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Friday, March 26, 2010

Joel Pett Reacts To The Story About Bringing Guns To Kentucky's Capitol. Share Your Thoughts With Us.

Capitol gun ban put on hold
By Roger Alford

FRANKFORT — House leaders balked Thursday at a proposed rule change that would have barred visitors from toting guns in the Capitol.

As a result, House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Thursday he won’t call for a vote on the issue in the five days remaining in the current legislative session.

“It’s still somewhat questionable what can be done, so we’re going to look at it during the interim,” he said.

Some House lawmakers have been pressing for such a ban after an unidentified man wore a holstered gun into the House chamber earlier this week and sat through an afternoon session.

State Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, said he intends to continue pushing to change rules in the House that allows visitors to bring guns into the chamber as long as they’re carried openly. The Senate has a similar rule, but it hasn’t been an issue.

The rules allow lawmakers who have permits to carry concealed weapons to bring guns into the House and Senate.

Wayne said spectators shouldn’t be allowed to have guns where lawmakers routinely deal with emotionally charged issues.

“We’re fish in a barrel,” Wayne said. “It’s not acceptable.”

Republicans in the House objected to the proposed ban, saying people have a constitutional right to openly carry firearms wherever they wish. Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, said GOP lawmakers are “unanimously opposed to any further restriction on a person’s right to lawfully carry a firearm.”

Democrats met privately on Wednesday to discuss the proposed rule change, which would have required visitors to check their guns in the speaker’s office.

Sgt. Brian Evans, head of Capitol security, said a gun-rights advocate openly wore a handgun into the Capitol twice in the past three weeks. Because the state has no prohibition against doing so, Evans said security didn’t stop the man.

State Rep. Ken Upchurch, R-Monticello, said Democratic lawmakers had overreacted to that situation.
“I just don’t foresee anyone coming into the gallery and starting shooting,” he said

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