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STATE UPDATE: Lawmakers Debate Red Flag Laws, Arming Teachers, Sanctuary Counties, Stand Your Ground, Gun Raffles, and More

By: Teresa Mull

It’s been a busy month for gun legislation across the nation. Here’s your latest state update:

Arkansas Rejects ‘Stand Your Ground’
An Arkansas Senate Judiciary Committee just rejected a proposed “Stand Your Ground” law.

KATV reported last week:

After a heated and contentious debate, the committee voted 4-3 against the bill Wednesday that would have no longer required Arkansans to retreat before defending themselves with deadly force, as the current self-defense law does.

“Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday that the state's current self-defense law is 'strong' and that he's hesitant to change it,” the TV station reported this week. “The bill's author, Sen. Bob Ballinger, R-Berryville, said he plans to run the bill again. More than 30 states including Florida, Tennessee, and Texas have adopted some form of a ‘stand your ground’ law.”

Florida: Guns on School Property
Florida is considering two bills to change areas where guns can be stored and carried.

ABC 7 reports:

Under [H.B. 6005], school districts could ban students from storing firearms inside vehicles on school property. But [the] proposal would not allow districts to prohibit employees or parents from doing so. The proposal would not affect bans on carrying guns into school facilities or school-sponsored events.

A separate proposal [HB 403] approved by the House panel would allow religious institutions to authorize people to carry guns on property that the institutions own or rent, including schools.

Illinois: Outlawing Sanctuary Counties
You knew Illinois would be on this list.

News Channel 20 reports:

An Illinois Democrat, Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-Addison) is pushing legislation to make it illegal for counties to declare themselves gun sanctuaries.

So far, 26 of Illinois’ 102 counties have declared themselves gun sanctuaries. The term is a play on "sanctuary cities," which vow to protect immigrant rights by limiting how they cooperate with federal immigration policies.

The 26 counties that are currently “gun sanctuaries” are: Brown, Christian, Clark, Clay, Cumberland, Douglas, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Greene, Hamilton, Hardin, Henry, Iroquois, Jasper, Jefferson, Lawrence, Monroe, Perry, Pope, Saline, Shelby, Washington, Wayne, White and Woodford.

Minnesota: Red Flag Law and Expanded Background Checks
KVRR reports, “The Minnesota House Public Safety Committee has approved a ‘Red Flag’ bill in a 10–7 vote,” and a second measure to expand background check requirements, “which passed in a 9–7 vote.”

New Hampshire: Red Flag Law
New Hampshire, whose state motto is “Live free or die,” is debating a bill that represents one of the biggest assaults to freedom (and due process) possible.

The Washington Post reports:

The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee held a public hearing on a bill that would allow family members or law enforcement officers to seek a court order restricting gun access to those posing an immediate risk to themselves or public safety. Fourteen states already have passed so-called “red flag” laws and several others are debating them this year, according to a review by The Associated Press last month.

New York: Taking Aim at Gun Raffles Just when we thought New York couldn’t get any worse…

The Buffalo News reports:

These are anxious times for many gun owners in New York State, who say they feel besieged by a ream of new and wide-ranging gun control laws. Since Democrats took control of the State Legislature in the November elections, they have passed bills banning bump stocks, lengthening background check waiting times and requiring gun owners with young children to lock up their firearms.

Some 160 other gun control bills also have been introduced this session, including one proposal by Brooklyn Assemblywoman Joanne Simon that would prohibit gun raffles like one held Saturday at Jamison Road Volunteer Fire Company. The organization has held this particular fundraiser twice a year for the past 15 years, said Fire Chief Brian Nolan, and currently makes about $32,000 each year from it.

According to the newspaper, the bill to ban charity gun raffles “is not scheduled for a vote and lacks a Senate companion bill.”

North Carolina: Pay Raise for Armed Teachers
Teachers in North Carolina could get a pay raise for carrying a weapon.

Bustle.com reports:

North Carolina state legislators are hoping to encourage more teachers to carry guns on school campuses in an effort they say is aimed at providing a cost effective solution to curbing school shootings. A recently introduced North Carolina bill would raise the pay of teachers willing to carry guns at school after receiving police officer training. Opponents of the bill, however, have warned it's a "disaster waiting to happen."

North Carolina's School Security Act of 2019 seeks to establish "teacher resource officers," who, after completing basic law enforcement training and becoming sworn law enforcement officers certified under the state's general statues, would be able to either open or concealed carry guns on campus. In return, so-called teacher resource officers would receive a 5 percent pay raise and an additional two weeks of paid leave provided by the State.

Ohio: Fixing a Flawed Bill
The Columbus Dispatch reported in February that, “A mistake in writing up an Ohio bill could inadvertently ban several types of already legal guns…

“At issue is legislation approved by lawmakers last year that allows off-duty police officers to carry firearms and phases in pre-emption of many local firearms restrictions, among other changes,” The Dispatch explained. “The bill also attempted to align Ohio law with federal law regarding short-barrel weapons, or most shotguns with barrel lengths less than 16 inches.”

Since then, Guns.com reports:

Newly-installed Republican Gov. Mike DeWine … approved HB 86 this week, his first such action since taking office. The emergency measure was a fix for HB 228 approved by lawmakers last session without the signature of then-Gov. John Kasich.

Among the features of HB 228 were changes to Ohio’s definition of a “sawed-off firearm” to exclude any gun with an overall length of at least 26-inches not otherwise regulated by federal authorities — to have the effect of making firearms such as the Mossberg Shockwave and Remington Tac-14 legal under state law. However, before HB 228 took effect on March 28, it was feared that the somewhat contradictory language of the act could inadvertently ban several types of other guns instead.

Pennsylvania: Extreme Gun Registry
Ammoland.com reports:

A new bill introduced in Pennsylvania would establish a gun registry within the state.

HB0768 is known as the Firearms Registration Act. The Democrats that introduced the bill were Mary Louise Isaacson (D), Angel Cruz (D), and Mary Jo Daley (D). Last Friday, the General Assembly referred the bill to the committee on judiciary.

The bill would require gun owners in the Keystone State to register their firearms with the Pennsylvania State Police. Owners would have to provide the police with the make, model, and the serial numbers of all their guns.

Along with the application that the gun owner must swear to under oath, the gun owner would have to submit fingerprints, two photographs that are no older than 30 days and go through a background check for each firearm that they own. This background check is the same one that they must go through to purchase a gun.

In addition to this requirement, they must also provide the Pennsylvania State Police with their home and work address, telephone number, social security number, date of birth, age, sex, and citizenship. This requirement is more information than a person needs to vote.

Rhode Island: Firearms, Ammo Tax
According to U.S. News and World Report, “Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is seeking a 10 percent surcharge on the purchase of guns and ammunition as part of her budget proposal.”

“…Raimondo’s attempt to levy a 10-percent surcharge on the price of guns and ammunition drew hundreds of opponents in matching yellow T-shirts to the Rhode Island State House [ in late February]to whoop and cheer each time a lawmaker likened the governor’s move to an unconstitutional ‘assault on the Second Amendment,’” The Providence Journal reported.

“The ultimate fate of Raimondo’s revenue-enhancing proposals will not be known until the lawmakers roll out their reworked version of the governor’s tax and spending plan in late-May or early June.”

Utah: Restricting Guns at Schools
“Several lawmakers have proposed bills that address mental health, school safety and firearm restrictions,” ParkRecord.com reports.

The article continues:

[Noah Blumenthal, a senior at Rowland Hall in Salt Lake City and outreach director of March for Our Lives Utah], said one of the bills March for Our Lives supports is H.B. 190…

The bill, from Rep. Andrew Stoddard, D-Sandy, states the owner of a firearm is liable for personal injury or property damage caused from the firearm if they loaned it to another person.

Blumenthal said March for Our Lives Utah is also in favor of H.B. 217 from Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City. The bill would prohibit people from having a dangerous weapon within 500 feet of an elementary or secondary school.

Washington: Arming Teachers, ERPOS, Banned Gun Areas
MyNorthwest.com reports:

A bill was introduced in the Washington Legislature Tuesday by Republican Senator Phil Fortunato that would allow teachers to possess guns on school grounds, provided they meet certain criteria.

SB-5977 would allow permanent school employees — defined in the bill as teachers, administrators, or anyone working under contract with a school for at least a year — to carry a gun on elementary or secondary school premises and school-provided transportation.

In order to possess a firearm on school grounds, permanent school employees would need a valid concealed carry permit, successful completion of a firearms training course, and approval from the school board.

Two other bills up for debate in Washington State include, according to NRA-ILA:

The Substitute to Senate Bill 5434, sponsored by Senator Claire Wilson (D-30), would increase the areas where law-abiding citizens are prohibited from possessing firearms, including holders of a Concealed Pistol License (CPL) carrying a handgun for self-defense.

Senate Bill 5745, sponsored by Senator Marko Liias (D-21), would expand Washington’s existing Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) to allow Second Amendment rights to be suspended for individuals alleged to make certain threats by third party accusers with little, if any, real evidence and limited “due process” for the respondent.

West Virginia: Campus Carry
According to Metro News, “West Virginia will likely become the 12th state to allow individuals to carry guns on college campuses.”

The Metro article notes, however, that HB 2519 “includes a number of restrictions:

WVU officials have been able to work into the bill a number of exceptions [to where guns can be carried concealed]. They include venues or arenas with a capacity of more than 1,000 spectators (like a football game or concert), daycare facilities, secure areas used by law enforcement, disciplinary hearings, an individual’s office and the rooms of residence halls (though they would be allowed in common areas).

Additionally, college officials would have the power to designate particular events as off limits for concealed carry. For example, if a controversial speaker were making a presentation, officials could decide to exempt campus carry and use metal detection equipment to ensure compliance.

Professors would NOT be able to prohibit students with concealed carry permits from bringing a gun to class. That won’t sit well with left leaning instructors, but they have to understand the political reality of the state.

Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at teresa@gunpowdermagazine.com.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Gunpowder Magazine.