A bungled resolution

Council opted for politics over fairness

At its meeting last week, the Chico City Council bungled its handling of a proposed resolution in support of the Second Amendment.

Yes, council members voted unanimously to reaffirm their oaths to support the Constitution, including the Second Amendment, but that wasn’t what the resolution called for.

Let’s take another look at it. Although it was commonly described as an affirmation of support for the Second Amendment, it didn’t actually say that. Rather, it called for the council to do three specific things: (1) to state that it could not “abide by any provision infringing upon the Second Amendment”; (2) to state that it agreed with Butte County Sheriff Jerry Smith “in supporting the rights of mentally stable, law-abiding citizens to possess firearms”; and (3) to affirm that, “given the comprehensive body of law that already exists in California, [it] does not believe additional regulation is warranted….”

There was no good reason not to discuss and debate these matters. A group of citizens brought them forward for that purpose. The council has discussed resolutions brought forward by other groups, and even voted on them. So why not this one?

There’s a simple answer to that: politics. The man behind the resolution was defeated conservative council candidate Toby Schindelbeck, and he clearly was trying to put the liberal members of the council on the spot. They responded by dodging, and the two conservative members, Sean Morgan and Mark Sorensen, went along with it.

At one point Morgan made a motion, seconded by Sorensen, to approve the original resolution. But the council members voted instead to reaffirm their oaths. There was no discussion of the resolution’s content, no vote was taken on Morgan’s motion, and Mayor Mary Goloff let it disappear from view.

If the council allows its meetings to become forums on important issues, something we support, it must be open to all perspectives. It can’t welcome discussion of a “corporate personhood” resolution, for example, and dodge a gun-rights resolution. To do so may be politically convenient, but it’s also hypocritical.