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Thread: Getting up to code.

  1. #1
    State Researcher Kevin Jensen's Avatar
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    By Matthew K. Jensen
    Published:
    Saturday, July 11, 2009 3:06 AM CDT




    Jared Smith talks about state gun laws as he stands outside of
    Logan City Hall Friday. Smith and other residents have pointed
    out to the Logan Municipal Council that the city is in a potentially
    “precarious” situation by having laws on the books that have
    potential to violate cvil rights of residents.
    (Alan Murray/Herald Journal)



    While some call it oversight, others call it a blatant violation of civil rights.

    When Utah enacted statewide uniform gun laws in 2004, multiple cities failed to update their municipal codes, many of which downright prohibit residents from carrying a concealed weapon, even with a permit. Logan was one of a handful of cities across the state that left decades-old ordinances inside city code, something gun owners thought would have changed years ago.

    Jared Smith of Smithfield said he and several residents wanted to let the Logan Municipal Council know it was in a potentially “precarious” situation by having laws on the books that have potential to violate civil rights of residents, he said.

    “Our real purpose was to let the city council know that this was a concern to us,” said Smith. “There were some reports of some law-abiding citizens that were carrying firearms that were being harassed by Logan city officers. They were being told it was illegal to have a gun in Logan, period.

    Smith said he and others contacted Logan city to be told they were “old laws and they weren’t going to do anything about them.”

    “So we pushed them a little bit more, gave them four or five months,” he said. “Finally, the city attorney said that if I were really passionate about this to go ahead and file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office because we would like to get his opinion.”

    Smith contacted the Utah AG’s office and was informed the city of Logan needed to remove the statutes from its municipal code.

    On Tuesday, Smith and some colleagues then showed up at a Logan City Municipal Council meeting on Tuesday to express their concerns. Some of those involved wore a concealed weapon to demonstrate their concern.

    “That’s why the state has these uniform firearm laws so there isn’t confusion about this,” added Smith. “I shouldn’t have to worry about what the laws are going from city to city.”

    Logan City Attorney Kymber Housley says the laws are misplaced and that his department is working to eliminate all but one element of the code from the list of ordinances.

    The statute that remains prohibits the discharge of firearms within Logan limits. Housley said the city-specific law will remain in effect and says officers can and will enforce it.

    “There’s several ordinances on the books that we haven’t enforced over the years,” he said. “The issue we have is deciding whether to repeal all of it, do we keep portions of it that deal with non-firearms like brass knuckles and nunchucks, or do we just leave it to the state to regulate all forms of dangerous weapons?”

    Smith said he and his colleagues presented the same information to the cities of Layton and Smithfield, which, according to him, resolved the issues in weeks. Smith informed Logan about its inconsistency more than seven months ago.

    “We’ve never taken issue with it,” said Housley. “We know that they’re in conflict with state law.”

    Housley said he’s worked for the city’s legal department for 14 years and has no recollection of any officer issuing a citation for the ordinance. His department checked the past five years of court records and found no legal action taken against Logan residents involving the gun laws.

    “I’m not saying that somewhere out there somebody wasn’t stopped and told they can’t have a weapon,” he said. “But as far as issued citations that we’ve prosecuted, there have been none in the past five years.”

    The new code has been drafted and is being reviewed by the police department. It will then go before the Logan Municipal Council for approval and action. The new ordinances will be in effect as soon as the council votes but Housley stressed that the online codifier may not immediately reflect the new changes.

    “I think we should comply with state law that says we can’t regulate firearms and that’s what we’re gonna do,” he added. “The issue then is how much do we leave in there that deals with deadly weapons that aren’t firearms.”

    He added, “My personal opinion, and in fact it’s our policy, if we’ve got a choice between prosecuting a state violation or a city ordinance for the same type of conduct, we always prosecute the state violation.”

    Smith says he doesn’t consider himself an overly active gun rights enthusiast, but rather a regular citizen who noticed something that needed to be addressed and doing something about it.

    “I’m just a regular guy who happens to own a gun,” he said. “I don’t really consider myself an enthusiast. I’m just a concerned gun owner.”

    ———

    E-mail:

    mjensen@hjnews.com



    "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life." Robert A. Heinlein

  2. #2
    Regular Member Utah_Patriot's Avatar
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    I am very happy with this outcome.

    Logan City thought they could Skate around the firearm issue and lost.

    It's about time for people to rise to the occasion and stop allowing our elected officials to violate the Law.

    BTW Nice Picture
    Zach
    8014487574
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity"

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    Thanks for posting that SGT. I'm glad there has been some media attention to this. With the City Attorney not willing to do anything about it until he was told by the AG to change it, is ridiculous. I have been following the story on UCC, and Jared Smith and others have done a great job making sure this gets taken care of. The radio piece they did, and also the news article here is cool. +1 on the cool pic! I'm glad there is some good media coverage on guns for a change.

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    Thanks for posting this over here. And thanks for your support. I did not go into this intending to be in the paper, but it has required a lot of effort, an Attorney Generals complaint, and some good media to get the city to act. As usual, the comment trolls are out and their comments are outnumbering the good guys', so if you feel so inclined, please post your support on the original article.

  5. #5
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    I just posted. There are quite a few unfriendly people posting there. One of my friends is married, and his wife was not a fan of guns, that is until someone tried to break into her apartment while she was home alone. We had tried to get her to go shooting with us at the range so that she would know how to shoot, and show her how fun it is. It wasn't until this happened that we were able to get her to the range. She had fun, and is totally gun friendly now.

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    Thanks for posting mqondo. I've actually written about 5 other posts, but haven't posted. It's impossible to have a rational conversation with folks that simply resort to name calling when you make a good point. I've decided to disengage. Anyone that has half a brain will be more likely to side with us after reading their derogatory and lopsided comments.

    I went shooting just yesterday with a friend and our wives. It was his wife's first time shooting. She was very uncomfortable and apprehensive at first, but ended up having a great time. I let her shoot my AR-15 and I didn't think she was going to share it after that. She had loads of very good questions about the law and self defense and I think she's mostly convinced - at a minimum, she respects and understands why I carry every day. Those that have nothing better to do than berate and insult others for standing up for what they believe will never be convinced without experiences like we had yesterday.

  7. #7
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    i agree, most people (i was one of them just 2 years ago) are afraid of guns for the most part, or are afraid when people carry them... but i would bet that if every single american was taken shooting for a couple hours, 60% or more would end up liking them or atleast agree that they are a good means of defense, and very safe in the right hands anyway lol

  8. #8
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    I think the numbers would be much higher than 60%

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