The Louisville Metro Council’s Public Safety Committee will discuss a proposed ordinance this week that would take out guns in the city’s definition of deadly weapons.
The ordinance seeks to change Metro Government’s safety codes to include such things as knives, nightsticks, ninja star, nunchuck karate sticks and brass knuckles as violent weapons, but not firearms.
It also makes it illegal to sell those items to a minor or for residents under the age of 18 to carry them.
A new state law passed last year forbids cities from creating any gun control measures dealing with regulations on the sale, possession and transportation of firearms. As a result, city lawmakers are forced to take out language dealing with guns.
“The state passed legislation that takes any authority away from local municipalities from passing anything in regards to regulating firearms,” says Councilwoman Madonna Flood, D-24, who is sponsoring the amendment, adding the county attorney advised the state could bring charges against the city if the law isn’t changed.
Flood says the city should have a right to oversee its own public safety regulations particularly when it comes to firearms, but that the council’s hands are tied when it comes to gun control.
“Like any legislation there’s a common sense approach to everything, and Lexington, Louisville and the bigger cities, I believe that we should have some leeway when it comes to what we’re going to allow and not allow,” she says.
When asked earlier this month, Mayor Greg Fischer told WFPL illegal guns are a problem in Louisville and questioned the bill for prohibiting the creation of city gun laws.
A 122-page report compiled by the mayor’s violence prevent task force made a number of recommendations, however, the work group did not address the use of handguns. But a number of community activists have said the 28 percent increase in homicides last year is due in part to Kentucky’s lax handgun laws.
The public safety panel will discuss the ordinance this Wednesday at 5 p.m. in City Hall.