Firearms Prohibited in Designated Places. Weapons, including firearms, are prohibited statewide in certain designated places. These places are:
The perimeter of the above premises must be posted at reasonable intervals to alert the public to the existence of any law restricting the possession of firearms on the premises.
"Weapon" is defined in statute as a firearm, explosive, or an instrument or weapon listed in another statute governing dangerous weapons. The dangerous weapon statute prohibits:
Any person violating this prohibition is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
Gross Misdemeanors. Every person convicted of a gross misdemeanor shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a maximum term fixed by the court of up to 364 days, or by a fine in an amount fixed by the court of not more than $5,000, or by both.
It is unlawful for any person to knowingly open carry a firearm or any weapon:
State and local law enforcement officers and personnel are exempt from the prohibition when carrying a firearm in conformance with their employing agency's policy.
"Demonstration" means conduct by one or more persons communicating or expressing views or grievances which has the effect, intent, or likelihood of attracting a crowd, such as a march, rally, vigil, sit-in, or picketing. A demonstration does not include casual use of property by visitors or tourists which does not have an intent or likelihood of attracting a crowd.
"Public place" means any site accessible to the general public for business, entertainment, or other lawful purpose. It includes, but is not limited to, the front, immediate area, or parking lot of any store, shop, restaurant, tavern, shopping center, or other place of business; any public building, its grounds, or surrounding area; or any public parking lot, street, right-of-way, sidewalk, public park, or other public grounds.
A person violating these prohibitions is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
The committee recommended a different version of the bill than what was heard. PRO: The purpose of openly carrying a weapon at a protest is to intimidate people who are exercising their First amendment rights. It only serves to increase the risk of violence or death. We have seen armed groups engaged with peaceful protesters sometimes with deadly consequences. The most alarming trend is the increase of armed vigilante activity and intimidation with firearms. This bill is a common sense approach to ensure that weapons are not used to intimidate peaceful protesters. This bill is modeled after an existing law in the pro-gun state of Alabama. The bill does not prevent someone with a concealed carry permit to carry concealed. There is not a conflict with the Second Amendment. You are just limited to how and where you can exercise the Second Amendment similar to existing restrictions for courts, jails, and such. This is a reasonable restriction on the Second Amendment.
CON: Many citizens choose to exercise the right to open carry firearms every day without incident. Others find it necessary to openly carry in order to deter criminal behavior in their neighborhoods and businesses especially when there is an absence of law enforcement resources. The definition of demonstration is unconstitutionally vague where anyone at anytime for any reason expressing views or grievances that have the effect of attracting a crowd somehow constitutes a demonstration. There is no definition of a crowd. It is unconstitutional to remove one person's Second Amendment constitutional rights solely on the basis of another person, three football fields away, exercising their First Amendment rights. The enforcement of this new law is ripe for abuse and certain communities could be targeted.