HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Upside down: Council punts on gun rights

Written April 8th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

Strangely, some of the images from Wednesday’s council meeting were upside down, lending a surreal element to the proceedings.

Under an onslaught of written opposition, the Albany City Council Wednesday night put off consideration of a resolution expressing support for citizens’ constitutionally protected right to bear arms.

Councilors unanimously voted to postpone the discussion until they can once again meet in the council chambers with members of the public in the audience.

Wednesday’s was the council’s second session by means of the “GoToMeeting” digital platform because of the corona outbreak. (As you can see above, on my laptop, some of them were upside down, and so far the explanation has eluded me.) (For more on this, see below.)

The digital format forced anyone with something to say under “business from the public” to send written comments. It fell to Marilyn Smith, the public information officer, to read 30 letters against the gun-rights resolution and two in favor. It took her 45 minutes.

The council had voted 5-1 in February to ask for a resolution affirming its support of the Second Amendment after Councilor Mike Sykes made a request to that effect. At the time he said something about making Albany a “sanctuary city” for gun rights.

The resolution drafted by City Attorney Sean Kidd attempted nothing of the sort, however. The people who showered the council with passionate objections might want to read the actual document before they object again when — or if — the council goes through with bringing it up.

Instead, the one-page resolution supports the Second Amendment and the state constitution’s more specific guarantee of gun rights as they are interpreted by the courts. It also expresses the council’s opposition to any state or federal law that unconstitutionally abridges these provisions.

Some of the letter writers sounded as though they thought the council intended to defy gun-safety laws, which it doesn’t and couldn’t even if it wanted to. Instead, the resolution says: “The Albany City Council remains committed to the removal of firearms from those who have legally forfeited their rights due to conviction of certain felonies and criminal behavior involving firearms and those adjudicated mentally ill and a danger to themselves and others.”

Sykes had expressed his original concern at a time the legislature was considering bills, and proposed initiatives were pending, to complicate gun ownership with additional restrictions and potential penalties. On Wednesday he mentioned another part of the Bill of Rights, the free-speech and free-press guarantees of the First Amendment.

Nobody knows when the council will again be able to meet in person rather than on the internet. When it does, and the gun-rights issue comes up again, maybe someone should ask those passionate letter writers what other parts of our constitutional guarantees they oppose as well. (hh)

The city’s Matt Harrington responded to my upside-down trouble; “I had the same thing happen with our streaming server we used to broadcast to Facebook and YouTube. When joining the meeting you are given the choice to join via the web or install a small desktop app. I had chosen to use the web app when I was setting up and experienced the same thing with half the participants upside down. I left the meeting and chose to download the desktop app (called “GoToMeeting opener” I believe) and joined the meeting again and the world was no longer upside down. My advice, use the app, not the web version as there appear to be some bugs with their software. Or, you can watch the YouTube livestream or, for as long as we are doing meetings this way, Facebook Live via the City’s main Facebook page at https://facebook.com/cityofalbany. 

 



7 responses to “Upside down: Council punts on gun rights”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Where is the issue here? Even with the deadly Covid-19 bug lurking about, you can still add to your gun collection.

    The Gov chose not to close gun shops. They’re probably doing a booming business and generating lots of tax revenue. Closing these shops clearly wouldn’t help Oregon achieve its community mitigation objective.

    She did close book shops. This also makes sense. Books (especially those with viewpoints you don’t agree with) are clearly a big danger to the public. It’s a social distance thing.

    Welcome to the new normal.

  2. J. Jacobson says:

    Pleased to see Sykes leading on this question. The continuing weaponization of Albany is the single most crucial issue facing Albany right now. Sykes, as usual, has his finger on the Albany pulse. Upside down or backwards, you can always count on this incisive, spot-on leadership.

  3. Ray Kopczynski says:

    Hasso states:
    “The people who showered the council with passionate objections might want to read the actual document before they object again when — or if — the council goes through with bringing it up… It also expresses the council’s opposition to any state or federal law that unconstitutionally abridges these provisions…Some of the letter writers sounded as though they thought the council intended to defy gun-safety laws, which it doesn’t and couldn’t even if it wanted to.”

    And if that is not the underlying intent, why bother to have that language in the resolution? It then follows, why bother to have the resolution at all?

    You very succinctly state the obvious that, to me, is a dangerous precedent if passed! I did closely read the resolution and was aghast… To your point, here’s exactly what was in a portion of my email Marilyn read:

    “The two most egregious points are:

    ‘BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the city council opposes any state or federal law that abridges or is contrary to the provisions of the constitutions of the United States of America and the State of Oregon preserving the people’s right to keep and bear arms.

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the city council strongly supports the right of the people to keep and bear arms as stated in the constitutions of the United States of America and Oregon as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court and Oregon Supreme Court, and opposes any state or federal law that unconstitutionally restricts these rights.

    I believe it is ludicrous to think that anyone on council has the education or experience to make a valid constitutional argument that could pass muster (certiorari) to SCOTUS. Trying to posture that effect is asinine IMHO. Yet the proposal wants to do just that – and set Albany up as a poster child for civil disobedience by saying Albany knows better than higher levels of authority – and by their action, imply (and bind) that all Albany citizens agree to same.”

    NO where in the Albany City Charter do I read the Albany City Council has the wherewithal nor legal authority to determine on a whim what is or is not “constitutional.” “I know it when I see it” doesn’t stand muster. The happenstance of the pandemic threw this into its midst. Nevertheless, I would have made the same argument before – and most definitely will again if this resolution tries to see the light of day.

    • Melissa says:

      ANY law that goes against the 2nd Amendment as written is unconstitutional so it really doesnt matter.

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        Of course. However, regardless of what you think it means, neither you, I, nor city council gets to determine what it means.

  4. hj.anony1 says:

    I came here for the comments.

  5. My Real Name John Hartman says:

    The entire issue and ensuing chatter is rubbish. Sykes….feed and shelter the displaced and the sick. Stop worrying about guns.

 

 
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