The Coast News Group

City officials agree to hear both sides on gun issue

A collaborative effort is the next step for the City Council as it addresses gun violence prevention.

On April 24, the council unanimously agreed to begin a discussion and craft a resolution in support of the issue. However, it will be up to the City/School Committee to engage gun control advocates and gun rights supporters.

Cori Schumacher and Michael Schumacher (no relation) are City Council representatives, along with Carlsbad City Manager Kevin Crawford, school board members Ray Pearson and Claudine Jones and Carlsbad Unified School District Superintendent Ben Churchill.

“I think this is a prime example of how these committees are supposed to function,” Councilman Mark Packard said. “I would like our City/School Committee to come up with how we in Carlsbad can reduce the threats that happen to our students and increase the safety.”

The item came before the council when Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a grassroots political organization dedicated to the prevention of gun violence, submitted a sample resolution to the council.

It calls for tighter gun control laws for the “transfer, possession, manufacturing, and distribution of all firearms, dangerous weapons, and ammunition.” In addition, the sample resolution also calls for banning armor-piercing ammo and high-capacity magazines, which are already illegal nationally and statewide, respectively.

The resolution, when passed, would be sent to state and federal officials urging action.

“While gun violence and the threat of it impacts nearly every American, our nation’s children are perhaps paying the heftiest toll,” said Nikki Faddick, co-lead of the North County San Diego Moms Demand Action. “On average, nearly seven children die of gun violence every day. For everyone who dies, two more are injured.”

However, Wes Cross, co-founder of Cross Armory, a firearms engineering company which produces gun accessories, suggested the council bring in people from both sides of the issue. He said he supported much of the sample resolution, minus the request to ban assault rifles, but said it would be an opportunity for both sides to engage in civil discussion about the issue and resolution.

“I think it would be great if you could include both sides of this conversation,” Cross said, also recommending the San Diego County Gun Owners Association Political Action Committee. “The majority of what they (Moms Demand Action) already submitted represent laws that already exist and are a part of California. We’re open to a nice, great conversation.”

The council agreed, but opted to put it to the City/School Committee first to begin those discussions and draft a resolution to bring back to the council later this year.

By bringing both sides together, the council wants to encourage a civil discussion to bring forth a sensible resolution. Cori Schumacher said this is an opportunity for the city to be a leader in the discussion without diving into heated arguments and discourse, but instead to listen to every side.

“I believe Carlsbad has the ability to set a model for how we address extremely volatile issues,” she said. “The passion on the many sides of this issue is strong. I wanted … to address the seemingly me versus us divide present in this issue that serves to polarize communities and neighbors from each other.”

Gun violence is perhaps the most hotly debated issue in the country. As such, more than a dozen people spoke for and against the resolution during the City Council meeting.

In addition to Moms Demand Action, Never Again CA representatives called for the council to add a condition to support a ban on the Crossroads of the West Gun Show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, joining Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas city councils.

Those supporters also noted how gun ownership and manufacturing are increasing, and how gun violence is the third-leading cause of death for kids under 18.

But several gun supporters called out those who said the resolution wasn’t a step to take away guns, noting the resolution specifically called for an assault weapons ban. They also noted this was politically motivated and countered the gun show argument by stating all firearms purchases at the show must follow all federal and state laws and regulations.