State lawmakers moved on two fronts Monday to let more people bring their weapons into government buildings.
On a 16-13 vote the Senate approved legislation allowing anyone with a gun, open or concealed, to ignore “no weapons” signs on public buildings if there are not lockers to secure them immediately available. SB 1063 now goes to the House.
Current law permits government agencies to declare their buildings to be weapons-free zones. Aside from posting that sign at the door, it requires that there be storage “readily accessible” on entering the building and allowing for the “immediate retrieval of the weapon” on leaving.
Proponents of the legislation said some government agencies were ignoring that requirement for the accessible lockers. They said this measure sends a clear message: Comply with the law or allow guns.
In a separate vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee agreed to permit some gun owners to carry their guns into buildings, lockers or not.
HB 2339, which already has been approved by the House, applies to the more than 215,000 who have undergone a state-approved training class and background check which allows them to carry a concealed weapon. It says they can ignore "no guns'' signs and lockers and keep their weapons with them in the building.
Only if a government agency puts an armed guard and metal detector at each public entrance could it enforce the gun ban.
In a separate vote, the same committee approved HB 2517. It requires a court to impose a $5,000 fine against any government official, elected or appointed, who knowingly enforces any local ordinance with contradicts state laws.
Committee members also voted to make it a felony to take someone's weapon from them unless it is in self defense.