This week looked to be a slow one, then on Wednesday things kicked off. Some good, some bad, some silly. Let’s take a look.
State Supremacy – Dueling Sovereigns
A Louisiana bill advanced to the state capitol on Thursday to prevent municipal governments from writing gun laws stricter than what the state provides. The bill passed the House 68-30. This bill is in the breed of state supremacy provisions, which are common in the United States. It basically prevents anti-gun localities from making landmines of their cities for gun owners traveling through them.
As a gun owner who lived in the DC-metropolitan area for years, I can tell you how nightmarish it can be dealing with different state laws, much less municipal ones. Having to make sure no shell casings fell into your trunk after a range day in Virginia before heading into DC for work is a harrowing enough experience, so it makes sense to limit that nightmare as much as possible. Nobody should have to think about what cities they pass through if they’re headed to a shooting competition, or otherwise.
State supremacy provisions, by the way, are what made Pittsburgh’s city gun control omnibus illegal. On that, Pittsburgh agreed on Tuesday not to enforce those new restrictions as various suits against the city progress.
On the other side of the coin, Nevada finally saw an attempt to allow stricter local gun laws peter out. Democratic Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui on Friday gutted her own gun bill under pressure from Everytown for Gun Safety, of all organizations, to amend the bill and focus instead on pushing a red flag law. It seems there will be more to see in Nevada.
Ohio Dems Tighten Down on Loosening Carry Restrictions
Ohio lawmakers have been considering whether to remove a blanket ban on carrying firearms onto college campuses, among other specific buildings, and to allow anyone 21 and over, who is legally allowed to own a gun, carry them. On Wednesday, students from Ohio schools described to state lawmakers how scarring school lockdown drills have been since they were implemented post-Columbine. That’s an interesting way to oppose liberalizing gun law: by voicing how horribly the state has responded to the threat of gun violence. The students have a point. Lockdown drills have not proven to be effective, and their regular practice has made the public school experience ever-more prison-like. I’m not sure how preventing law-abiding Ohioans from carrying makes that any better, though.
Not Even in the EU, the Swiss Bend to Brussels
In a particularly disheartening move, Swiss voters agreed last Sunday to tighten their gun laws to match those in EU “anti-terrorism” legislation. Interestingly, the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland was the only one to reject the initiative by percentage. Switzerland has maintained a deep heritage and tradition of marksmanship for hundreds of years, developing some of the finest arms and techniques the world has come to know.
However, the Swiss were faced with a difficult choice: keep the gun culture intact, or keep the highly economically beneficial membership in the Schengen area. This change, and what is ultimately to follow, will likely chill Swiss marksmanship culture over the coming generations, though major effect will be unlikely to show right away.
CT Approves Safe Storage Measure
Connecticut saw “Ethan’s law,” a requirement that all firearms be kept locked away if a child might be in a home, pass the Senate on Thursday. It now heads to the governor’s desk, who is expected to sign it.
A similar version is being introduced by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro for nationwide application, but is unlikely to go anywhere. Safety around children is no joke, and must be taken very seriously. A loaded firearm should never be kept in a condition where an untrained child might get access to it. However, a gun locked away isn’t useful in the unfortunate situation where it might be needed. The broad-stroke language of these laws makes criminals out of people who seek to keep their homes safe when all else fails.
New Hampshire Mini Omnibus Gun Bill Passes
The New Hampshire senate passed three gun control bills on Thursday, all by a 13-10 vote. One requires a three-day waiting period for all firearm purchases, another makes it a misdemeanor to possess a firearm in a “safe school zone,” and the final requires background checks for all commercial firearm transactions. The waiting period law is aimed at suicide prevention.