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LEGISLATIVE NEWS LEGISLATIVE NEWS RICK SAPPGEORGIA:CONSTITUTIONAL CARRYThe Georgia State Senate has voted in favor of constitutional carry. In February, by a vote of 34-22, Senate Bill 319 was moved to the House for consideration and vote. An effort by Democrats to criminalize the private transfer of firearms was also defeated.
SB 319 maintains the existing concealed handgun license system. Citizens who wish to obtain a permit, thus allowing them to carry in states which have reciprocal agreements with Georgia, may still do so.
Let it be noted that Georgia’s constitutional carry bill was sponsored by Republican Sens. Jason Anavitarte (District 31, Dallas), Chuck Payne (District 54, Dalton), Bruce Thompson (District 14, White), Randy Robertson (District 29, Cataula), Bill Hickman (District 4, Statesboro) and others. At the time of this writing, the following states do not require a permit to carry: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota (residents only; concealed carry only), Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee (handguns only), Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.
■ WEST COAST: ANTI-GUN FEVERIf it seems this column reports interminably about anti-gun activity on what some pundits would call “the left coast,” it is because the anti-gun activity never seems to cease there. The continuous assault on Americans’ right to keep and bear arms never stops in California, Oregon and Washington.
Here are two bills making their way through the Washington State Assembly that pose a present and immediate danger — and one that has already been signed into law: House Bill 1705: Sponsored by Democratic legislators who call the bill a “people’s fight against ghost guns,” HB 1705 restricts the manufacture of firearms for personal use and self-defense by imposing, according to the NRA, “requirements that far exceed those in federal law.” It seeks to prohibit private individuals from possessing certain commonly used and unregulated components for the manufacture of firearms. The bill would impose penalties on anyone who currently possesses (what is now) a legal firearm that does not have a serial number. HB 1705 would also make lawfully built firearms retroactively illegal if built after 2019.
House Bill 1630: Sometimes one cannot separate the logical from the illogical. HB 1630 prohibits the carry of firearms at school board meetings, including by holders of carry licenses, and bans the open carry of firearms at municipal meetings. Open carry is prohibited at “election-related places” and concealed carry prohibited in ballot-counting centers. It is not unreasonable to assume that had several responsibly armed citizens been present at Gabby Gifford’s 2011 “town-hall electoral meeting” in Tucson, Arizona, the six people randomly murdered — including a nine-year-old girl — might today be alive and the seven injured might not today be suffering.
House Bill 1901: HB 1901 allows a petitioner for a civil protection order to claim that another individual has “coercive control” over him or her (economic abuse, birth control sabotage or isolation, for example) and thus must forfeit his or her firearms: “A person is guilty of coercion if by use of a threat he or she compels or induces a person to engage in conduct which the latter has a legal right to abstain from, or to abstain from conduct which he or she has a legal right to engage in.”
While on its face HB 1901 seems uncomplicated, even perhaps reasonable in the protection of women from domestic assault, it nevertheless presents a dangerous descent into the depths of anti-gun depravity — another drip in the continuing effort to eliminate private gun ownership altogether. HB 1901 permits the publication of one’s private information and allows the revocation of firearms rights without due process.
The bill creates situations where an otherwise lawful activity — carrying a firearm — can easily be denied by false assertions and malicious intent.
■ FLORIDA: DESANTIS FOREVER!The description of Florida’s HB 103, titled “Carrying of Firearms Without Licenses,” is, for a legislative effort, quite short, but it’s also long on rights of individual citizens. It “removes [the] requirement that [a] license to carry [a] concealed firearm is required in order to carry such [a] firearm; limits areas in which concealed carrying of [a] firearm is prohibited; revises criminal penalties; revises provisions relating to carrying of concealed weapons or firearms by nonresidents; provides for issuance of concealed carry licenses for reciprocity purposes; [and] specifies [that a] person not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing [a] firearm or other weapon may own, possess and lawfully use firearms and other weapons, ammunition and supplies for lawful purposes.”
Upon passage by the House and Senate, this constitutional carry bill would become effective with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signature — and he has signaled his intent to sign.
HB 103 was filed by state Rep. Anthony Sabatini (District 32, Clermont), a Republican.
“The presence of firearms makes (violent) people think twice about what they are going to do,” Sabatini said. “There is no reason to look at constitutional carry as something that would spur gun violence because people can already carry firearms. And anyone who can legally carry a firearm is going to do it whether it’s a constitutional carry state or not.”
■ MARYLAND: IT IS CERTAINDemocrat Adrienne Jones (District 10, Baltimore) has filed House Bill 1021 in the Maryland General Assembly — “for the purpose of prohibiting a certain licensed firearms dealer from storing a firearm on a certain premises where the licensed dealer conducts business, unless the premises is equipped with certain security features; requiring a licensed firearms dealer to lock certain firearms in a certain location outside business hours; and generally relating to security requirements for licensed firearms dealers.”
Specified in the bill are requirements that licensed firearms dealers have video surveillance, burglary alarm systems, bars or security screens on all doors and windows, and physical barriers to prevent ramming by vehicles. HB 1021 also requires dealers to lock away all firearms outside of business hours in vaults, safes or an undefined and vague “secure room.”
Anyone purchasing a firearm for trap, skeet or sporting clays; a hunting gun for turkey, grouse, quail or pheasant; a shotgun for brant, coots, doves, ducks, geese, rails, snipe or woodcock; a firearm for cowboy shooting competition; a muzzleloading rifle, shotgun or handgun; or a firearm of any sort for self-defense can expect that the price is going to rise dramatically.
This bill also places expensive requirements on licensed firearms dealers, most of whom are small businesses, during a time when they suffer from inventory shortages and staffing challenges. Dealers will close up shop, and entrepreneurs will be unable to afford to enter the industry — all of which is, perhaps, the point of such policies.
■ WASHINGTON, D.C.: MORE OF THE SAME FROM THAT TOWNIn February, President Biden announced what is being called “the American Rescue Plan.” It includes, in the words of POTUS speech writers, steps to “stop the flow of guns being used in crimes; bolster federal, state and local law enforcement; invest in community-based programs that prevent, interrupt and reduce violence; and expand opportunity, lower recidivism and increase funding for community policing.”
Such language is common among the anti-gun sects, who are also fond of the “defund the police” movement: “The movement seeks to demilitarize police departments and reallocate funding to trained mental health workers and social workers to reduce unnecessary violent encounters between police and citizens.” And yet “violent encounters between police and citizens” pale to insignificance when compared to violent encounters between criminals and citizens. (You may have noticed that such movements led to a spike in firearms and ammunition sales over the last few years.) As is so often the case, the anti-gun set wants it both ways: • Democratic U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (District 13, Detroit) said, “Policing in our country is inherently and intentionally racist.”
• Democratic U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (District 14, New York City) said that cutting the police budget is not effective if it does not result in the reduced presence of law enforcement.
• Democratic U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (District 5, Minneapolis) said, “We need to completely dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department,” and blamed the city ’s spike in crime on law enforcement.
• With a bill titled “Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act,” Democratic U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (District 7, Boston) is calling on Congress to end federal funding for police officers in schools with the reintroduction of a bill opponents fear feeds off the movement to defund the police.
It would seem that when policing is reduced, either directly or through a lack of support “from above” for the officers on the beat, more and more Americans realize that they are responsible for their own safety. PBS.org, CNN.com, Brookings.edu, TheHill.com
■ ARIZONA: STEP BY STEPAccording to the NRA, two bills introduced into the Arizona House of Representatives are excellent steps forward in the movement to legitimize and fully legalize self-defense nationwide. Until the U.S. Congress — in an unexpectedly adult moment — passes the national concealed carry bill sponsored by North Carolina Republican Rep. Richard Hudson (District 8, Fort Bragg), such small steps will be necessary to ensure that Americans may continue to enjoy life, liberty and the opportunity to pursue happiness.
House Bill 2414 allows law-abiding citizens to store loaded firearms in locked personal vehicles while parked on school grounds. This ensures that parents are able to pick up and drop off students without first having to stop and unload a firearm before driving onto school grounds or deviating from their routes to park off-campus. So-called “gun-free zones” are arbitrary boundaries that only disarm the citizenry while, in the words of the NRA, “doing nothing to deter criminals.”
House Bill 2316, which billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s group Moms Demand Action calls “dangerous and reckless legislation,” expands areas where concealed carry permit holders can lawfully carry, including many public establishments and events.