, purchase, ownership, use, possession, transportation, licensing, permitting, taxation, or other matter pertaining to firearms, firearm components, ammunition, firearms supplies, or knives shall be null and void.
As you’ll note, the law forbids a “political subdivision” from adopting a “regulation” that prohibit the possession of firearms, firearms components, ammunition, firearms supplies, or knives unless such control is authorized by the NH General Court. This law was enacted in 2003 and originally only included firearms, ammunition, and firearm components. On 06/09/11 Governor John Lynch signed HB554 which modified the law to preempt any restrictions on knife possession. HB554 became effective on 08/06/11.
According to state law, the University System of New Hampshire to which Plymouth State University is a member, is a political subdivision. It’s establishment as a “body politic and corporate” is codified in RSA 187-A:1:
187-A:1 The University System of New Hampshire. – The university system of New Hampshire is established and made a body politic and corporate, the main purpose of which shall be to provide a well coordinated system of public higher education offering liberal undergraduate education encompassing the major branches of learning, emphasizing our cultural heritage, and cultivating the skills of reasoning and communication. The university system shall provide for professional and technical 2-year, 4-year and graduate programs which serve the needs of the state and the nation; for research which contributes to the welfare of mankind, to the development of the faculty, and to the educational experience of students; and for its faculty and staff to bring educational resources and professional experience to the benefit of the state and its people. The university system of New Hampshire is authorized to grant and confer in the name of the university system of New Hampshire all such degrees, literary titles, honors and distinctions as other universities may of right do.
Plymouth State University’s individual establishment as a “body politic and corporate” is codified in RSA 187-A:11:
187-A:11 Keene State College, Plymouth State University, and Granite State College. –
II. Plymouth state university is established and made a body corporate and politic and a division of the university system of New Hampshire.
The USNH and PSU’s status as a political subdivision combined with RSA 159:26 renders the Plymouth State University weapon control regulation unenforceable insofar as it pertains to firearms, firearm components, firearm supplies, knives, and ammunition. The regulation I am referring to (obtained from your internet website) is as follows:
Weapons, Firearms, and Explosives
This policy pertains to items that would generally be considered dangerous on a university campus and/or illegal such as but not limited to: Firearms; guns (pellet, air, paint ball, tranquilizer, stun, spear, dart); slingshots; switchblades; knives with a blade longer than 4 inches; combat and martial art type weapons (metal knuckles, throwing stars, clubs, metal swords); bows; arrows; explosive devices or substances (grenades, bombs, fireworks, ammunition).
The possession of any item referenced above is not allowed on campus property except with the expressed permission of the Chief of University Police.
Use of any item referenced above is not permitted on campus property.
Transfer or sale of any of the items referenced above is not permitted on campus property.
If a replica/toy version of any weapon will be used for an on-campus class presentation, project, or activity, the faculty/staff member overseeing the event and University Police must be alerted prior to the event occurring.
Authorized items may be stored in the University Police Office.
Exceptions to this policy include pocket knives, general tools, utensils, or items not designed as weapons unless the object is used in a way that would be considered dangerous.
A recent example of the illegality of similar regulations can be found in an Oregon Court of Appeals opinion that was issued on 09/28/11. The Court found that public university regulations banning the possession of firearms, similar to those of the University System of New Hampshire, were completely nullified by the Oregon’s firearm preemption law. This case is Oregon Firearms Educational Foundation v. Board of Higher Education and Oregon University System (A142974).
When I am present at your campus I will be accompanied by an associate, Tommy Mozingo. Tommy served in the United States Army from 2002 to 2006 and was discharged honorably. Following his service in the Army he worked for four years as an employee of General Dynamics at both Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Miesau Germany. Tommy has never been convicted of a criminal offense and, like me, has extensive training in firearms use, retention, and safety.
Tommy and I will be walking in areas open to the general public, holding signs, and handing out reading material which details to students and visitors that the Plymouth State University has no legal authority to regulate the possession of knives, firearms, and ammunition. We will be dressed professionally and will both be carrying an unconcealed, loaded, and slung rifle. Possession of the firearm is intended as being symbolic of the statement we are attempting to make. We present absolutely no threat to the safety of the public or any government official.
During our time present we will additionally be distributing information regarding how students and visitors can attend a free firearm safety and education class that an associate of ours will be conducting at or near the PSU campus in January of next year.
Should Tommy or I be ordered to leave the property by law enforcement authorities we will respond in the following manner:
1) We will inquire with whatever authority is demanding our departure precisely what we have done to justify removal from areas open to the public.
2) Should we not be given a response, we will presume the reason we are being told to leave is because we are in violation of illegal firearm regulations. We will remain in defiance of an order for us to leave as this will not constitute a “lawful order” under New Hampshire’s law. Simply put, no order can be lawful when it is issued pursuant to an illegal regulation.
3) Should we be told that we are being ordered to leave for being in violation of PSU’s illegal firearm regulation, we will remain in defiance of an issued order for us to leave for the reasons detailed in #2 above.
4) Should we be told we are under arrest for our refusal to follow an illegal order, we will comply respectfully with the arrest order notwithstanding our disagreement with its legality. We will completely comply with RSA 594:5 and RSA 642:2 and cooperate fully with law enforcement.
Although we understand we may have differing opinions regarding the suitability of people arming themselves for self-defensive purposes in an educational setting, we find the contempt the University System of New Hampshire and Plymouth State University has for New Hampshire law to be inexcusable. Under the current illegal regulations, a law abiding parent of a PSU student is misled to believe that they may not carry an otherwise legal firearm on campus. I believe it is also worthwhile to note that last month the NH General Court significantly strengthened the law which allows the use of a firearm in self-defense over Governor Lynch’s veto. To deny this recently enhanced legal right to individuals based on illegal regulations is absurd.
Our goals with this outreach event are as follows:
1) To call public attention to the preempted regulations with which PSU improperly threatens students and visitors.
2) To encourage your students and visitors to attend a free firearm safety class.
3) To encourage students and visitors to be aware of their legal and natural right to defend themselves from violent attack.
4) To use any criminal enforcement action taken against us as standing to bring this issue to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. We are ready, willing, and able to litigate this issue to the maximum extent of the law.
5) To encourage the University System of New Hampshire, a political subdivision which is subordinate to state control, to respect the authority of the NH General Court.
Rep. J.R. Hoell of Dunbarton stated recently in the Concord Monitor: “as long as UNH receives taxpayer money, they are a subdivision of the state and they are completely disregarding the law(.)” We completely agree with Representative Hoell and intend on making the public aware of the USNH/PSU firearm and knife regulation which is in direct contravention of public policy.
Although we are prepared to be arrested to contest this illegal infringement of self-defense rights, we would respectfully ask that you not take illegal enforcement action against us.