COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — Columbus is about to clarify its ban on weapons in city-owned properties.
When a new state law took effect this summer to allow non-concealed guns to be carried in public places, Columbus and most local governments across the area passed rules banning guns in government owned properties.
Tuesday night, the Columbus City Council will consider an ordinance that will take better define those bans.
The law would prohibit a variety of weapons ranging from guns of all kinds to sling shots from what are called sensitive areas.
Those include city buildings where government bodies meet and all public parks. Violators can be fined up to $350.
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF COLUMBUS, MISSISSIPPI
AN ORDINANCE TO ESTABLISH CONSTITUTIONALLY PERMITTED, REASONABLE RESTRICTIONS ON THE CARRYING OF FIREARMS OR WEAPONS IN OR UPON PROPERTY OWNED OR CONTROLLED BY THE CITY OF COLUMBUS, TO ESTABLISH EXEMPTIONS THEREFROM AND TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION.
THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF COLUMBUS, MISSISSIPPI ADOPT THIS ORDINANCE AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. PURPOSE
The CITY OF COLUMBUS, Mississippi, as a political subdivision of the State of Mississippi, recognizes the right of the people to keep and bear arms pursuant to the Constitutions of The United States of America (Bill of Rights, Amendment 2) and the State of Mississippi (Article III, Section 12).
While recognizing the right of the people to keep and bear arms, the CITY OF COLUMBUS, Mississippi, concurrently recognizes the responsibility of the people to exercise good judgment in their conduct and responsibility in the exercise of the right to bear arms. There being a compelling interest on the part of the CITY OF COLUMBUS, Mississippi, to promote, preserve and protect the safety and security of citizens and employees of the CITY OF COLUMBUS, Mississippi, the governing authority finds and determines that it is in the best interest of all citizens of the CITY OF COLUMBUS, Mississippi, that certain restrictions be placed upon the carrying of any weapon or firearm in or upon areas of the CITY OF COLUMBUS, Mississippi, that such governing authority has found and determined herein as Sensitive Areas.
SECTION 2. DEFINITIONS
As used in this Ordinance, the following terms and words shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates that a different meaning is intended.
(a) “Sensitive Area” means any Premises owned or controlled by the CITY OF COLUMBUS, Mississippi, that is identified as such in this ordinance. Such classification is reached because those areas are localities where controversies personal to individuals or corporations could potentially lead to loss of property rights, liberty, or deal with fines and forfeitures, the opposing parties of which are often elected officials or appointed boards, commissions and officials, prosecutors, advocates, referees, and arbitrators as well as individuals impacted by decisions of such persons or entities. Likewise, locations where competitions are emotionally charged and where sporting participants are engaged in games involving physical contact, passions and where referees and judges are called upon to make decisions that impact the outcome of such competitions shall be defined as Sensitive Areas.
(b) “Weapon” means a bowie knife, dirk knife, butcher knife, switchblade knife, metallic knuckles, blackjack, slingshot, pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or any fully automatic firearm or deadly weapon.
(c) “Firearm” means a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or any fully automatic firearm.
(d) “Possess” means to be in actual, physical possession of, or to know of its presence, or to have physical control of it, or to have the ability to control it.
(e) “Premises” means real property, land and improvements, buildings, walkways, entry ways, or other structure appurtenant to a building.
SECTION 3. RESTRICTION ON POSSESSION OF WEAPON/FIREARM
No Person shall Possess, either openly or in a concealed fashion (as set forth in Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-1, et seq.), a Firearm or Weapon in, on or upon any Sensitive Areas, which said areas as designated herein hold public meetings of the City as contemplated by Miss. Code Ann. § 45-9-53(1)(f).
SECTION 4. DESIGNATION OF SENSITIVE AREAS
The Mayor and CITY COUNCIL designate the following Premises to be Sensitive Areas subject to the provisions of this Ordinance:
a. At any public meeting of the Mayor and City Council or any other elective or appointed Board of Commission meeting within the municipal boundaries of the City;
b. Recreational Facilities, and all buildings and community centers located on such recreational facilities, which are hereby defined as Public Parks, and shall include, but not be limited to the following locations:
Propst Park, Townsend Park, Sims Scott Park; The CLRA Soccer Complex; Joe Cook Soccer Complex; Hank Aaron Park; Townsend Park; Sandfield Park and Community Center; East Columbus Park; Lee Park; Northaven Woods Park; and Riverside Park and Riverwalk including the Tenn-Tom Pedestrian Bridge;
c. Any and all political rallies;
d. Any and all parades;
e. Any and all official political meetings;
f. Any and all non-firearm related schools;
g. Any and all non-firearm related colleges;
h. Any and all non-firearm related professional athletic events; and
i. Any municipal court when in session.
SECTION 5. EXEMPTIONS
This Ordinance shall not apply to the following Persons:
a. Any bona fide uniformed law enforcement officer on active duty, regardless of jurisdiction;
b. Any Person authorized by the MAYOR and CITY COUNCIL to be permitted to possess a Firearm or Weapon in a Sensitive Area;
d. Any Person possessing a valid Enhanced Conceal Carry Permit issued by the State of Mississippi pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-7 (1972), as amended.
SECTION 6. PENALTY
Any Person who violates this Ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined in an amount of not less than $100.00 nor more than $350.00 for a first offense. Upon conviction of a repeated violation, which means a second or subsequent violation of this Ordinance committed by a Person within any THIRTY SIX (36) month period, said person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined in an amount of not less than $350.00 nor more than $500.00. After the third violation of this Ordinance committed by a Person within any THIRTY SIX (36) month period, the person so convicted shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined in an amount of not less than $500.00 nor more than $999.00 and/or shall be incarcerated for a period of between THIRTY (30) days and ninety (90) days in jail.
SECTION 7. ENFORCEMENT
The provisions of this Ordinance shall be enforced by the Chief of Police for the CITY OF COLUMBUS, Mississippi, or any designee thereof.
SECTION 8. SEVERABILITY AND CAPTIONS
This Ordinance and the various parts, sections, subsections, phrases and clauses thereof are hereby declared to be severable. If any part, section, subsection, sentence, phrase or clause is adjudged unconstitutional or invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of the Ordinance shall not be affected thereby. The Captions included at the beginning of each Section are for convenience only and shall not be considered a part of this Ordinance.
SECTION 9. REPEAL
All resolutions, ordinances, orders or parts thereof in conflict in whole or in part with any of the provisions of this Ordinance are, to the extent of such conflict, hereby repealed.
SECTION 10. ADMINISTRATIVE LIABILITY
No officer, agent, employee or member of the City shall render himself or herself personally liable for any damage that may occur to any person or entity as a result of any act or decision performed in the discharge of his or her duties and responsibilities pursuant to this Ordinance.
SECTION 11. PLACEMENT OF SIGNAGE
The Chief of Police or the designee thereof, or any other person selected by the Mayor, shall be authorized to place, and shall cause to be placed, appropriate signage on, in or near the facilities listed as Sensitive Areas in this Ordinance in order to carry out the provisions of this Ordinance. Said signage shall provide adequate notice to all citizens attempting to enter said Sensitive Areas that the carrying of weapons therein is prohibited. It is the intent of this Ordinance that notification signs be placed within the parking facilities of said Sensitive Areas, including but not limited to the entry points of said parking facilities.
SECTION 12. EFFECTIVE DATE
This Ordinance shall be effective thirty (30) days from and after its passage.
ROBERT E. SMITH, SR., Mayor
CITY OF COLUMBUS
MILTON RAWLE, SECRETARY/TREASURER
The above and foregoing Resolution was enacted upon the Motion of Council Member _________________________________, said Motion was seconded by Council Member _________________________________, with the following Council Members voting as shown (yea or nay) below:
Council Member Taylor: _________
Council Member Mickens: __________
Council Member Box: __________
Council Member Turner: __________
Council Member Karriem: __________
Council Member Gavin: __________
WITNESS my signature this the ______ day of ________________________, 2013.
SECRETARY / TREASURER