The Coast News Group
Community Encinitas

Gun control resolution pushed to April

ENCINITAS — The Encinitas Traffic and Public Safety Commission waded into the issue of gun control when it considered a resolution to send to the council calling for state and federal regulators to take more aggressive steps in the areas of gun safety and gun control.

But the resolution didn’t move forward at the March 12 meeting, as the six-member commission deadlocked on a vote in support of the resolution.

Commissioners Christina Simokat, Darius Degher and Christina Brady voted in support of the resolution, while Commission Chairman Charlie Lisherness and commissioners Arnold Lewin and Peter Kohl voted against it, arguing that the resolution needed to be vetted by the City Attorney’s office before moving it along to the council.

“This is a very difficult vote to cast, but I vote no because I feel there needs to be an appropriate level of review before we recommend it,” Lisherness said. “I support the substance of it, but I have to vote no.”

The resolution, which was authored by gun safety advocate Steve Bartram, calls on the federal and state government to support, among other things, a ban on semiautomatic weapons, gun shows and accessories that would boost a firearm’s capacity for ammunition or rate of fire; and a repeal of the so-called Dickey Amendment, passed by Congress in 1996 that bars the use of federal funds by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for the advocacy or promotion of gun control.

Simokat pointed out that 15 school districts and two other jurisdictions had adopted the resolution in the wake of the Feb. 14 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

Three speakers attended the meeting and all spoke in favor of the resolution.

Kohl, who originally only wished to add the names of state elected officials to the resolution, reversed course when he learned that the resolution was not prepared by Mayor Catherine Blakespear.

Lewin said he did not feel comfortable voting for it because he didn’t know about some of the resolution’s contents, including the Dickey Amendment.

The commissioners who supported passage at the meeting pointed out that the city attorney’s office would review the resolution as part of the process of preparing a report to the City Council.

Simokat urged the commission to not delay the vote. She said that national sentiment, especially since the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting, was that lawmakers needed to act assertively in curbing gun violence.

“I would go so far to say the national feeling is, this is enough, it’s enough,” Simokat said. “You need to do something, and it needs to be now, doesn’t need to wait another day, it needs to be now.”

Following the deadlock, the commission unanimously voted to request that staff direct the city attorney’s office review the resolution for a vote in April.