The Encinitas City Council has taken a stand against gun violence, following recent events such as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida and a nationwide student walk-out on March 14.
In the resolution written by Mayor Catherine Blakespear and passed four to one at nearly midnight on March 21 — with council member Mark Muir dissenting — the council demanded action from state and federal representatives to adopt stricter laws for the sale, transfer, possession, manufacturing and distribution of all firearms, dangerous weapons and ammunition. The council also encouraged more restrictions such as thorough background checks for all persons attempting to buy firearms, as well as an outright ban on semi-automatic firearms, high-capacity magazines, armor-piercing ammunition and bump stocks.
“The crisis of gun violence in our country necessitates a sustained, coordinated, and collaborative effort involving entire communities, elected officials at every level of government, law enforcement, and the entire criminal justice system,” the Encinitas document reads. “Elected officials must commit to closing gaps in the current patchwork of regulation, including those gaps that enable felons, people convicted of domestic violence, children, those found to be a danger to themselves or others, and other prohibited persons to access firearms, and those that allow the trafficking of illegal guns.”
The council also voted in a last-minute sentence in the resolution that encourages the ceasing of gun shows at the nearby Del Mar Fairgrounds. The Del Mar City Council took a similar stance earlier in the week.
Blakespear, a mother of two grade-school children, said she put the item on the agenda after hearing concerns from voters and to use the council’s voice to elevate the message.
Council member Tony Kranz, who served 10 years in the National Guard, said he supports a well-regulated militia.
“It’s really important to know all the damage that can be done by these weapons of war,” he said. “I’m not looking to infringe upon my friends who hunt. I recognize there are reasons to have weapons, and I have no problems with people who have them in their homes. I think it’s smart to have them in safes.”
Muir, a former fire chief, said he could not support the resolution as written and questioned the definition of “dangerous weapons” as written in the document. He also said he could not support a council stance on walk-outs, wants to see further action from the city regarding a school community resource officer, and does not believe in a rejection of all semi-automatic weapons.
“A semi-automatic is not an Ak-15,” he said. “That’s a variety of guns. I can’t accept that. Some of my hunter friends would be discouraged because of that. ... If we really want to have this conversation, let’s have some real conversation and encourage some real action-oriented dialogue and come up with a solution that we can come together on.”