Whidbey News-Times


Council needs to reach beyond city limits for change | Editorial

February 2, 2013 · Updated 3:06 PM

Once again Oak Harbor City Council will review an ordinance that currently restricts guns from city parks and the marina.

The issue will be discussed this week at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5 at Oak Harbor City Hall.

The last time the council reviewed this item, it resulted in conflict with one person walking out of the meeting. What has ensued since then is a war of words arguing about Second Amendment rights.

Gun control is a hot topic these days with recent tragic events like the Sandy Hook shooting.

It’s times like these that people seem to get hyper-sensitive about the issue, whether it’s for or against.

The issue at hand is whether or not to end a current ordinance that goes against state law.

A gun rights group called the Second Amendment Foundation sent a second letter to the city, dated Jan. 24, threatening legal action if the elected officials continue “thumbing their noses at the rule of law.”

For me, it’s fairly simple.

The council needs to stay compliant with state law and protect itself from any pending lawsuits that may cost the taxpayers.

If they don’t like state law, then it’s up to these elected officials to start working with legislators to get things changed.

We elect the council to represent our best interests. I understand this ordinance was put in place for the sake of public safety.

But really, the people who go out and get gun permits and make a point to utilize their Second Amendment rights are generally the people who are going to be safe about it.

If someone wants to go out and hurt other people, they’re going to find a way.

The council members said they are not against guns, but feel some commonsense rules are in order.

I completely agree, but creating an ordinance that goes against state law and puts the city at risk of litigation is not the answer.

While having a discussion about this issue in the newsroom this week, a reporter made a good point.

Everyone emphasizes the importance of our First Amendment right to free speech, but there are restrictions.

You can’t walk into a crowded mall and yell “fire” without some consequences.

We shouldn’t have laws that take away our constitutional rights, but there should be some commonsense guidelines to go along with them.

Council members want some common sense, they may need to reach beyond their city limits to get it.



— Megan Hansen, Editor




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