Preemption laws are laws that block cities from creating their own gun control regulations. These are typically good things because it means anyone familiar with the gun laws in a state will be able to travel to any community within that state and be good to go. After all, it’s difficult to keep up with the laws in each community you visit.
Imagine a traveler wearing a concealed firearm stops for gas in a state without preemption laws. Unfortunately, the community he stops in has a law that concealed carry is illegal on any property that sells alcohol. The convenience store he’s buying gas from sells beer. Thus, he’s now broken the law because of a local ordinance he had no way of knowing in advance.
Many states pass preemption laws that prevent that from happening.
Why is this relevant? Well, because a group of anti-gun mayors wants to see an end to preemption laws.
A group of nearly a dozen mayors from across the country are calling on state legislatures to lift laws that bar municipalities from enacting local gun restrictions.
In an op-ed published by USA Today on Saturday, Tallahassee, Fla., Mayor Andrew Gillum; Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Portland, Ore., Mayor Ted Wheeler demanded that state lawmakers “get out of the way” and allow cities to pass their own gun laws.
They decried “gun preemption,” which blocks municipalities from enacting firearm restrictions that may conflict with state law, and blamed lobbying groups like the National Rifle Association for pushing such policies.
“It’s happening in your state. And it’s happening because lobbyists and special interests know it’s easier to influence a few state lawmakers in 50 state capitols than thousands of local mayors and city councils,” the mayors wrote.
It’s happening because it simplifies the gun laws for residents and visitors of a given state.
I live in Georgia. We have a big anti-gun hole in the state called Atlanta. If Atlanta had its way, it would ban guns in many places where they’re currently allowed. We know this because Georgia Carry, the state’s pro-gun group, has had to fight them over attempts to ban guns in places like public parks despite the preemption law already in place.
Take away the preemption law and it’s not difficult to see all the different ways gun control advocates can and will make things difficult. It could easily create a situation where people are prosecuted for innocent mistakes deriving from laws they had no way of knowing ahead of time. Since the courts have already found that ignorance of the law is no defense, how many people could be prosecuted if these mayors get their way?
I can’t help but believe that’s the point behind this push. They’re trying to capitalize on anti-Second Amendment sentiment to get the power to help craft new laws that will let them prosecute more people for carrying guns. After all, those with concealed carry permits tend to be knowledgeable on the local laws, so they want to complicate the process so that becomes more difficult, all so some can trip up.
Regardless, though, preemption is a good thing that doesn’t need to go anywhere, no matter how many mayors beg for it.