09Jun Rep. Howell bill prohibiting gun ordinances in violation of state law passes House committee Categories: Howell News,News A House bill introduced by state Rep. Gary Howell of North Branch that would penalize local officials who knowingly enact or enforce gun ordinances which violate state law passed on Wednesday in the House Committee on Local Government.No one testified against the bill when it came before the committee for a vote.“This legislation simply enforces a state firearms preemption law that has been on the books since 1990. I would note that this is not a partisan issue. The 1990 firearms preemption law was passed by a Democrat House and signed into law by Democrat Governor James Blanchard. Twenty-seven years is far more than enough time for municipalities to come into compliance with the law,” Howell said. “This bill will protect the pivotal right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms as spelled out in the Constitution of the United States, and will help them defend themselves and their families.”Added Howell: “Without the penalty provisions contained in this bill, local officials could continue to enact ordinances in violation of state law and the Michigan Constitution. I am pleased to report that I am not aware of any Lapeer County municipalities that have adopted such illegal ordinances.”Howell explained support for the bill has flowed in from residents.“I have received a significant number of phone calls and emails from residents of my district in support of this legislation. I am very proud that it has the full support of both the Michigan State Police and the National Rifle Association,” Howell said. “I am also pleased to report that I have received a high volume of positive comments and feedback as I have conducted my office hours in the district.”House Bill 4616 would protect law-abiding gun owners who comply with state law from being forced to defend themselves in court at their own expense in order to prove that ordinance citations issued against them are invalid.The measure provides that municipalities will have 60 days after the effective date of the bill to repeal all remaining invalid ordinances. Any local unit of government refusing or neglecting to repeal such ordinances could then be sued by the Attorney General or any citizen in circuit court.Under Rep. Howell’s bill, anyone proposing to sue a municipality would have to give 90 days written notice to the municipality in order to provide the local unit of government a final chance to repeal an invalid ordinance.The bill stipulates that a court would be obligated to issue an injunction against further enforcement, order that such ordinances be repealed, and assess costs and attorney fees against the offending municipality. In addition, any local elected official who knowingly and willfully enacts or enforces such ordinances would be subject to fines between $500 and $2,500.“The Michigan Constitution in Article I, Section 6 clearly states that ‘every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of themselves and the state’,” Howell said. “To force law-abiding citizens to defend themselves in court and also pay the costs, especially when one considers they are simply defending themselves in court to exercise their basic American rights, is a slap in the face.”Howell added: “I will not allow our citizens’ Constitutional rights to be infringed upon by illegal local ordinances.”HB 4616 now moves to the House floor for further consideration, where it could come up for a vote as soon as next week.PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Gary Howell, member of the House Local Government Committee, provides testimony in favor of House Bill 4616, which was recommended to the House floor on Wednesday for further consideration.