Rules for gun use under the Macon-Bibb County consolidated government are still up in the air.
The task force working on consolidation stepped back from adopting either the current city or county rules on firearms as the new standard. Instead, the task forces Laws Committee will look at the rules approved by other consolidated governments before sending on a formal recommendation to the task force.
If we hurry, were likely to make mistakes, Macon City Councilman Tom Ellington said.
Theres a big difference in how the city and county currently manage firearms, said former City Attorney Pope Langstaff. The city bans any gun discharge without special permission, while the county allows hunting as long as its away from other houses.
Monday the committee debated several proposed ordinance chapters sent back for slight alteration by the full task force, and some newly reconciled chapters as proposed by Langstaff and Betty Hudson of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government. Langstaff and Carl Vinson Institute staff have been retained as consultants to help merge existing sets of laws.
Firearms came under the code offenses heading. Langstaff said many of the listed offenses had been unchanged for decades, and he recommended deleting some. One of those suggestions was deletion of citing people for merely being in the presence of illegal drugs. But in the end, that city offense was left in the recommended code.
Municipal Court Judge Robert Faulkner said that charge is primarily used on passengers in cars with an overwhelming smell of marijuana.
Langstaff noted that as now worded, anyone in the same building where illegal drugs are found -- not just marijuana -- technically could be charged. Sheriff David Davis said that wording is too broad, but Faulkner said that he, at least, would drop such a charge against anyone who obviously had no connection with drug use in another apartment.
Also kept were the city rule that charges $10 per day as a fine for banks that dont record foreclosure deeds when required and the city standards for wheelchairs and scooters on roadways.
Assistant City Attorney Stuart Morelli said the city wheelchair and scooter rules, enacted in the past year, treats those vehicles the same as pedestrians -- except for letting operators pretend theyre a car in areas where the speed limit is below 35 mph.
In other business, the committee was asked to reconsider how the new government will pay for street lights -- by covering costs out of the general fund as the city does, or charging adjoining property owners, which is the practice of Bibb County.
After some debate, Laws Committee members decided to send both options back to the full task force, and perhaps let the new government itself work out the issue instead of just receiving a formal recommendation from the task force.