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Should Benicia Council and School Board Support Gun Control Legislation?

The Benicia City Council and school board may send letters supporting stricter gun control laws.

Correction: The letter signed by Mayors Elizabeth Patteron and Osby Davis has already been subitted to the congressman, and was not up for debate Tuesday night. The council was voting on a resolution, not the letter. Patch regrets the error.

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A federal debate over ways to reduce gun violence will come home to Benicia this week, if only briefly.

The Benicia City Council and Benicia Unified School District Board of Education will both consider sending letters to Rep. Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena) supporting stricter gun control laws.

"While we respect a person’s right to own a gun, there must be better control over the type of guns we allow, who is allowed to possess them and the criteria by which those guns are acquired," reads a draft of the letter scheduled to be considered by the city council. "To say that a person has a right to own assault weapons (including children) is ignoring what such weapons are made to do (get off a lot of rounds in a short period of times to maximize destruction)."

The letter from the Benicia city council, set to be discussed Tuesday night, would be signed by Mayor Elizabeth Patterson and Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis. It's addressed to Thompson, who is chair of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, created in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Benicia and Vallejo will hold gun buyback events this month, according to the letter.

"We certainly agree that there are too many guns on the streets," the letter says.

The school board's letter is similar, but adds that "strengthening gun laws alone is not enough," and encourages "efforts such as strengthening background checks, improving mental health services, and keeping military type guns and assault magazines out of our communities, addressing the culture of violence perpetuated through violent media, among others."

The city council will discuss the item during its 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday at the City Council Chambers, 250 East L St. The school board will discuss its proposed letter at 7 p.m. Thursday at its board room, 350 East K St.

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Should the city council and school board support stricter gun control legislation? Where do you stand on the issue? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Marnix A. van Ammers February 06, 2013 at 05:48 PM
I see nothing wrong with "strengthening background checks, improving mental health services, and keeping military type guns and assault magazines out of our communities." The 2nd amendment was never meant to allow what we have now. You don't need an assault weapon in order to protect yourself or for hunting. I'm fine with allowing assault weapons in controlled conditions at a firing range, but not any old place. There is no need for large ammunition clips. For regular sporting guns and self protection guns, which I think should be allowed, owners should be required to complete and pass a gun safety class and they should be required to carry liability insurance. Even though some of these steps would have a miniscule effect on gun homicides, they would still have an effect.
Karen LaRiviere February 06, 2013 at 06:31 PM
“…..the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” as stated in the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is no longer recognized as a God given right but a right that can be granted, modified or denied by man. I always chuckle when I hear folks refer to "God-given rights." Last I checked, the drafters of the Constitution were all mortal men, Thomas Jefferson was even an atheist. In all of the discussions regarding gun safety legislation, we hear the right railing about "they're infringing on our 2nd Amendment rights" and "they are going to take away your rights to defend yourself" and "they are coming to take away your guns." (I like that one the best.) - Even Justice Scalia said in the Heller decision that there are limits to the 2nd Amendment. There should be no need for any civilian to have "cop killer/armor piercing" bullets, there is really no need for any civilian to have a weapon/clip capable of holding 30-50-100 rounds of ammunition. Really? Is this really what the gun lobby and NRA want to fight over? There is no discussion about taking away handguns, rifles, shotguns or any other weapon used to defend your family or to go hunting with but honestly, if you need a gun with 100 rounds to defend your family, you should probably spend a bit more time at the gun range and learn to aim better.
Cody Kitaura February 06, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Thanks for the comment, Dennis. I quoted you in my follow-up story: http://patch.com/A-1GGP
Tim February 23, 2013 at 05:17 AM
Support Proposed California Laws,No!!, Background Checks, Yes: we already have them. Assault weapons, no: real assault weapons are already illegal. Harassing gimickry by the legislature, No: that is all this is. Finding out what is causing our culture of violence, yes: but that takes work and time and it will not get them re-elected. If you don't like guns: don't buy one. If you object to others having them: mind your own business. Why make criminals out of law-abiding gun owners. If you want to have an impact on violence write your TV stations and Hollywood and demand that they stop setting these violent examples. Educate your children about respect for others. This includes others rights (including gun ownership)!! Most importantly:stay married and raise your oun children!!
Karl Voigt April 06, 2013 at 06:40 PM
History clearly shows that the People and the framers of the Constitution insisted on the Bill of Rights, especially the 2nd Amendment, because they wanted maximum protection from a possible future tyrannical government. All of this gobbly gook about "sporting guns" and "self protection guns" is in fact a side issue.

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