Archive for Saturday, March 10, 2007

Gun penalties, license system a challenge for commissioners

Downtown violence prompting city officials to take action

March 10, 2007

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Bar and nightclub owners could need a new license to do business in Lawrence

City Commissioners will discuss whether to create a new entertainment venue licensing system when they meet next week. Enlarge video

City commissioners soon will start deciding how heavy of a hammer they want to use when it comes to building a safer downtown.

At their Tuesday meeting, commissioners will consider an ordinance that would create mandatory jail time for people caught illegally carrying a gun within 200 feet of a drinking establishment. Commissioners also will discuss - although they're not expected to take any action - creating a system that would require "entertainment venues" to get a city license to operate.

The two proposals - especially the new licensing system - are expected to create some weighty issues for city commissioners.

"There are a lot of bar owners who have worked hard to correct any problems, but there clearly are some who have not done so," City Commissioner Sue Hack said. "The tough part of this is, do we punish everybody because a few people aren't doing what they are supposed to do?"

Both the gun ordinance and the licensing system would apply citywide, but the ideas have emerged largely because of concerns about gun-related violence in downtown Lawrence.

This week's discussion on an entertainment venue licensing system is expected to be the most detailed yet for the City Commission.

According to a staff memo prepared by city attorneys, the city has the legal authority to craft a broad ordinance. It could allow the city to revoke an entertainment license for any of these issues:

¢ Noise problems that affect the neighborhood.

¢ An accumulation of trash or litter in the surrounding area.

¢ An increase in criminal activity within the vicinity of the bar or club by patrons who are leaving or entering the establishment.

The possible regulations have sparked concern among some nightclub owners who fear a new licensing system would hinder many of the venues that have made downtown a regional drawing card.

"I'm a firm believer that downtown has been revitalized because there are thousands of people in downtown every night visiting the venues," said Nick Carroll, owner of the Replay Lounge, 946 Mass., and Jackpot Saloon and Music Hall, 943 Mass. "I think this could really hurt that because it seems like this just gives the city the ability to shut down any business that it wants to shut down. It sounds like the rules are so vague that they could be interpreted any way they want to interpret them."

City Manager David Corliss, though, has said the idea is worth looking at, in part, because the city has little ability to influence whether the state revokes a bar's liquor license.

A revocation of the proposed entertainment license would not stop a bar from selling liquor. Instead it would stop it from providing entertainment services. That could mean that a bar would be allowed to stay open but could not have music, dancing, films or other similar activities.

The idea to create mandatory jail time for people who illegally have a weapon within 200 feet of a bar is further along in the process.

Mayor Mike Amyx proposed the idea last month. The new ordinance would require a judge to sentence a first-time offender to 30 days in jail, a second-time offender to 90 days in jail and a third-time offender to 180 days. Fines also would be increased to a minimum of $250 to a maximum of $2,500.

"I think this might be a good deterrent," Amyx said. "It might cause people to stop and think before bringing a weapon around a bar."

Hack also said she supported the idea for mandatory jail time. Both Amyx and Hack said they thought the ordinance would necessitate the need for new signs in the downtown that warn people against bringing weapons near bars.

Commissioners will meet at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.

Comments

KsTwister 8 years, 4 months ago

Crooks don't care about laws in the first place; but go ahead spend less time on more important problems in Lawrence.

mom_of_three 8 years, 4 months ago

You aren't supposed to have guns in bars anyway, right?, no if the signs are posted big deal to those who legally have permits. The gun will be in your car anyway.

ASBESTOS 8 years, 4 months ago

This City Commission need to wake up and back the hell off this one. It is unconstitutional. Just this week the Supreme Court overturned Washinton, D.C.'s "Gun Ban" and limitations as violations of the second amendment. NOTHING shall infringe, and that is for all citizens not just militia's.

SO a person can OPEN carry and conceal carry within the state regulations within 200 ft or right in front of the establishment, just not go in.

As for what the City Commision SHOULD be working on with this issue is the revoking the business permit, and have increased patrols at these sites that are the problems and put the offenders in jail.

There already IS laws on the books that have the posession of a firearm in the commission of a crime.

USe and enforce those laws BEFORE you create new ones that are unconsitiutional and you will not enforcen anyway.

paladin 8 years, 4 months ago

Draconian laws and punishment do not solve social problems and cannot instill morality and change the values of a society. Consider the "war on drugs" and DUI legislation. They do, however, create more criminals and otherwise decent people who are forced to live outside the parameters of the law. And fill up jails to overflowing, which becomes another social problem. Guns are tools, nothing more. A hammer or a boxcutter can be used as a weapon. The reasons why some people feel the need to possess and carry weapons and are disposed to use them, must be addressed before any effective social change occurs. If that is perceived as too monumental a task, consider alternative solutions besides throwing laws and the threat of jail time at people to control their behavior. It doesn't work.

Sigmund 8 years, 4 months ago

Venue licensing is an idea whose time has come, however the provision that would punish bars and venues that have "An increase in criminal activity within the vicinity of the bar or club by patrons who are leaving or entering the establishment" sounds pretty vague and ripe for challenge. Afterall, it punishes a person for the acts others. If it is not unconstitutional it is certainly unfair.

prioress 8 years, 4 months ago

Melt 'em all down. Guns make interesting ashtrays folks can use in the bars while they are sitting there feeling "safe."

Flap Doodle 8 years, 4 months ago

& then we can wave our magic wands and turn all the criminals into fluffy bunnies.

ASBESTOS 8 years, 4 months ago

Caracalla:

"if you feel that you need to carry a gun to feel safe at a bar, go lock yourself in your cabin in the woods. i mean come on, i am a gun onwer but i am not going to feel safer knowing that half the people in the bar are packing heat."

IT IS ALREADY illegal to have a gun in a bar. DUH!

ASBESTOS 8 years, 4 months ago

IF you were a gun owner you have already known that. Give it a rest.

Any law like this OUTSIDE the bar is an infringement of the 2nd amendment as a Federal Court stated this week.

Do not wast enymore time regulating the guns, get rid of the criminals with the gun and impose sentence on those establishments that draw this "clientele".

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 years, 4 months ago

Yet another attempt to show that they are doing something. The above posts tell it all,

CRIMINALS DO CRIME!

IF YOU MAKE IT A CRIME TO CARRY A GUN NEAR A BAR, THERE WILL BE THOSE LINING UP TO SHOW THAT NO DAMNED LAW WILL STOP THEM, THEY ARE GONNA GET (PICK YOUR TARGET) AND NO %r^&^#%^& LAW IS GONNA STOP THEM!!!!

That is the culture of the present society, idiots who think their aura is enhanced by ebracing a shootin' iron. People who send their kids to train to shoot a gun straight. Numbskulls who think that laws are for someone else, NOT ME!!!!!!!!

You are blowing sunshine up everyones skirt and shorts.

Do something that is significant, like making red signs illegal or make more square and narrow roundabouts.

Jamesaust 8 years, 4 months ago

"Any law like this OUTSIDE the bar is an infringement of the 2nd amendment as a Federal Court stated this week."

That's b/s intended to fool those who don't have time (or inclination) to become informed themselves. Shame on people telling lies in this forum.

The case involved a challenge to laws virtually banning handguns in D.C. (some foolishness about D.C. able to do more because it isn't literally a state), an extreme prohibition, which in turned brought forth an equally extreme court decision.

But the federal court was quite clear: "That is not to suggest that the government is absolutely barred from regulating the use and ownership of pistols. The protections of the Second Amendment are subject to the same sort of reasonable restrictions" as other rights. Prohibiting guns around bars is no less part of the state's police powers than prohibiting them in the hands of the insane.

Indeed, while this particular court's decision is rather extreme and likely, at least in part, to be overturned on appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled already that restrictions on concealed weapons ARE NOT limited by the 2nd Amendment (Robertson v. Baldwin) - and it did so over a century ago (as if concern over concealed weapons was some recent phenomena).

Janet Lowther 8 years, 4 months ago

As I understand it, the "200 feet of a bar" ordinance is in violation of a state preemption statue from the 2005 legislature, which forbids local governments from adopting ordinances with respect to firearms more stringent than the state has passed.

This is why no case has ever gone to trial with a "not guilty" plea under that ordinance. What prosecutions there have been, have mostly been for "felon in possession" or drug offenses: The city prosecutor KNOWS he can't win a case if he brings it to trial.

So why are they wasting their time talking about this? The only reason it hasn't been overturned already is that there has never been a contested case brought before a court.

ASBESTOS 8 years, 4 months ago

""Any law like this OUTSIDE the bar is an infringement of the 2nd amendment as a Federal Court stated this week."

That's b/s intended to fool those who don't have time (or inclination) to become informed themselves. Shame on people telling lies in this forum."

Often wrong James is wrong again. I just told you the Federal Appeals court overrode the Washington D.C. gun ban, and you took it COMPLETELY out of context. You just hate guns, and are an anti-gun person. I am not talking about restrictions on Concealed Carry. Remember I also talked about OPEN CARRY which IS LEGAL IN KANSAS.

James, you are again WRONG, and completely out of context.

James, you are again WRONG, and completely out of context.

James, you are again WRONG, and completely out of context.

Jamesaust 8 years, 4 months ago

The D.C. case is not about concealed carry but rather sale, possession, storage - in short, everything about - handguns. The only context I "took it" was in the context you used it. I didn't take it out of context - YOU lied about it and I called you on it. (Note: you don't seem to have disputed any substance of my observation about the case, ergo, you know perfectly well that I'm correct.)

I find it difficult for gun owners to be "anti-gun" persons. (Any more than Republicans criticizing W to be "Bush haters" or Christians criticizing fundamentalists to be "anti-Christian.)

Your sentence (really, paragraph) IN CONTEXT is: "Any law like this OUTSIDE the bar is an infringement of the 2nd amendment as a Federal Court stated this week." That's a FALSE statement. Rather than admit this, you're playing childish games and making a fool of yourself.

Godot 8 years, 4 months ago

""There are a lot of bar owners who have worked hard to correct any problems, but there clearly are some who have not done so," City Commissioner Sue Hack said. "The tough part of this is, do we punish everybody because a few people aren't doing what they are supposed to do?"

The question is, do we govern a city the way a teacher controls a classroom?

Jamesaust 8 years, 4 months ago

jrlii - Its an interesting comment but, like many hastily crafted laws, the states firearms laws aren't quite so clear, here, in two ways:

  1. Cities are not excluded from citing an exemption to the law as "property owners." Many areas where the people in question here are "operating" are on city-owned property. As such, cities, like any other property owner, are free to prohibit firearms.

  2. Arguably, the City is not regulating the firearm but rather adjusting the criminal punishment for violating the STATE'S statute. Therefore, the City isn't regulating firearm use at all but rather enhancing punishment for what is already illegal by Kansas law. (Whether that will fly, I doubt.)

Nevertheless, the are enough Kansas cities with ordinances regulating firearms (many a century old) that the Kansas House is reviewing legislation by gun-proponents to "correct" any limitation in the statute that allows for additional, local regulation. By implication, even proponents recognize that the matter is hardly open-and-shut.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 4 months ago

"Posted by cool (anonymous) on March 10, 2007 at 12:15 p.m. (Suggest removal) Having a limit on gun near a bar is not punishing anyone ! HACK is wrong on this one. we all have a reasonable expectation to go downtown without encounterinig ANY GUNS !"

Just stay home under the bed, that'll be safer.

ASBESTOS 8 years, 4 months ago

""Any law like this OUTSIDE the bar is an infringement of the 2nd amendment as a Federal Court stated this week." That's a FALSE statement."

NO it is not. What part of the appeals court opinion (which you obviously did NOT read) stating "shall not be infringed" did you not get?

Here is the quote from the opinion:

""The operative clause, properly read, protects the ownership and use of weaponry beyond that needed to preserve the state militias. Again, we point out that if the competent drafters of the Second Amendment had meant the right to be limited to the protection of state militias, it is hard to imagine that they would have chosen the language they did. We therefore take it as an expression of the drafters' view that the people possessed a natural right to keep and bear arms, and that the preservation of the militia was the right's most salient political benefit-and thus the most appropriate to express in a political document." Silberman said in his opinion, however, the Second Amendment is still "subject to the same sort of reasonable restrictions that have been recognized as limiting, for instance, the First Amendment," including gun registration, firearms testing and restrictions on ownership for criminals or the mentally ill. "

Did not say a thing about where a legal person can carry.

Jamesaust 8 years, 4 months ago

Asbestos, quote 1: "Did not say a thing about where a legal person can carry."

Asbestos, quote 2: "Any law like this OUTSIDE the bar is an infringement of the 2nd amendment as a Federal Court stated this week."

Query: are you lying in quote 1 or in quote 2? (For goodness sake, get your lies straight.)

yellowhouse 8 years, 4 months ago

Better be careful, In Lawrence you could end up being charged with an unconstitutional Vague Law, if they dont like you!

http://www.forums.larryville.com/viewtopic.php?p=91333#91333

ASBESTOS 8 years, 4 months ago

"Asbestos, quote 1: "Did not say a thing about where a legal person can carry."

Asbestos, quote 2: "Any law like this OUTSIDE the bar is an infringement of the 2nd amendment as a Federal Court stated this week.""

Both are saying the same thing, you took the first quote out of context, but that is your standard Modus Operandi. The first quote was from my last post, and the meaning was quite clear (except for you James that cannot read) that the "restrictions", were on things other than the right to possess and carry. The Restrictions were: "Did not say a thing about where a legal person can carry." THAT is what I meant by your taking things out of context. Clear as water.

So both of the quotes were saying the same thing: The court stated that the right shall not be infringed with a legal person.

Jamesaust 8 years, 4 months ago

"The court stated that the right shall not be infringed with a legal person."

This is babble without meaning and betrays any understanding of the word "infringe." The District in the case you refer to all but banned handguns in D.C. The Court struck this down as an excessive, unreasonable curtailment of the 2nd Amendment. What you WISH the Court had said was that no regulation of firearms is allowable, which the Court, as I quoted, declaimed.

(I would also note that nine equal U.S. Federal Appellate Courts have rejected the theory that the D.C. Court used. Normally, such a "split" would foretell review by the Supreme Court, but considering that the D.C. Court's decision is only binding upon the District itself and no State at all, the Supremes might just let matters lie with all but one other Appellate Court rejecting such an extreme view of the 2nd Amendment.)

"So both of the quotes were saying the same thing"

Just like in Wonderland: March Hare: :Then you should say what you mean. Alice: I do; at least - at least I mean what I say -- that's the same thing, you know. Hatter: Not the same thing a bit! Why, you might just as well say that, 'I see what I eat' is the same as 'I eat what I see'!

ASBESTOS 8 years, 4 months ago

"The Court struck this down as an excessive, unreasonable curtailment of the 2nd Amendment. What you WISH the Court had said was that no regulation of firearms is allowable, which the Court, as I quoted, declaimed."

That is not what it said. How can you be so dense? Oh yeah, you do not deal with reality, especially when it goes against your liberal talking points you have memorized. You James need to buy a clue.

""The court stated that the right shall not be infringed with a legal person.""

Directly from the opinion, you moron!

Jamesaust 8 years, 4 months ago

"Directly from the opinion, you moron!"

Those words, directly or indirectly, appear nowhere in the opinion.

Its here: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/circs/dc/047041a.pdf I read it Friday. Do not comment again until you have read it.

Maybe in whatever hole you live in you can b/s your way around. Maybe is some NRA echo-chamber where extremism is termed moderation someone is convinced. But no one in the real world is impressed. You lied, got called on it, and then again. And then you repeated those lies even when the evidence was placed directly in your face.

Oh, and for the record, being an ignorant blowhard is not being a "conservative" - Ann Coulter notwithstanding.

Jamesaust 8 years, 4 months ago

In a world where mental midgetry is equated with "conservatism" all men are giants.

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