Council signs off on Second Amendment Sanctuary City resolution
As result of a 6-2 vote at the Tuesday night, Jan. 14, Common Council meeting, the City of Merrill has been declared a Second Amendment Sanctuary City. Fourth District Alderman Steve Osness brought the sanctuary city resolution to the council.
“The reason this resolution was brought up is to be proactive,” he explained. “We’ve seen what’s going on in Virginia and their governor, so this is just about being proactive and protecting our citizens rights.”
Included in the resolution, was verbiage declaring city residents stand opposed to legislation to infringe on the right to bear arms and city residents consider rergard the 2nd amendment right as “inalienable.”
“WHEREAS, the Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms is guaranteed as an Individual Right under the Second Amendment to The United States Constitution and under the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin, Article 1, Section 25 – “The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose” WHEREAS, the Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms for defense of Life, Liberty, and Property is regarded as an Inalienable right by the People of the City of Merrill, Wisconsin and; WHEREAS, the Merrill, Wisconsin City Council, has been elected to represent the people of Merrill, Wisconsin and being duly sworn by their oath of Office to uphold the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin, and; WHEREAS, the citizens of Merrill are opposed to any legislation considered by the Wisconsin State Legislature that would infringe the right to keep and bear arms and would ban the possession and use of any firearms, magazines, ammunition or body armor now employed by individual citizens of Merrill, Wisconsin for defense of life, liberty and property or would require a firearms owners ID card or tax the possession of the firearms or ammunition within Merrill Wisconsin;”
Eighth District Alderman Steve Sabatke felt the resolution was a positive step for the City of Merrill.
“Although this resolution has little legal power and is symbolic, I believe that Merrill is taking a proactive step to prevent rampage shootings and gun violence,” he said. “We are really sending a message that we enjoy our hunting and shooting for sport and we embrace gun safety. It also sends a message that we proudly uphold our second amendment gun rights which help protect us.”
Although the support of the resolution was strong, not everyone saw it necessary.
“I’m really just questioning the timing of this resolution, because as of right now I don’t feel our guns are at risk of being taken.” said Mayor Derek Woellner. “At this point in history our guns seem pretty safe, the Wisconsin legislature has a lot of pro-gun people and same goes with the US Senate and our President, so I just don’t see the threat.”
Council President and Seventh District Alderman Rob Norton agreed with Mayor Woellner.
“I’m an active sportsman and have been since I was 13-years old,” Norton said. “I believe in the second amendment and carry the constitution all the time. I have never felt a threat of someone trying to take my guns and there is no legitimate reason for this resolution. This is fear mongering at it’s finest. This resolution is pointless, political and meandering. Our state is controlled by the republican party and that’s not going to change and nobody is going to do anything with our guns. The governor even stated that.”
Later in the meeting, Council President Norton motioned for the resolution be referred to the Health and Safety Committee, seconded by Third District Alderman Rick Blake.
The motion would fail due to a majority “No” vote.
A motion to approve the resolution was made by Alderman Osness, seconded by Second District Alderman Steve Hass and would pass by 6-2 vote. Aldermen Hass, Osness, Van Leishout, Sabatke, Russell and Rick Jr all voting in favor.
As result of the resolution being approved the city was declared a Second Amendment Sanctuary City, further stating:
“Be it resolved the people of Merrill, Wisconsin hereby declare the City of Merrill to be a Second Amendment Sanctuary City. Be it further the resolved the People of Merrill, Wisconsin affirms support of the Merrill Police Department to exercise sound discretion to not enforce against any citizen any unconstitutional firearms laws;
Be it further resolved that the Merrill City Council will not appropriate any funds for any enforcement of unconstitutional laws against the people of Merrill, Wisconsin.
NOW, THEREFORE, IT BE AND IS HEREBY RESOLVED that the people of Merrill, Wisconsin, do hereby oppose the enactment of any legislation that would infringe upon the rights of the people to keep and bear arms, and consider such laws to be unconstitutional and beyond lawful legislative authority.”