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This Week's Poll



2-5-20

Gun bill may expand gun rights for elected officials

By Tami Stevenson


In light of shootings that have occurred at government meetings in various states, including city commission meetings in New Hope, Minnesota; Kirkwood, Missouri; Ross Township, Pennsylvania; and Mount Pleasant, Iowa, two gun bills are moving through the legislature that would allow certain elected officials/members to carry a firearm during meetings.


In Florida, prior to being injured by return fire from a security guard and committing suicide, a gunman fired multiple shots at the school superintendent and school board members during a Bay County School Board meeting in 2010.



HB 183, titled Prohibited Places for Weapons and Firearms and its sister bill, SB 1524, with the same name, would authorize an elected member of the governing body of a county, municipality, or school district to carry a concealed weapon or firearm into a meeting of the governing body of which he or she is a member.


The bill states that a member of a governing body may not carry a concealed firearm to a meeting if the meeting is being held in a location where firearms are otherwise prohibited by law. For example, if a school board held a meeting in a school, a school board member would continue to be prohibited from carrying a concealed firearm into the meeting.  



Currently, concealed firearm licensees may not carry a concealed firearm in certain locations, including meetings of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, or special district. A licensee who carries a concealed firearm into a prohibited location commits a second degree misdemeanor.


HB 183, introduced by Rep. Mel Ponder (R), moved favorably through the Criminal Justice Subcommittees in January and had a favorable vote, Monday, February 3, by the Local, Federal and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee with 10 yeas and 1 nay. As of February 4, the bill has moved on to the Judiciary Committee. Its sister bill, SB 1524, was introduced by Sen. George Gainer (R), and has not had any movement since January 14 in the Senate.


If the bills become law they would take effect July 1, 2020.