There are often a lot of dumb guns laws being considered at the local level. From assault weapon bans to safe storage laws, local governments are always trying to craft new ways to screw with law-abiding gun owners.
Now, some local officials will disagree with that characterization, arguing that they’re just trying to keep their communities safe.
Well, that’s all fine and good, but in the process, they’re screwing with law-abiding gun owners a lot of the time.
I’ll concede that sometimes, though, it’s actually a sincere desire to make their communities safer that’s driving them. Take Kansas City, MO, for example:
“Currently there is no law in the state of Missouri that makes it illegal for a minor to have a handgun or a weapon. It is illegal under federal law, however its generally not something that the Department of Justice in Washington D.C. asks the U.S. Attorney’s Offices throughout the country to prosecute,” Judge Jane Pansing Brown, General Council to Mayor [Quinton] Lucas, said.
Two new ordinances passed Wednesday, aim to give Kansas City the power to bridge the gaps not covered by federal and state laws. They deal directly with kids and guns.
The juvenile ordinance picks up where federal laws leave off making it illegal for minors to have guns in places outside of the federal law’s exceptions, like federal buildings. Minors caught with guns could face a fine, diversionary program, probation or up to 30 days in jail. The adult ordinance makes it illegal to give a gun to a minor without parent consent. The punishment is a fine or up to six months in jail.
In other words, they’re just trying to mimic federal law, for the most part, but do so in such a way that they can prosecute rather than hoping the feds will do so.
In and of itself, I don’t actually have an issue with that.
There’s just one problem with that. Missouri is a state with preemption. That means local governments cannot create gun control laws on their own, all such regulations have to come from the state level.
While these are just an attempt to mirror federal law, they’re still gun control laws and they’re still a local government. The only exceptions for preemption are to regulate open carry or to restrict the discharging of a firearm within a community. Neither of those apply here.
Instead, the local government would do well to petition their state representatives about passing such rules at the state level, thus negating any preemption concerns.
Now, it’s possible the state won’t actually do anything. Again, these are hardly the worst local gun regulations we’ve ever seen. Kids shouldn’t be going around with firearms without a parent’s consent anyway, regardless of what they’re doing, and there’s something very wrong with an adult who gives a kid a gun without that kid’s parents saying it’s OK. It’s possible that the Missouri state government won’t actually do anything.
Still, it could also set a troubling precedent. That’s the last thing anyone should want.