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Thread: AG opinion asked on gun bans

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    By CHRIS McGANN
    P-I CAPITOL CORRESPONDENT

    A U.S. Supreme Court decision on a Washington, D.C., gun ban combined with Seattle's attempt to restrict guns on city property has sparked a legislative discussion about an issue Washington Democrats have consistently avoided.

    On Monday, six Democrats from rural state legislative districts called on Attorney General Rob McKenna to issue an opinion on a city's authority to ban people who legally possess firearms from city property and facilities.

    "The statement from us is that our districts are just a totally different culture, and it's a big part of our culture, people hunt and they carry their gun rights on their sleeve," said House Majority Leader Lynn Kessler, D-Hoquiam. "We represent people who are adamant about the Second Amendment of our Constitution and we try to represent them."

    That's a stark contrast to urban Democrats who have for years been frustrated that so-called common sense gun control has been stymied despite the party's majority control in the Legislature.

    "We just have a split on that," Kessler said. "I don't think it's contentious, it's just the way it is."

    The request follows Friday's Supreme Court ruling that struck down the District of Columbia's ban on handguns, and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels' recent executive order to prohibit the possession of weapons, including firearms, on city property.

    Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, represents the city of Montesano, which recently considered a similar ban.

    "I'd like to know whether cities like Seattle can set aside the Bill or Rights when you walk onto city property," Van De Wege said.

    "Public safety is important to us all, but it seems to me an outright ban infringes on the right of citizens to legally carry a gun."

    "There are a lot of questions, but I would also like to know if state laws are being preempted by Seattle's mayor."

    McKenna, who received a similar request from Republican lawmakers, says his office will provide a through analysis to lawmakers.

    But he added in a statement that "while attorney general's opinions have historically been given 'great respect' and 'great weight' by the courts, they are not binding in any way. A final decision on the constitutionality of this ordinance needs to be rendered in the courts."

    While Democrats generally support gun control, opposition from rural and swing district lawmakers largely quieted the legislative debate on the subject in Olympia.

    Kessler said Democrats have avoided "hot button issues" that could fracture the caucus.

    "Our hearts don't all beat as one, our districts aren't all the same and issues aren't all the same," she said. "I think it has kept us more cohesive as a result of staying away from some of these hot-button issues that really are district issues, not Democratic issues."

    For example after a 2006 rampage on Capitol Hill in which a man fatally shot six people at a house party, the Legislature declined to bring up new gun control legislation, despite lobbying from Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske.

    "There aren't enough votes in our caucus to get any kind of gun control bills out," Kessler said.

    But the high court ruling and Seattle's continued push for gun control has apparently forced the issue to the surface.

    Kessler, Van De Wege, Sen. Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond, Rep. Dean Takko, D-Longview, Rep. Brian Blake, D-Aberdeen, and Rep. Chris Hurst, D-Enumclaw, signed the letter to the attorney general.

    They want to know if Nickels' executive order is pre-empted by federal or state law as well as the factors that would allow Seattle to implement policies prohibiting the possession of firearms on city property.

    They also want to know, other than the exceptions provided under current law, under what conditions a city department would have the constitutional and/or statutory authority to prohibit a person from possessing a firearm on city property.

    Nickels has directed city departments to come up with rules that would effectively prohibit guns on all city property, except those carried by law enforcement officers.

    The high court's recent ruling in the D.C. gun case does not jeopardize that plan, said Regina LaBelle, counsel to the mayor.

    In fact, the ruling affirmed that "The Second Amendment right is not unlimited, is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever, in any way whatsoever and for any purpose," LaBelle said.

    Washington is a "shall issue" state, considered by many to have among the most lenient gun laws in the U.S. Almost all nonfelons have a right to carry a gun with a license, as long as they are over the age of 21.

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/369041_guns01.html

    There is a Sound Off To Post Comments

    XD

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Due to the fact that Mayor Nickels has merely requested (demanded) that his dept. heads come up with regulations for a gun ban on city property, not actually enacted any law or regulation an AG opinion would be premature. I am sure that the AG would wait until the actual "act" occurs before he offers an opinion.

    A recent article in "Gun News" pretty much summed up Mayor Nickel's actions regarding guns as "Ready, Shoot, Aim". It is very possible that someone may whisper in his ear that he is merely "Mayor" Nickels, not "Emperor" Nickels and this action may merely fade away.
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

    "If you refuse to stand up for others now, who will stand up for you when your time comes?"

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    From the article...

    "Washington is a "shall issue" state, considered by many to have among the most lenient gun laws in the U.S. Almost all nonfelons have a right to carry a gun with a license, as long as they are over the age of 21."


    Not quite accurate, a license is only required if you wish to carry concealed.

    amlevin wrote:
    It is very possible that someone may whisper in his ear that he is merely "Mayor" Nickels, not "Emperor" Nickels and this action may merely fade away.


    While it may be very possible for someone to do it, given his history I expect it would be very unlikely he would listen...

    Here is the post I made in the "Sound off" section for the article:



    First off a correction for the last paragraph of the article:

    "Washington is a "shall issue" state, considered by
    many to have among the most lenient gun laws in the U.S. Almost all nonfelons have a right to carry a gun with a license, as long as they are over the age of 21."


    A license is only needed to carry a concealed weapon. Washington is an "Open Carry" state. That means if the gun is not concealed, you do not need a license. You just need to be legally able to own a gun. You can find out more about this at opencarry.org

    As far as Seattle's "right" to govern itself and "protect it's citizens" goes, they have no right to pass laws in violation of the State and federal constitution. Courts all across this land have ruled that government has no obligation or duty to protect anyone.

    If Seattle truly wanted to protect it's citizens (and those traveling through) they would admit they can't stop crime and suggest people take responsibility for their own safety. It is the false belief that you are protected or safe that unfortunately keeps people from realizing they are in danger.

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    The article says something about Republicans requesting something, but doesn't elaborate.

    I wrote my state reps/senator (all three GOP) on the very same issue and requested the very same thing, and got no response. The idea that the Democrats are taking care of this while Republicans stand basically idle is ludicrous.

    No wonder conservatives can't get anything done in this state!

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    <Rant>

    The mayor would prefer we left our loaded firearms in our cars in parking lots near city property. Sort of a smorgasbord for thieves looking to steal guns. Good thinking Mayor Nickels, way to protect people.But I have not heard much abouta proposal to protect the woman who was just stabbed in the city park. Are you going to give that the same knee jerk reaction you gave to firearms? Got your whole staffsearching for ways for you to get away withviolating state law? Which shouldn't apply to you by the way. Come on Mayor admit it you are just looking for an issue that you can use to suck up some more power to regulate every facet of peoples lives. And who could argue with banning guns on city property? Kind of view yourself like daddy Stalin don't you? After all you do know what is best for everyone so ordinary laws shouldn't apply to you. You are the Mayor.

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    irfner wrote:
    <Rant>

    The mayor would prefer we left our loaded firearms in our cars in parking lots near city property. Sort of a smorgasbord for thieves looking to steal guns...

    Hey, if that is good enough for the Police Chief, it is good enough for everyone :P

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    Regular Member MetalChris's Avatar
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    XD45PlusP wrote:
    By CHRIS McGANN
    P-I CAPITOL CORRESPONDENT

    Snip
    McKenna, who received a similar request from Republican lawmakers, says his office will provide a through analysis to lawmakers.
    What's a "through" analysis?

    Another great piece of journalistic genius from the PI.

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    911Boss wrote:
    irfner wrote:
    <Rant>

    The mayor would prefer we left our loaded firearms in our cars in parking lots near city property. Sort of a smorgasbord for thieves looking to steal guns...
    Hey, if that is good enough for the Police Chief, it is good enough for everyone :P
    LOL!

    For those that don't remember, click here.
    Support these forums, please donate if you are able to OpenCarry.Org!

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    I love this quote:
    "As a general rule, we don't like people to leave guns in vehicles," Waldron said. If storing a gun in a vehicle is necessary, "we recommend locking it in a glove compartment or in the console between the seats. We also recommend that the firearm be unloaded and the ammunition be emptied, but we realize that is inconvenient and unlikely to happen."
    The important thing is not calling attention to the act of storing a gun in a vehicle. Locking it in a trunk is usually conspicuous and therefore not a good option, Waldron said

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