City council approves lifting gun restrictions
OLNEY — Olney residents may soon be able to defend them homes without fear of fines, if the city council approves a adopting an ordinance during its January 9, 2017 meeting.
As one of the first action items of 2017, the city council will vote whether to change the language in its current code of ordinances that would eliminate fines for a resident discharging a firearm in defense of his or her home or property.
“The current ordinance says that you cannot fire a firearm within city limits,” Police Chief Barry Roberts said. “The way it was worded, if someone was breaking into your home and you fired a gun to defend yourself, the courts may find you not guilty, but you may have to pay a $250 fine for firing a gun. This just cleaned up the language.”
While a well-armed citizenry may intimidate public officials in densely populated areas, Roberts believes well-armed citizens can be a benefit to smaller police departments like Olney.
“People may have rabid skunks and stuff like that come up in their yard,” Roberts said. “They will call for us and sometimes we may be busy with something else. This just gives them the opportunity to get rid of any animals that would have them or an imminent threat.”
Along with changing the gun discharge ordinance, Roberts also addressed applying for a bond that would cover the cost of federally mandated updates to the OPD’s reporting system, which would come from CopSync, a not-for-profit group specializing in funding law enforcement software updates.
“The federal government has decided we’re going to use something else,” Roberts said. “It’s called National Incident-Based Reporting System and all law enforcement has to be up-to-date by January or 2018. The software should cost around $7,500 or $8,000, at the most, to get it done.”
Roberts said there is nothing wrong with the current program, but with it may not be that way for long.
“We will not see a difference in our current operations, but if we don’t do it, the system we have dies January of 2018. Then they will force us to do it and we will not have grants,” he said.
The council also:
Appointed Ron Rogers and Jim Hirsch to three-year terms on the OIDC Board.
Discussed potentially canceling the Dec. 26 meeting.
Discussed potential contractual issues regarding garbage collection.