ESCANABA - Escanaba City Council showed its support for the Constitutional right to own guns when it approved a resolution to preserve the Second Amendment at its regular meeting Thursday.
Several supporters of the right to bear firearms attended the meeting and offered comment to council. The agenda item was spearheaded by the Delta County Gun Owners Association which formed about a month ago to promote education about firearms and their safe use.
Chair of the association, Bob Peterson, commended council for its support.
"I think it's a very patriotic thing to do," Peterson said after the meeting. "It's part of the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment and the state constitution for the individual's right to keep and bear arms. Over 2,000 laws regulate these rights."
Groups and individuals across the nation are working to preserve the Constitutional right to own guns, which they feel is being challenged by others due to recent mass killings by shooters at schools and other public places.
Peterson said proposed gun control legislation would not allow firearms to be handed down from one family generation to another. No one else would be able to fire someone else's gun, even for practice shooting, unless the weapon's ownership is legally transferred, he added.
Peterson said those in support of increased gun control are placing blame on an inanimate object and not the person behind the gun. He added that more should be done to address the mental problems of potential shooters.
The local gun association is seeking support of the Second Amendment from governmental units throughout the county. Delta County Board of Commissioners has acted in favor of the resolution. Gladstone City Commission will consider the resolution at its meeting on Monday.
"The basic goal of our group is to promote firearms education and promote our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in a responsible way," explained Peterson. The association has about 70 members including many who attended Thursday's meeting.
Vice-chair of the association, Mike Glass, commented after the meeting that the group's plan of action is to gain support throughout the county as well as solicit other groups in the Upper Peninsula to join in the "common cause" for the Second Amendment.
During Thursday's public comment session, Glass told council that the members of the Delta County Gun Owners Association recognize the rights and responsibilities of being gun owners.
"We promote safe ownership, handling and use of firearms in the community," he added. "We seek cooperation rather than confrontation..."
After the meeting, Glass said he was very pleased with council's support. Council adopted the resolution in a 4-1 vote.
Council member Pat Baribeau opposed the measure. Prior to the vote, she noted she supports the Second Amendment but doesn't agree to the resolution's language rejecting restrictions in the Constitution. She said this would go against her oath of office to uphold the Constitution.
Glass commented after the meeting that he understands and respects Baribeau's concerns.
"It's not our intent to circumvent the Constitutional amendment," he added. "I respect her appreciation for the Constitution."
Peterson and Glass were among eight individuals who offered public comment on the issue.
Dave Moyle of Escanaba said, "We're everyday Americans who want our Second Amendment rights protected... We're Americans who want to live freely and in peace. Please don't restrict the access to firearms by law-abiding citizens."
During public comment, Peterson noted that many young U.S. soldiers fight with guns overseas but cannot own guns in America.