I read two stories in the last 24 hours that reinforced why every state should have preemption on firearms issues. The gun prohibitionists oppose this saying, in essence, different laws for different locales lets us preserve our pockets of irresponsible gun control.
What makes these two stories different is that they come from red states where gun ownership is more the norm than the exception.
The first story comes from Nebraska where a judge last Friday ordered the return of a Lincoln man’s gun collection. The only problem is that the city ordinances of Lincoln won’t allow him to have them within the city. Under their city ordinances, a person convicted of a weapons charge (including knives) is forbidden to possess firearms within the city for the next 10 years.
Police confiscated 24 handguns last August from Kevin Williams, who was accused of illegally possessing them after being convicted of having an illegal pocketknife, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.
City Attorney Jeff Kirkpatrick said that during a 2010 traffic stop, Williams told a police officer that he had a butterfly knife. Police ticketed him for carrying a concealed weapon, because the knife was too long, and he ultimately paid a $75 fine.
Police learned four years later that Williams had purchased many guns, and his conviction on the weapons charge for the pocketknife made him ineligible to possess a gun in Lincoln for 10 years. An officer then seized Williams’ guns under a city ordinance on unlawful firearm possession.
The knife in question was a butterfly knife. The city charged Williams with unlawful firearm possession. However, he fought it in court and the city requested the charge be dismissed. The Nebraska Firearm Owners Association says this illustrates the need for consistent regulations statewide and I would agree.
The second story comes out of Idaho. In this story, an investigation of the Madison County Sheriffs’ Department shows that they used concealed carry permit fees to buy firearms for the department and for new carpeting. This came just months after the county commissioners approved a request by Sheriff Roy Klinger to increase permit fees by 38% (an additional $20) back in 2013. The sheriff had argued for the increase saying they couldn’t keep up with the demand.
Records turned over to IdahoReporter.com revealed the agency has spent more than $60,000 on expenses not directly related to concealed weapons permit administration since 2011, including two carpet purchases and one outlay for tile in the office. Klingler characterized those expenses as necessary upkeep for his agency and said his office vetted the purchases through the county’s legal team.
He also said critics focused only on larger purchases, but ignored how long his agency saved to be able to spend on the big-ticket items.
Klinger said his critics have a “nefarious” agenda and are engaging in a “hate campaign against government/law enforcement”. Interestingly, both the sheriff and his critics in the Idaho Second Amendment Association agree on permitless carry.
While Pruett and Klingler agree on permitless carry, the ISAA president said Klingler needs to take action to ease the burden on Idaho’s gun owners.
“The ISAA is here to protect Idaho gun owners and regardless of our agreement on permitless carry, we felt it necessary to bring this issue to light,” Pruett said with a nod towards Klinger’s advocacy for statewide permitless carry.
What surprises me most about the Idaho story is that there isn’t a uniform charge for a carry permit throughout the state.
Both of these stories reinforce the need for statewide preemption on firearms matters just like the arrest of a tourist at Ground Zero in New York City illustrates the need for nationwide reciprocity on carry permits.
H/T Josh and Susan