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Gun Law News: April 7, 2019


The Arkansas Senate voted — without legal meaning — 24-5 in support of a resolution “clarifying” that Arkansas is “a constitutional carry state, with no permit required to carry a handgun, either unconcealed or concealed,” on March 26. The resolution by Sen. Scott Flippo rests on a Court of Appeals case that a police stop couldn’t be justified by the suspect’s possession of a weapon. The Arkansas Supreme Court hasn’t definitively addressed the question. Despite the permitting process for both conventional concealed carry and enhanced permits, the Senate resolution effectively says no permit is necessary to concealed carry.


Safety and security have been at the forefront of school leaders’ minds for years. According to Bill Husfelt, superintendent of Bay District Schools, new legislation could expand Florida’s guardian program. The Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, named after one of the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, currently allows school faculty to concealed carry. This potential expansion could widen the candidate pool, which already includes Bay District and more than 20 other districts. This legislation would allow teachers serving only in classrooms to apply as well. Mike Jones, Chief of Safety and Security for Bay District Schools, said the Bay County Sheriff’s Office has helped train the guardians. “It’s a chance to put more armed people on our campuses to combat these guys, these villains that are coming,” Jones said.


Idaho’s Senate voted along party lines to pass a bill allowing 18- to 20-year-olds to concealed carry without a permit. The bill, passed by both the House and the Senate, is headed to Gov. Brad Little’s desk to become law. “What we’re talking about is extending to 18- to 20-year-olds the same fundamental and constitutional right to self-defense as all other adults,” Sen. Steve Vick (R-Dalton Gardens), who sponsored the bill, said. According to Vick, the bill brings uniformity to Idaho’s gun laws across the state, in both cities and counties. Current law says that those 18 to 20 years old can carry a firearm without a permit anywhere in the state, including in city limits, so long as it’s not concealed. To carry concealed within Idaho cities, those under 21 need a permit, which includes a training requirement. “Sometimes in life, people are threatened, and they feel that their lives are in danger, and they want to carry a handgun to defend themselves from that danger,” Vick said.


Iowa State lawmakers are considering a bill which would allow people with concealed carry permits to bring their guns onto school grounds, business parking lots and into Iowa courthouses. Firearms could still be prohibited in school buildings if it becomes law, but licensed carriers would no longer have to unload their weapon[s] and secure [them] in [a] trunk for school drop-offs or pick-ups. It would also prevent employers from prohibiting firearms in employees’ locked personal cars, though they could still ban guns in the workplace. “This is a lot of unnecessary manipulation of a weapon, and for that reason, we call it the family defense act. You should not be deprived of the ability to defend yourself, your family and others in the area just because of an arbitrary boundary,” said Richard Rogers, Iowa Firearms Coalition. The bill is out of committee and on its way to the House floor for debate.


A bill passed the House March 27, allowing people as young as 18 to carry concealed weapons. The 83-41 vote sends the bill to the Senate for approval. While opponents argued that the measure could endanger lives, backers say it’s about having protection when the unexpected happens, The Wichita Eagle reports. “We’re not training people to go into combat and to kill people,” said Rep. Stephen Owens (R-Hesston). “We are training people for self-defense.” Currently, for residents 21 and older, Kansas has constitutional carry, or the right to carry a firearm in any capacity. A concealed carry license, available to those who complete required training, allows the holder to carry in states that have reciprocal agreements. The age to obtain a permit would drop to 18 under the new law. Residents who don’t receive a license at 18 would still be allowed constitutional carry in the state at age 21.


A lawsuit filed more than two years ago by two gun-rights groups and Mike Newbern, an Ohio State University Marion student and instructor, has settled. Newbern and the groups charged that Ohio State policies prohibiting storage of guns in vehicles went against state law. The settlement resulted in a change in the university’s policies to allow students with concealed carry permits to store firearms in their vehicles on campus. In December 2016, the General Assembly passed, and Gov. John Kasich signed, a law lifting a longstanding statewide ban on carrying concealed guns at colleges, day care centers and airports but left it up to universities whether to actually allow them. “We’re happy that Ohio State has changed the student code of conduct so that vetted, trained, licensed students will be able to store their lawfully possessed firearms in their cars parked on campus,” Newbern said in a news release.

Gov. Mike DeWine supports a measure being pushed by almost half of Ohio House Republicans. The bill seeks to allow all law-abiding Ohioans to concealed carry without obtaining a permit. The so-called “constitutional carry” bill would permit anyone age 21 and older, not disqualified by federal law, to carry a hidden gun — without obtaining a concealed carry permit. Meanwhile, about 70 gun advocates — largely from Ohio militia groups — milled about the plaza west of the Statehouse March 28, carrying rifles and handguns in a show of appreciation. The advocates showed support for Ohio lawmakers passing legislation, signed by DeWine, to correct a flaw in a bill that could have classified many long guns as prohibited “dangerous ordnance.” The previously scheduled event was not connected to the bill introduced Wednesday.


Roughly 2,000 people were in attendance at the start of the Defend the 2nd Rally at the Oregon State Capitol, March 23. One of the people defending his right to protect himself was Tim Lesmeister, who shared the story of the day he survived a mass shooting. Lesmeister said he will never forget May 7, 1981, when a gunman killed four and wounded 20 at the Oregon Museum Tavern in Salem. He can still remember every detail. The feeling of not being able to protect themselves is something no one can understand unless they have been through it and is one of the reasons he carries today. “I wish I would have had a concealed carry at that time,” said Lesmeister, 62. “Maybe I could have helped prevent deaths, maybe not. I don’t know.”

Stay up to date with ever-changing gun laws by visiting the USCCA Concealed Carry Reciprocity and Gun Laws by State Map!

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