Gun Rights Voice in Savannah Points Out Preemption Problems

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The mayor of Savannah wanted an ordinance to punish people who do things like leave guns in cars that later get stolen. He got the city council to approve such an ordinance.


Now, we simply wait.

For what? Well, we wait for the first person to be prosecuted under this measure to, in turn, sue the city for violating the state's preemption law.

That's right, Georgia is a preemption state, but if you followed the media reports about the debate in Savannah, you might be forgiven for not knowing that. In fact, that bit of information has been lost in much of the reporting on the topic.

In fact, it's only just now I've seen it come up, and that's from a critic of the measure.

Some say it’s necessary to reduce crime, but one woman News 3 spoke with says it’s a slippery slope that could lead to the taking away of constitutional rights.

“No one has a problem with locking your car. We obviously don’t see that as a problem. What we see is the slippery slope of any government intervention at all. We see it as what’s next,” said Christi Maude.

According to the new ordinance, firearms must also be securely stored and non-visible either in a glove compartment, console, locked trunk, or, if the vehicle doesn’t have a trunk, in the area behind the last upright seat.

Those who violate the ordinance could face up to 30 days in jail or a $1,000 fine.

“This is an ordinance and Georgia is a preemptive state,” Maude said. “So an ordinance does never, it never surpasses a state law. So if someone were to get fined or the 30 days in jail that suggested and the hefty $1,000 fine, then the city is opening yourself up for a lot of lawsuits.”

Now, I've spoken with Maude and yes, she meant to say Georgia is a preemption state. 


This is the first time I've seen a reference to the preemption law in the state in any reporting on the topic. That seems strange to me, to say the least. After all, Maude couldn't have been the first critic of the law to mention it, right?

Unless, of course, she's really just the first critic of the law they spoke to.

The truth of the matter is that the Savannah ordinance isn't necessary to prevent anything. At best, it's a way to punish the victims of gun theft. That's about the only way this will do much of anything because, well, breaking into cars is already illegal. Stealing guns is already illegal. Neither of those laws, however, is stopping this sort of thing from happening.

Now, understand that I don't think people should leave guns in their cars as a general rule unless they have some way to secure them so they won't be stolen. But not everyone shares that opinion and that's fine. 

What I have a problem with is punishing the victims of a crime with an ordinance that is illegal under state law, as well as the fact that the media has blatantly ignored this simple, basic fact. It's not just that this is a bad law, it's an illegal ordinance that will be overturned by the courts.

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