GLADSTONE - It was standing room only at the Gladstone City Commission meeting Monday night as the commission adopted a resolution presented by the Delta County Gun Owners Association protecting the right to bear arms.
The resolution - which resolves the city will protect the rights of individuals to legally possess firearms and oppose legislation infringing on Second Amendment rights - comes in light of proposed gun control legislation and recent mass killings involving firearms across the United States.
"It seems like what our country's...is trying to do now is take our rights away from us, and I know for a fact that these people right here, none of us will ever give up our weapons if it ever came down to that," said former resident and Vietnam veteran Don Creten.
Mike Glass, of the Nahma area, noted gun ownership was a value held by people in this area and was passed on from generation to generation.
"Those of us who learned gun safety and responsibility, we didn't learn it in school, we didn't learn it from TV, we learned it from our parents and grandparents," said Glass.
Concerns over the safety of law-abiding gun owners if gun ownership is restricted were also raised at the meeting.
"Throughout my life I've been involved in different things and I'll tell you, when I see restrictions on firearms all that does is give the predator the chance. There's predators in wildlife, but there's also predators in the human population," said Rory Mattson, Delta Conservation District executive director.
The resolution was also adopted by the Escanaba City Council Thursday and the Delta County Board of Commissioners earlier this month.
"I think it's indicative of a larger problem that we actually have to get to the point where we have people coming to this board to ask us to support something that, in my opinion, to anyone that can read is so self-evident," said Commissioner Matt Gay.
Mayor Darin Hunter expressed gratitude the resolution was written to specifically protect lawfully possessed firearms, and admitted that as a public safety officer for Escanaba he had had reservations about adopting the resolution prior to thoroughly reading it.
"I'm not anti-gun myself. I am anti-unlawfully possessing ... I want to make sure I go home and my coworkers go home," said Hunter, who works as a detective at Escanaba Public Safety.
Gay expressed his full support for the measure.
"Anyone who's had a conversation with me that's lasted more then 60 seconds knows that I'm nearly a rabid advocate of the Bill of Rights. I have read this resolution, I support it fully," he said.
The commission adopted the resolution unanimously and will be sending a copy of the resolution to elected representatives on the state level.
"I think if we're going to make any changes and if we're going to move forward then that leadership is going to have to start at the local level," said Gay.