City passes Gun Safety Resolution

By Ian Davis-Leonard | Jul 18, 2018

While the Mukilteo City Council had plenty to discuss during its Monday, July 16, meeting, one item in particular seized most of the council’s attention.

The Gun Safety Resolution, proposed by Councilmember Richard Emery, brought many Mukilteans to the meeting and generated discussion that lasted more than an hour on both the verbiage and goals of the suggested resolution.

In brief, the resolution was crafted to support a “holistic approach to ending gun violence.”

The proposal calls for legislative and community actions such as universal background checks for all gun sales, training for public employees, school personnel and volunteers in Adverse Childhood Experiences, additional school resource officers and mental health counselors in schools, and beginning a gun buyback program in Mukilteo, along with several other items.

Additionally, the resolution was meant to show support for a long list of statewide efforts, including a minimum seven-day waiting period as part of the gun purchase process, requiring proof of training, raising the age to purchase firearms to 21, limiting the size of magazines to 10 rounds and more.

The idea for a Gun Safety Resolution was originally discussed at the April 14 council meeting. Emery then developed the proposed resolution.

The council is prevented by state law from enacting local gun regulations, but according to Emery, the resolution is meant to instead “focus on community actions that will help with recognition, intervention and support. And, we can add our voice and support to state and national legislative efforts.”

Both before and during their discussion of the resolution, the council heard comments from a large number of Mukilteo residents who were generally in support of the proposition.

“Resolutions like these are such an important step toward changing the cultures in our communities and working toward changing laws at the state and national levels,” said Erin Senge, a Mukilteo resident and member of the local Moms Demand Action group.

Also in attendance was Mukilteo resident Paul Kramer, whose son Will was one of four Kamiak graduates shot in the 2016 house-party shooting that left three dead.

In attendance with Kramer, an outspoken advocate for gun control since his son survived the 2016 shooting, were 2018 Kamiak graduates Ketta Davis and Alissa Kiser.

“For those of you who care about the youth, this resolution is an important statement for us to make as a community adversely affected by gun violence,” Kramer said, while motioning toward Davis and Kiser.

When it came time for council discussion, councilmembers were divided about phrasing in the document regarding wording such as “weapons,” “assault weapons” and “rifles,” which were all eventually solved unanimously with the usage of the word “firearm.”

As for the resolution in total, council President Steve Schmalz, Vice President Christine Cook, and councilmembers Sarah Kneller and Emery all supported the proposal.

“The way I see it, in my role as a councilmember, the most important thing I can do is promote public safety,” Cook said. “I’m very much in support of this, and I appreciate the community’s support.”

Councilmember Kneller described the resolution as promising.

“My hope is that by putting this out there it also shows our legislature that our community is very supportive of this, and that we hope to see it at a much higher level,” she said.

Kneller also attempted to reassure Mukilteans who are passionate about the Second Amendment that the council is not trying to step on their right to own guns.

“We are not trying to make it about taking things away from people. We are trying to make it safer for the kids in our school districts,” Kneller said.

Councilmember Anna Rohrbough was the lone councilmember who opposed the resolution.

“I also want to do everything we can to prevent the people who shouldn’t have guns from having them and getting them, but I also have taken an oath for the Second Amendment, and I want to support the law-abiding citizens that own guns and are in fear of their rights being taken away from them,” Rohrbough said.

While Emery noted Rohrbough’s argument, he was not willing to change his mind.

“While I am sensitive to the concerns that people may not get to own something that they would like to own, it may be in the framework of the community response to how we can all end up being safer, that may be something we need to do,” Emery said.

Ultimately, despite Rohrbough’s dissent, the resolution passed, 4-1. Councilmembers Scott Whelpley and Bob Champion were not in attendance for Monday’s meeting.

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