Weapons Unlawful

Discussion in 'Legal Terminology' started by tracyd321, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. tracyd321 Junior Member

    English
    We are hanging a sign outside our business saying "Weapons Unlawful" and I would like to include a translation in Spanish. Under the law we cannot say that weapons are illegal in the building, but we want to state that under the law the use of weapons for illegal activity is prohibited in our building. Our attorney came up with "Weapons Unlawful" and will be adding a brief explanation of the RCW under it. I need a short version in Spanish for "Weapons Unlawful".

    Queremos poner un letrero en la entrada de nuestro negocio diciendo ¨Weapons Unlawful¨ y me gustaría incluir una traducción en Espanol. Alguien me podría ayudar con eso, por favor?

    Yo tengo: Ilegal las armas
    Ilicito las armas

    No podemos decir Ärmas prohibidas¨ porque bajo la ley no podemos prohibir las armas en nuestro edificio, simplemente podemos decir que el uso de armas por algo que sea ilegal es contra la ley.
     
  2. robjh22 Senior Member

    U.S.A. & English
    Since no native speakers have responded, I dare to offer "Se prohibe el uso de armas de fuego."

    I only say "uso" because you say it's to prohibit the "use" of arms in your building. (Otherwise I'd suggest "se prohibe portar armas.")
    But is it really legal to carry them in but not to use them?
     
  3. tracyd321 Junior Member

    English
    That is similar to the first thing I suggested, and they wanted something shorter if possible (small sign). It is meant to cover all weapons, not just guns. The way our attorney explained it to me is that the law states that we cannot prohibit the carrying of a weapon inside our building, as long as it is not used to commit a crime. That was why they used "unlawful" instead of "prohibited". They are looking for something exact to "Weapons Unlawful".

    Thank you for your response, robjh22.
     
  4. robjh22 Senior Member

    U.S.A. & English
    I'm trying to understand this, but I just don't. Why would you need a sign saying it's against the law to commit a crime with a weapon? It's against the law everywhere to commit a crime, with or without a weapon.

    Moreover, "Weapons Unlawful" doesn't mean "you can carry a weapon here so long as you don't commit a crime with it."

    To be honest, it's a little unclear even in English, both the verbiage of the sign and the idea.
     
  5. tracyd321 Junior Member

    English
    I agree completely and told them such. It's too confusing. But they want it to say "unlawful". Not sure what to do.
     
  6. robjh22 Senior Member

    U.S.A. & English
    Okay. You have my sympathies.

    If I may make a suggestion, tell them about our exchange here, then politely seek legal as well as linguistic clarification as to exactly what they mean in English.

    I realize you may have already done that, but if they are giving you an impossible translation task, I think it's reasonable to ask them to be a little clearer. I'm now curious to know whether such a sign exists anywhere else.

    I'm also curious why a business can't prohibit the carrying of weapons on the premises, unless they mean people with concealed/carry permits who have a right to be armed. Even then I wonder ....
     
  7. tracyd321 Junior Member

    English
    I emailed our attorney to ask for further clarification. When they first asked me to translate the term I expressed my own confusion and stated it would likely be confusing - even in English. They are set on using it though. I did google the term and cannot find any other use. I will post our attorneys response as soon as I get it.
     
  8. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    First the Spanish. I don't think in Spanish you can use diciendo in your statement Queremos poner un letrero en la entrada de nuestro negocio diciendo "Weapons Unlawful". I think that the way to say that is Queremos poner un letrero en la entrada de nuestro negocio que pone "Weapons Unlawful"

    I would like it if an hispanohablante would confirm that.

    Now on to the English of the original text. I'm with Rob here. I see two possibilities:

    1. There is a provision in your state's law that says that a sign that says "Weapons Unlawful" means such and such (say, that the use of weapons for illegal activity is prohibited). If so, the short-hand term is fine in English, and since the short-hand term is not defined for Spanish, you have to spell it out and not use a two-word phrase.

    2. There is no such provision in your state's law, and your attorney thinks that "Weapons Unlawful" means that the use of weapons for illegal activity is prohibited. In that case, very few people are going to have the same understanding of that two-word phrase that your attorney has.

    If #2 applies, then a two-word statement of "Weapons Unlawful" wouldn't be helpful since few are going to know what it means, and you will spend time explaining the sign to customers.

    Furthermore, in the absence of a statute or court opinion that clarifies that "Weapons Unlawful" means that the use of weapons for illegal activity is prohibited, it seems to me that you are doing just what you are saying you are not permitted to, which is telling people that they can't carry firearms on your property. If I saw a two-word sign that said "Weapons Unlawful," I would think that it is telling people that they can't carry firearms on your property.

    Rob, a number of states have passed laws requiring the issuance of permits to carry a concealed weapon unless the applicant has a criminal record or there is other good cause not to (referred to as "shall issue" states). In some of the "shall issue" states, they have laws that allow a property owner to post a sign stating that bringing firearms onto the property is prohibited, and in that event, the carrying of firearms onto the property is illegal, CCW permit notwithstanding. In other "shall issue" states, however, the legislature may have gone further in promoting gun rights (at the expense of property rights) and prohibited property owners from prohibiting the lawful carrying of firearms on their premises.
     
  9. litiga8or

    litiga8or Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    Rainy Oregon! USA
    I agree with everybody. The law doesn't make sense.
    "Weapons unlawful" means -- to everybody except your attorney -- that no weapons are allowed in the building. But if you insist on having a sign of some sort, you might consider: "Unlawful weapons prohibited." A lot of people will misunderstand that, too, thinking it means that weapons are unlawful. But it doesn't prohibit the carrying or use of "lawful" weapons. And it isn't limited to guns.

    Where in Washington are you? What kind of a building is it? Why is it against the law to prohibit weapons in your building? Do we have a constitutional issue -- right to dominion over one's property vs. right to bear arms?
     
  10. robjh22 Senior Member

    U.S.A. & English
    Okay, that helps. Thanks so much.
     
  11. tracyd321 Junior Member

    English
    We are a government building in Aberdeen, WA. Our attorney is following RCW 9.41.270 which states:

    "Weapons apparently capable of producing bodily harm - Unlawful carrying or handling"

    (1) It shall be unlawful for any person to carry ,exhibit, display or draw any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons.
    (2) Any person violating the provisions of subsection (1) shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

    Our State has preempted where firearms/weapons can be prohibited. Our building, being of local government, cannot be more restrictive than the State in prohibiting the carrying/displaying of firearms/weapons. But we can charge someone with a crime if they carry, exhibit, or display the firearm/weapon in a manner which would cause a reasonable person to feel alarmed or threatened.
     
  12. tracyd321 Junior Member

    English

    Ricardo - what would you suggest we use to spell it out? I agree a simple phrase will not work, but they have asked it to be as condensed as possible, in order to fit on the small sign.

    Thank you for your help with this post!
     
  13. tracyd321 Junior Member

    English
    Washington is an "open carry" state for firearms, which means a person may carry a firearm in an exposed holster without any kind of permit unless there is something that makes is specifically illegal (for example, carrying in a prohibited place, such as a school, or carrying as a felon or domestic violence offender, where a conviction restricts ones rights to bear arms). When the carrier of the weapon behaves in a manner that warrants alarm for the safety of others, or intimidates then that carrying becomes "unlawful".

    We are also a "shall issue" state, as Ricardo describes above.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2012
  14. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    The language quoted above pretty much describes the crime of brandishing a weapon (at least as it exists in California). Accordingly, I would think that the following would be short, accurate, and adequately descriptive:

    Unlawful to Brandish a Weapon

    (Frankly, I wonder why the sign is needed. It's not a condition of violating the statute so a brandisher could be prosecuted whether or not there is a sign. But the need for the sign goes beyond the scope of this forum.)

    The foregoing suggestion should be easily translated into Spanish. The word for "brandish" in Spanish is "blandir."
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2012
  15. litiga8or

    litiga8or Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    Rainy Oregon! USA
    I agree with Ricardo:


    Unlawful to Brandish a Weapon


    PS: The whole thing makes me sick.
     
  16. tracyd321 Junior Member

    English
    Why does it make you sick, Litiga8or?
     

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