SPOKANE, Wash. -- President Barack Obama's plan to curb gun violence is getting a lukewarm reception from key congressional leaders. The president wants Congress to require background checks for all gun sales and ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The sweeping $500 million plan comes one month after the Connecticut school massacre.
Spokane City councilman Mike Fagan said he's disappointed in the President's proposals and believes there's been a knee-jerk reaction to the shooting in Connecticut.
Now he and another Spokane City council member, Jon Snyder, are introducing non-binding resolutions that will bring city leaders into the national gun control and gun violence debate.
In Fagan's resolution, which he proposed Wednesday, he would oppose any legislation that he believes would infringe upon the right to bear arms or that which he believes would be unconstitutional.
With this resolution, he said he's looking for other elected officials to validate the oath of office to protect Second Amendment rights.
"Having been a veteran, I've already taken this oath several times," Fagan said. "As I've already stated, the framers and the founders had good reason to make that amendment to our constitution ... because they knew in our future, they knew we were going to be confronted with tyranny."
Meanwhile, Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder is proposing a series of changes to state laws that are geared toward reducing gun violence. One proposal would close a state loophole that lets juveniles avoid jail time for unlawful possession of a gun if they have fewer than five felonies. He also proposed tightening jail penalties for juveniles caught unlawfully carrying guns.
Snyder believes eastern Washington has been largely left out of the national discussion on gun violence and would like Spokane's voice to be heard.
Both city council members believe now is the time to go over local statutes with a fine-tooth comb.
City council members could get a chance to review them on February 4
**COUNCILMAN MIKE FAGAN'S RESOLUTION:
Resolution No. ______
A resolution regarding the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
WHEREAS, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed and is guaranteed as an individual right under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and under the Constitution of the State of Washington; and
WHEREAS, the right of the people to keep and bear arms for defense of life, liberty, and property is regarded as an inalienable right by the citizens of the City of Spokane; and
WHEREAS, the citizens of the City of Spokane, derive economic benefit from all safe forms of firearms recreation, hunting, and shooting conducted within Spokane County using all types of firearms allowable under the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Washington; and
WHEREAS, the Spokane City Council, being elected to represent the citizens of the City of Spokane and being duly sworn by their oath of office to uphold the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Washington; and
WHEREAS, proposed legislation now, and in the future under consideration by the Federal Government and the Washington State Legislature would infringe the right to keep and bear arms and would ban the possession and use of certain firearms now protected for individual citizens of the City of Spokane, for defense of life, liberty and property and would ban the possession and use of certain firearms now employed for safe forms of firearms recreation, hunting and shooting conducted within Spokane County, Washington.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Spokane that the City Council does hereby oppose the enactment of any legislation that would infringe upon the right of the people to keep and bear arms and consider such laws to be unconstitutional and beyond lawful legislative authority.
**COUNCILMAN JON SNYDER'S RESOLUTION:
Resolution No. _____
A Resolution in support of changing Washington State law to reduce firearm violence.
WHEREAS, under current Washington State law a juvenile must be convicted of five felonies before a conviction of unlawful possession of a firearm results in a sentence at the Juvenile Rehabilitation Authority of 15 to 36 weeks; and
WHEREAS, current Washington State law also calls for a mandatory 10 day sentence for the first four convictions for unlawful possession of a firearm by a juvenile but sentencing alternatives known as local sanctions can often render the 10 day sentence meaningless; and
WHEREAS, according to a study by the Violence Policy Center gun deaths in Washington surpassed traffic fatalities in 2009 and according to the Washington State Department of Health over 100 children were killed and over 150 children hospitalized as a result of gun related violence and accidents from 2006-2010; and
WHEREAS, HB 1096 would change current State Law for unlawful possession of a firearm by a juvenile would make it so a juvenile serves a mandatory 10 day sentence on their first conviction by eliminating local sanctions sentencing alternatives to the 10 day mandatory sentence and would make it so they would serve 15 to 36 weeks in Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration for their second conviction; and
WHEREAS, The King County Prosecuting Attorney along with an anti-gun violence organization, Cease Fire Washington, and the organization known as Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, a Bellevue based gun rights organization with over six hundred thousand members nationwide support these changes in the law regarding unlawful possession of a firearm for juveniles; and
WHEREAS, some violent offenders who may not be competent to stand trial can be released as they do not meet the current definition of incompetent that would allow them to be civilly committed and get their hands on a firearm to commit another violent offense; and
WHERES, Representative Jamie Pederson has brought forward HB 1114 with bipartisan support that would make it easier to civilly commit violent offenders who are not competent to stand trial but can currently be released as they do not meet the current definition of incompetent that would allow for civil commitment, Now, Therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SPOKANE that the City Council urges the Washington State Legislature to support:
1. HB 1096 for the proposed changes for unlawful possession of a firearm by a juvenile, to make it so any violator will face more serious consequences for transgressing the law;@
2. HB 1114 that would make it easier to civilly commit violent offenders who are not competent to stand trial but do not currently meet the definition of incompetent that would allow commitment for a period of time instead of immediate release; and
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