Covering Kentucky

Feb 7, 2013 11:57 AM

Lawmakers Proposing Measure To Reduce Gun Violence

FRANKFORT - State lawmakers will introduce a pair of identical proposals in the General Assembly's 2013 session that would take comprehensive action on reducing gun violence.

"A growing number of people are seeking sensible changes to keep children safe and protect citizens in light of the mass murder of schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn.," said Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville. "This is no time for anyone to be stuck on the ideological fringes of the gun debate. We need to come together in a way that respects the rights of law-abiding gun owners while taking reasonable steps to reduce gun violence. We can take sensible steps to prevent mass killings while also protecting 2nd Amendment rights."

Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, and Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, will introduced identical legislation in their respective chambers to allow local governments to regulate firearms, prohibit guns from college campuses, and implement licensing of gun owners and registration of firearm and ammunition.

If approved by lawmakers, the legislation will:

  • Include colleges and universities within the existing ban on firearms in schools.
  • Require the safe storage of firearms through the use of gun locks or safes.
  • Require a judge when issuing an order of protection to consider whether a person against whom the order is entered should be prohibited from possessing a firearm.
  • Require judges in criminal cases where a person is found not guilty by reason of insanity to demand the surrender of the defendant's firearms since these persons are barred by law from possessing a firearm.
  • Include physical injury to a minor of the intentional discharge of a firearm within the offense of assault in the second degree. This would cover the innocent child hit by the stray bullet from a drive-by shooting.
  • Create the offense of criminal purchase or disposal of a weapon to cover those who provide or dispose of weapons for persons such as felons who are prohibited from having a firearm to begin with.
  • Require the judge pronouncing a defendant guilty but mentally ill to demand the surrender of the person's firearms.
  • Require the State Police to promulgate administrative regulations relating to the licensing of persons to possess firearms and assault weapons, the registration of firearms and assault weapons, and the logging of firearms and ammunition sales.
  • Allow local governments to implement firearms regulations, such as prohibiting guns in libraries or city council meetings.

Wayne said the legislation seeks to find a middle ground in the debate on guns.

"We need a well-reasoned look at making sure we prevent another massacre in our schools like the one we saw in Newtown and like we saw at Heath High School near Paducah over 15 years ago," said Wayne, a primary cosponsor of the bill. "It's time for a calm, sensible discussion. This legislation is a starting point for that in Kentucky."

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