As President Barack Obama moves forward with his plans to pursue significant national gun control measures, Madison’s City Council added its voice to the national conversation when the body unanimously adopted a resolution calling for stricter gun control at its Jan. 8 meeting.
According to City Council President Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, District 5, the resolution highlighted the council’s position on the issue and urged the U.S. Congress and Obama to establish a ban on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition.
In light of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School late last year, Bidar-Sielaff said the council felt it had become too increasingly common for U.S. citizens to be attacked by people with military-style weapons and ammunition clips.
“Weapons of that caliber have no purpose in civil society,” Bidar-Sielaff said.
Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, emphasized the events in Newtown, Conn., could have occurred in Madison. He said the council felt it was necessary to encourage Congress to act rapidly to ensure other cities do not fall victim to a similar fate.
The resolution emphasized the best way to protect children and adults in Madison schools, malls, theaters and other public places is to ban these types of weapons, Bidar-Sielaff said.
“As a council, we feel that weapons that can pierce body armor should not be sold to the general public,” Resnick said. “They have no purpose other than to cause destruction.”
While the City Council does not have the power to determine how gun control should take shape in Madison, Ald. Bridget Maniaci, District 2, explained it was important for the city leadership to establish its position on the issue.
Maniaci said the City Council produces these kinds of resolutions on a regular basis in order to address policy issues, both large and small, that they feel are important.
“[This resolution] shows that elected officials take these issues seriously and are able to go on record about gun violence in America,” Maniaci said.
Resnick explained the purpose of the resolution was to send a clear message to other elected officials this was an important issue locally.
It is one of the few things a unified council can do to take action on an issue, Resnick said.
“Hopefully it helps send a message to Congress that the time for action is now, not to delay and not to compromise,” Resnick said.
On Jan. 16, Obama publically announced his plans to address the issue of gun control in the country, including placing limits on high ammunition magazines and issuing a ban on assault rifles.
In a statement issued in response to the president’s agenda, Mayor Paul Soglin voiced his opinion on the new measures. The statement said the founding fathers did not envision high capacity weapons in the hands of irresponsible persons when they drew up the second amendment.
“I support President Barack Obama’s plan to make our country safe and to issue these very reasonable firearm controls,” Soglin said in the statement.