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PAX Security Mini-FAQ and Weapons Policy

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Posts

  • SeatownstrikerSeatownstriker Registered User
    I'd just like to say I didn't feel the weapons policy was fully enforced. I saw someone dressed up as the sniper from TF2. With a bow that had a bowstring (which could launch a projectile) and arrows in a quiver. If its my understanding anything that could shoot a projectile was not allowed, Even if deactivated. And the many wood swords I saw that could bludgeon someone to a bloody pulp. Why were these allowed?

  • TangoTango Registered User
    The bow in question, which I saw, was not capable of firing; it could not stretch and the string was very weak/loose. We okayed many people with light plywood swords. The bokken from Geek Chic are known and are just about on the okay side of 'the line', although some of their other stuff needed to be taken directly to a hotel room or etc if bought. We do see a lot of stuff and, although Enforcers can't always check every single one of the thousands of prop weapons, we do see most of them. Thanks to everyone who made sure their stuff was okay for PAX, we really appreciate it!

  • YamisukoruYamisukoru Registered User
    Hi Tango, I had fun at PAX and want to say that the Enforcers are doing a great job, and much improved from last year :D I would also like to add a suggestion for next year if you guys can and have the force power for it. Why not have a booth somewhere close to the entrance to be a Peace Bonding Prop table where a dedicated group of enforce would examine the weapon prop to make sure it's safe and not real looking then wrap a special colored ribbon or something on the prop for a "Safety Pass". it would save the cosplayers lots of time from just being stopped while in the PAX convention and be asked to take it back to the hotel or car because it is not safe.

    thanks! can't wait for next year!

    PS: I was the one in the Robocop suit lol

  • phoenix182phoenix182 Registered User
    edited August 2011
    I'd like to offer a bit of professional commentary on this, since I see that people are trying to extrapolate legal issues from private cosplay policy. Cosplay is just a policy thing, and whatever PAX chooses for rules on that is probably all good and well. The problem is when they start trying to cover actual real weapons being carried lawfully.

    When I first attended PAX a few years ago I wanted to make certain that lawful concealed carry would not be an issue since the current Mayor of Seattle (Mr. Nickels) was a stark raving lunatic on the subject. I therefore contacted all of the state experts on the subject (myself, Dave Workman via his excellent book on the subject, Alan Gpttlieb via his 2nd Amendment Foundation, and the Attorney General Mr. McKenna). All agreed that there could be no statutory restrictions placed upon carry at the Convention Center, nor any associated venues. Of course, as always, any private property holder can have their own policies, but they cannot result in legal implications beyond asking the violator to leave (which, in the case of civil rights issues such as this, open them up to immediate legal recourse if they don't offer refunds due to unclear or abusive policies, to say nothing of the impact of negative publicity campaigns). There is also a significant issue with ANY facility that was even partially funded, maintained, or operated with public monies. In short, ANY such facility gains public protections on Constitutional protections REGARDLESS of private party policies on the premises. In other words, since the Convention Center has taken public money no private use of said facility can restrict guaranteed Constitutional or statutory rights through policy exemptions. To do so means an automatic loss in court as seen in numerous cases nationwide with equivalent policies. Yes, there are places (even in this state) that do attempt such exemptions, but if anyone ever sues over it victory is almost guaranteed for them.

    I went ahead and contacted Convention Center security to confirm this but was told contrary information. Namely, that carry was NOT allowed. I escalated the matter to the head of security as well as Center administration. I also posted applicable communications held with the AG and from other sources. It was quickly resolved and I was informed that my assessment was in fact the correct one. I have been carrying ever since, and will continue to do so.

    I can understand much of the confusion over the issue, because there is so much involved. I will try and break it down for you all.

    Open Carry, while legal, is contentious. Especially in Washington. However, when one is open carrying AND possess a valid permit, they gain much of the protections and exemptions of concealed carry, even though it isn't concealed at the time. This is what we see in the above mentioned RCW 9.41.300 where it notes persons possessing a permit are exempted. What is missed by that citation is RCW 9.41.290, the Pre-Emption statute (which I did the first serious academic treatment of btw). Under pre-emption the entire state is bound to accept state laws and regulation concerning firearms UNLESS it is a matter of lesser restrictions, or the few exemptions mentioned in RCW 9.41.300. So in other words, the ONLY way any governing body other than the full Congress can enact a firearm policy is if it is less restrictive than the general one, or one of the specific issues noted (discharge, business, or sales). If someone does not have a valid concealed permit and chooses to carry openly, they are still not really breaking any laws, though they lose the exemption regarding lesser municipalities and statutory restrictions. However, there have been numerous instances of police issuing blanket citations (such as RCW 9A.84.030 Disorderly Conduct). Now, in truth that isn't allowed, as it would bypass guaranteed protections. Unfortunately it's such a hot issue that there's been no SCOTUS ruling directly addressing it in context so far.

    Concealed Carry, when done lawfully, is legal and pretty much decided, as former Mayor Nickels found out when he tried to do an end-around recently. Basically, just don't test us on our right to carry or you will lose, and it will cost you a DEAR amount of money in the process.

    Private parties, groups, organizations, property holders, etc may enact any policies they choose, but they must still abide local, state, and federal law while doing so. Hence you can't put up signs that refuse service to African-Americans or similar, nor can you invoke actual legal reprisals against someone for free speech or other guaranteed rights. A private party CAN choose to trespass people who violate a policy which is not a protected status under most circumstances. However, they lose that right when they choose to occupy a public place (and in this place the Convention Center, having taken public monies, is so defined). Therefore if PAX wishes to place an ACTUAL ban on lawful concealed carry they CANNOT occupy any property which does or has received public money (unless that property has been FULLY purchased and relisted as a wholly private enterprise and no longer receives public assistance or benefits such as tax status).

    I'm not trying to violate Wheaton's Law, but that's the bottom line of it, and I've been doing this professionally and academically for a long time so I'm pretty knowledgeable on the subject. Many, many, MANY people were carrying legally and responsibly at PAX this year, just like every other year, and they always will (I personally know of nearly three dozen). There is nothing that can legally be done to prevent it, and any overt attempts to WILL result in legal challenges all the way to SCOTUS. We have the backing of about a dozen nationally funded organizations to foot our end of the bill. What does PAX have? Do you really want it to go there? Just live and let live folks. If you hate firearms that much there are 109 nations that ban their possession by private citizens, feel free to head over to one of them.

    Please note that this was all directed at the posters and readers discussing tangents to the actual discussion (which was cosplay weaponry) and NOT to the PAX staff themselves who have always been cool about this issue.

    phoenix182 on
  • cyntheticcynthetic Registered User regular
    Yes, the best way to respond to "tangents to the actual discussion" is always more tangents to the actual discussion.

    I'm very glad to see the weapon rules/guidelines be made official. Cosplay weapons are awesome, but public safety (and being able to feel safe) is also awesome. I think that people will still be able to find ways to cosplay well, without making people wonder if their sword/gun/bow/etc is real and/or dangerous.

    Though I'd love to give it, my opinion on gun laws and their applicability here, is irrelevant.

  • phoenix182phoenix182 Registered User
    cynthetic wrote:
    Yes, the best way to respond to "tangents to the actual discussion" is always more tangents to the actual discussion.

    While I agree in general with that statement, I believe it is trumped by 'the best way to fight ignorance is with accurate information'. It does no good to leave falsehood in the public sphere, and keep knowledge in private conversation. If anything, it needs to be the opposite.

    I was careful to keep opinion out of the piece and use it only as a vessel of factual, verifiable information in order to refute previous posts, or educate on the general topic to avoid future misunderstandings or misrepresentations.

  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    If you wish to refute with actual information then its quite simple.

    As a private party they have the ability to restrict on any non-protected grounds they wish. Gun ownership is not a protected class. If you attempt to enter with a firearm they can ask you to leave.

    If you do not leave then you're trespassing, which is a crime, and they can call the police and arrest you for it. This is not complicated, it does not require looking at what the city can and cannot do, it barely even requires looking at gun laws. If security asks you to leave and you do not (and they don't have a bad reason for asking you to leave) then you have to leave. And if you don't, you're breaking the law.

    If you attempt to bring weapons to PAX you will likely be turned away, if you persist, they can bring in the force of law to prevent you from entering. If you persist more you may be arrested for trespassing.

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  • phoenix182phoenix182 Registered User
    Goumindong wrote:
    If you wish to refute with actual information then its quite simple.

    As a private party they have the ability to restrict on any non-protected grounds they wish. Gun ownership is not a protected class. If you attempt to enter with a firearm they can ask you to leave.

    If you do not leave then you're trespassing, which is a crime, and they can call the police and arrest you for it. This is not complicated, it does not require looking at what the city can and cannot do, it barely even requires looking at gun laws. If security asks you to leave and you do not (and they don't have a bad reason for asking you to leave) then you have to leave. And if you don't, you're breaking the law.

    If you attempt to bring weapons to PAX you will likely be turned away, if you persist, they can bring in the force of law to prevent you from entering. If you persist more you may be arrested for trespassing.

    Nice in theory, but incorrect on several points as I explained in my post above.

    1. The Convention Center is quasi-protected ground in that it is classified as a public place (having utilized public monies). The 2008 assessment by the Attorney General supports this position, as does any strict reading of the RCW/WAC. The only argument against it is that it is being used by a private entity, but that fails to hold up given the definitions of public property in use today (ie property does not cease to be public when used for non-public purposes, otherwise it would require surrendering of a number of granted statuses and create a nightmare of bookkeeping and regulation that no one wants). Previous precedents regarding this issue were muddled by the fact that it was the municipality, not the private entity, which enacted regulation (sequim), and that the entire function was for a non-exempted event (firearm sales).

    2. Gun ownership IS protected under state and federal constitution as well as statutes. Gun possession may not be, depending on specifics, technicalities, and current leanings of the court in question, but that's a different matter entirely. Word choice is very important in legal matters. It is true that it is not a 'protected class' as per civil rights and discrimination legislation (yet), but we're not talking about discrimination (except in the examples given of trespassing without other cause).

    3. They can NOT, by law, ask you to leave 'because you're carrying a weapon lawfully' since the property remains public even though it's in private use. In the same way that the Mayor of Seattle could not prevent people from entering public parks even when they were in private use, or any other case where a private entity utilizes public property. To be fair, they could ask you to leave for that reason, but would they would have no legal grounds to do so and if you chose to stay and were eventually arrested/cited you could then likely beat it in court AND sue them civilly. Now, they could ask you to leave without giving a reason, however that would violate contractual obligations entered into when a pass was purchased. This is all moot since, as I pointed out, all official sources from the Convention Center security and Administration up to the Attorney General have assured us that it is wholly legal to carry there.

    4. The actual process of trespassing is as follows: an authorized agent of the property holder asks someone to depart (for whatever reason or none at all). The person then has a reasonable amount of time to make their departure. Failure to comply means the agent can notify law enforcement. LEO's will arrive and verify that there has been a lawful request. They will allow the agent to issue a trespass notification, barring the individual from the property. At this point no law has yet been broken, and no penalties can be applied. If the person then refuses to vacate, or if they return while the trespass is active, THEN they can be cited or arrested under RCW 9A.52.70/80. Of course, this only applies to portions of property not currently open to the general public. So they could enter the Convention Center, just not areas requiring a badge. None of that stops a subsequent lawsuit however, if the person feels the agent acted without cause or standing, or if they believe it violates the right to enter granted by the purchasing of their pass.

    5. Actually no one I know (dozens upon dozens of people) have ever been turned away because it is not against the law, nor the rules, to carry lawfully at PAX. They are also not turned away because when properly concealed, no one knows you're carrying. Finally, they are not turned away because the subsequent lawsuits and negative publicity would utterly end PAX in one fell swoop. See my previous point about having numerous national organizations bankrolling our legal defense, while PAX is stuck on their own limited budget against ever increasing precedent and an ultimately unfriendly SCOTUS.


    Again, in case you missed it last time I said it: Neither PAX nor the Convention Center have the authority to regulate lawful possession of weapons. Period. If they want that power they have to hold the event someplace that has never received public monies or existed under a public or partial-public status.

  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Yea, you're wrong, and they do. The convention center (and the PAX rented area within it) is not a public park. They can indeed follow the trespass procedures to have you removed if you fail to comply with their requests

    It doesn't matter if "all the convention sources say its OK", because that isn't the issue, the issue is whether the renters say its OK, and they don't, so it not. And its that simple.

    In case you missed it last time, PAX 100% most certainly absolutely does have the authority to regulate the possession of weapons inside an event that they are hosting. Just as private businesses have the authority to regulate the possession of weapons inside public spaces that they own (yes, store fronts are considered public spaces, this is why a store can kick you out for having a gun, but can't kick you out for being black. Welcome to "the law" circa "now").

    The opinions that you received relate to whether or not the STATE can tell PAX that it cannot have guns inside the convention center (which it cannot), and NOT whether PAX can tell YOU that you cannot have guns inside the convention center (which it can).

    If you want to read up more on the issue, I suggest looking at free association law. Guns aren't protected, you have no legal right to be in PAX with a gun if they say no guns. That is the be all and end all of it. There is no other way around it no matter how much of a stink you want to make and how much of a dick you want to be.

    Look, lets put it another way to show how retarded you're being. Your statement is literally saying that PAX cannot keep you out of PAX if you didn't buy a ticket. This must be true if PAX cannot keep you out for having a weapon, because as you say the space does not stop being public even if they rent it. Which of course implies that it is impossible to rent public spaces (because to do so would make them not public anymore).

    Specifically this is an issue of a contract, by purchasing a ticket you have agreed to not carry a firearm into the premises and PAX is going to prevent you from entering if you do so. You attempting to bring in a weapon violates and voids your contract with PAX and makes you a trespasser into their event in the same way that anyone who wanted to enter any private event without authorization would be a trespasser. It is mind bogglingly simple in its application.

    Goumindong on
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  • LexiconGrrlLexiconGrrl Registered User regular
    Here's the gun I'd like to bring:
    alienRaygun_01.jpg
    Guns don't kill people. Clowns kill people.

    Owner of and General Badass Chick at Seattle's best Distillery & Scandinavian Cafe Old Ballard Liquor Co.
  • SmallLadySmallLady Registered User regular
    Perhaps the discussion on consealed / lawful carry should be taken to the debate & discource forum. It doesn't really fit here.

    "we're just doing what smalllady told us to do" - @Heels
  • cyntheticcynthetic Registered User regular
    SmallLady wrote:
    Perhaps the discussion on consealed / lawful carry should be taken to the debate & discource forum. It doesn't really fit here.

    This. This so much. If someone else brings up an argument on whether or not actual weapons are permitted at PAX, I'm going to go ahead and hit the report button to alert a mod (not that I can be sure what action that might bring to you), because people have said numerous times now that the topic of this thread is cosplay and costume weaponry, and the rules regarding such things. Many of us have managed to keep our opinions to ourselves (believe me, we all have them.) You can, too.

    Aaaanyway, Lexi, that pic is awesome. I think balloon weapons would be awesome, if people could fashion epic game weapons out of balloons, I would be ridiculously impressed. It would definitely be a creative way to follow the rules.

  • MakurossMakuross Registered User
    Alright, I've decided on going as Solid Snake (MGS1), and after reading through this thread and the rules, I obviously can't be running around with a SOCOM Mk23 or a FAMAS.

    I decided that my best option would be to make the Stinger Missile, and use it as a poster roll up case for whichever posters or paper goods I may be buying. While much more unwieldy, I want to see if this would be allowed, as I don't want to go through the trouble of making it on top of the costume if it's just going to get rejected, y'know?

  • Hi all, I hope I understand the rules correctly and will happly abide by whatever decesion the security makes. I'm making a Giant Robot 8' tall,3'6" wide...and I'm thinking of equipping him with a BIG chaingun...clearly not real, but still a gun like object. I would be happy to be stopped by as many enforcers as want to stop me and check it...or just to get photos. So my question is...will a Giant fake chaingun be allowed ? If not, I understand. It's just with all the game lovers attending PAX, I figure it would be a popular peice. It would be a sholder strap, underslung one, kind of like what was in "Predator". As this will be my first time atteding a PAX, I want to abide by all the rules. Yes it is gun like, but would also be clearly fake..would that be Ok ? I guess this question is for Tango :)

  • LoliRuruLoliRuru Registered User
    Hello!
    I just had a question about the weapon restrictions. For my cosplay I am making a prop spear. The handle out of a light wood and the spear head would be made of Foam, covered in gesso, then using Air dry clay for the small detailed " carvings" on the spear then sealed with resin and painted. Is that alright to be used? I just want to be sure before I do all the work. I do not beleave it to be "sharp" or "blunt" or anything. Such a small amount of 1 cm clay will easily break, which is why I would be using a thin layer of resin to keep it from cracking to pieces if I were to accidently drop my spear while transporting.

    Thank you in advance for letting me know!
    LoliRuru

  • KujiCooKujiCoo Registered User
    edited March 2012
    Opps, posted to the wrong thread

    KujiCoo on
    "I'm sane. It's the world that's crazy."- Jin Kariya
  • b4bsbunnyb4bsbunny Registered User new member
    Do super soakers need to be deactivated? Or does just Wheaton's Law apply?

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