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Council Not Unanimous, But Supports Gun Control Task Force

The Benicia City Council will send a resolution in support of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.

The Benicia City Council voted Tuesday to voice its support for a Congressional task force seeking to reduce gun violence.

The council was discussing a resolution that would be sent to Rep. Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena), who chairs the recently created Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. A letter included in the staff report signed by Mayor Elizabeth Patterson and Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis has already been submitted to Thompson's office.

Council members said they wanted to show their support for more stringent gun regulation while preserving the Second Amendment.

"In speaking with [Thompson] I believe he is truly looking out for the Second Amendment and people's rights to own guns, but he wants to do it in a common sense way," Council Member Alan Schwartzman said.

At least one resident in attendance disagreed. Dennis Lowry said any increases in gun control will needlessly punish law-abiding citizens.

"A little bit is a lot when it comes to constitutional rights," Lowry told the council.

Patterson said the resolution and any changes proposed by the task force likely wouldn't affect California, because the state already has such strict gun laws.

The resolution being discussed Tuesday mostly voiced support for "the work of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force," but also included two points that led to disagreement among the council. The resolution stated that "meaningful regulation of assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines is needed," and also indicated support for stronger background checks and safeguards against those with mental health issues owning guns.

Council Member Mark Hughes said the council should be less specific and let the task force make its own decisions about possible solutions.

"Something needs to be done to address the issue, but I'm not comfortable saying this is exactly what I support," he said. 

Council Member Christina Strawbridge said she had a cousin who shot himself at 18; the cousin had mental health issues that weren't properly addressed, and she wanted to be sure to show support for mental health treatment, she said.  

The resulting disagreement led to the council approving the resolution twice: once by a 3-2 vote without the sections on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and mental health treatment, and once by a 4-1 vote with those section in tact. The latter version, which Hughes opposed, will be sent to the congressman's office.

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The Benicia school board will discuss a similar item Thursday evening. Click here for more information.

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T. Gunter February 06, 2013 at 09:59 PM
CA gun laws are a great model for the rest of the country. We already have quite reasonable gun laws here. Why any city in California would feel the need to get involved in this issue is beyond me.
Marnix A. van Ammers February 07, 2013 at 04:23 AM
"any increases in gun control will needlessly punish law-abiding citizens." Needlessly? It's not needless if it can save lives. It's not needless if it can reduce injuries. It's not needless if it reduces the fear that drives people to buying more guns just to feel safe. What is needed is reasonableness.
Joe Feltcher February 07, 2013 at 05:56 AM
Agreed. There was an article with a graphic in Time (which I am sure none of the imbeciles here take the time to read) which showed California as having the most rules and regulations regarding guns. In fact California was one of only 2 states that matched ALL the criteria.
"The Black Panther of Poetry" February 07, 2013 at 11:18 AM
And why do you people have this fear. I will tell you why, you need more God in your heart. Try it, fear is a lonely man....when love is there!!!
Robert Livesay February 07, 2013 at 04:29 PM
Excellent comment T. We do agree on many things.
T. Gunter February 07, 2013 at 05:46 PM
Or, take Aesop fables into your heart. Live by the innate human moral code exemplified in these ancient tales.
Babaloo February 07, 2013 at 08:25 PM
You people are lemmings. The only people who have " gun control" on their minds are those who wish to CONTROL you . Ie Hitler, Stalin.. Killed millions of people with " gun control". This group needs to be voted out of office. They can't run our city, how do you expect them to fix bigger issues.
Gary W Smith February 07, 2013 at 08:29 PM
Power brokers in this Administration, Congress or Judiciary are guarded by men with guns......and we can not be our own guards; now there's a double standard. Give up personal security but never discuss real issues that proceeded gun violence, i.e.: • destruction of the two-parent family, • providing countless legislation giving criminals more rights than victims, • failing to inculcate responsibility for one's self and others • failure to care for the mentally ailing , • lip-service to Higher Authority (God/anyone's) while sustaining a frontal assault on churches and values If we are concerned about citizen death, why is the priority explored extremist weapon when baseline causes ignored. Reviewing death statistics of 'Killed in 2011 homicide and weapons statics', FBI.gov Table 20-(by weapons type) shows homicide numbers as follows: (1) handguns -6220; (2) Rifles/shotguns - 674; (3) knives - 1694; (4) other weapons (e.g. hammers) 1659 and (5) fists-728. If one examines the 2010 CA vehicular statics on death, 12,047 fatalities exist (NHTSA-FAR/Gov); 2012 - 330,000 abortion deaths(children). Where is the prioritization on most significant causes and address it? Were high capacity magazines or assault rifles the problem, John F. Kennedy would have served a second term and Martin Luther King would still be among us.
Lynne P February 08, 2013 at 01:26 AM
I'm with Strawbridge, we need to concentrate more on mental health. Ca has enough gun control laws.
Babaloo February 08, 2013 at 03:23 PM
why is the city council wasting our tax dollars on such garbage ? why don't they renovate a building no one uses, or create another eye sore ( no where near their homes). or better yet,,just burn the money,,it's easier...waste of time.

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