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Reasonable Gun Control?

When I saw the headline for this article (Midway considers stronger gun laws) I thought we would get the normal blather from the “reasonable restrictions” crowd. When I read it, however, it looks more like what I would consider “time, place, manner” restrictions that would criminalize not an object or a person, but a (potentially) dangerous behavior. The people interviewed for the story classify this as “gun control”. Would you support this kind of “gun control”?

17 Responses to “Reasonable Gun Control?”

  1. robert says:

    All but the “reasonable regard” part. Leaves too much room for creative interpretations by LEOs.

  2. Ian Argent says:

    Unfortunately, from a practical point of view, there’s no way to remove discretionary enforcement from the police. There’s plenty of other uncontroversial places in gun laws that require behaving “reasonably” or “rationally”.

    Make it easier to sue and punish “oppression under color of law” and you solve the problem.

  3. Ed says:

    That is certainly “gun control” I could live with, as long as the reasonable regard section is made clearer. It’s funny that this is now considered a victory for gun control, when just a decade ago they were banning guns.

  4. Ian Argent says:

    Sadly, Sebastian didn’t leave me a “We’re winning” tag.

  5. Melancton Smith says:

    Sure, I could get behind those.

    What about an exception on discharge of a firearm within certain distance of a residence if done within in indoor range?

  6. Ian Argent says:

    Presumably that falls under “permission of the property owner”.

  7. Melancton Smith says:

    I was thinking of a gun shop with a range in a city block also containing adjacent storefronts with second story apartments. Not an unusual situation (minus the gun shop of course) in Chicago. You may have permission of the gun shop to shoot in the range, but you could be within a banned distance from the neighboring apartment.

  8. Ian Argent says:

    Have to know the details on that one – immediate property owner should override neighboring building. (subject to zoning and safety for ranges)

  9. Melancton Smith says:

    I can see having a noise restriction and thus restricting the firing to daytime hours.

  10. michael says:

    Holy smokes, they mean Midway NC! It’s just a little way down from me. A little more background on this: the article neglects to mention that Davidson County law already prohibits discharging a firearm within 300 feet of a residence. That law was rushed through a couple of years ago after a kid was killed by a stray bullet, thought to have come from an SKS. It came from far enough away that even with several people outdoors on a pleasant evening, nobody heard the shot. The new law would have done nothing to have prevented that accident, even though existing law (reckless endangerment) would have covered it. There’s a couple of problems with this new proposal (same as the recent county law)- it doesn’t discriminate against your residence. You have to be that far from your own house. Not good when plenty of kids learn to shoot safely 30 feet from their own back step. Also, it doesn’t mention which direction you’re shooting. So, under the similar county law you could shoot toward someone’s house from 301 feet away (you would be breaking other laws, of course).

  11. Ian Argent says:

    “Midway is considering adding a stipulation that would also make it illegal to discharge a firearm within 500 feet of a residence without permission from the owner on which the firearm is discharged. The ordinance also would make it illegal for anyone to shoot a gun without reasonable regard.”

    That would appear to liberalize the existing Davidson Co ordinance as noted by Michael, given that the property owner may give permission – if you are the owner you can give yourself permission :) OTOH, the radius is pushed out to 500 ft, which is quite far, esp if there is brush. Not as much of a problem in town, but could be a problem in a more rural area.

    I don’t know about the geography of Midway, but they might want to change from a specified radius to “in town”. Retaining the “permission of owner” clause, of course.

  12. Chris says:

    Midway is a town of about 4500 and is literally a couple of stop signs on the road… It surprises me that this even comes up as an issue.

  13. Municipalities can certainly regulate when and where firearms can be discharged. Heck, even up here in AK with a strong preemption statute, local areas retain that right.

    I would think that state law probably already covers most of their issues and thus additional laws are probably redundant, but I’m not familiar with NC state law.

  14. RT says:

    Most NC towns don’t allow discharge inside city limits at all, regardless of property owners permission or not, so this is actually much better than what most have now.

  15. Sailorcurt says:

    Here’s the money quote in my mind:

    “We heard from some of the neighborhoods that guns were being fired and people didn’t know if that was safe or not,” Wilkes said. “And that we needed some type of ordinance to protect the citizens of the town.”

    Protect them from something that you’re not even sure is unsafe?

    How about finding out first? It seems to me that if someone is firing guns in an unsafe manner, that would already be covered by current laws.

    Basically, this is criminalizing a behavior because someone fears you MIGHT be doing it unsafely.

    Also, I see no mention of an exemption for self defense in the proposal, of course that may just be incomplete reporting rather than a deficiency in the ordinance itself.

    I think this is a solution in search of a problem and just another case of elected officials trying very hard to be seen “doing something” without actually…you know…doing something.

    What it will end up doing is criminalizing people who are unaware of the new ordinance and are just doing what they’ve been doing on their property for generations.

    Furthermore, it won’t do anything to alleviate the problem; the hoplophobes (who probably moved out there from the big city) are still going to be hearing guns going off even if people are abiding by the new ordinance.

    And because they know there IS a new ordinance, they’ll be prompted to call the police every time they hear gunfire in the distance.

    They STILL won’t know whether the shooting going on is safe or not (and probably won’t really care…they just don’t like the idea of people shooting within earshot) and so they’ll continue to insist on tighter and tighter regulations.

    Shooting is a part of rural communities’ heritage and lifestyle. If they don’t like it, they need to move back to the cities they fled.

  16. Ian Argent says:

    That was a terribly-copy-edited article, so I wonder about the accuracy of it as well. However, it did mention that discharge was permitted with permission of the property owner, and that “hunting” was a “reasonable” reason for discharge

    I don’t personally see a need for the law, unless it is actually a safe-haven for property owners; adding protection for discharge with property owner’s permission or with “reasonable regard”. From the article, it could go either way, really.

    If this is the new face of “gun control” we’ve won a victory comparable to the passage of the 21st amendment wrt alcohol. Which, in some ways, leaves us open to more insidious regulations if we’re not careful. A law regarding public discharge, unless truly, stupidly, draconian, will pass constitutional muster. It would be wrong, but constitutional. Vigilance will still be required.

  17. +1 Sailorcurt

    I had the same thought …..

    Where I live (rural, in the county), I hear gunfire all the time, more so in deer season. Only once was I really concerned about where the noise was coming from, including the time my wife’s uncle and I heard someone having fun with a squirt-gun.

    The law in question sounds to me to be what good citizens, good neighbors, and responsible gun owners do every day, sans law.

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