Will Republicans finally see the merit of gun control measures?

Cross Currents: A column by Bill Christopher
Posted 8/28/19

First, let’s get the disclaimers out of the way to save my Republican friends some time and heart-burn. Will gun control measures stop all mass shootings? Of course not. Will they help in reducing …

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Will Republicans finally see the merit of gun control measures?

Posted

First, let’s get the disclaimers out of the way to save my Republican friends some time and heart-burn. Will gun control measures stop all mass shootings? Of course not.

Will they help in reducing the killing of innocent lives? You bet.

Will “red flag laws” prevent all mentally imbalanced gun owners from either committing suicide or killing people in a crowd like a movie theatre or musical performance? No, but this tool could stop such acts of killing to some degree. Remember the James Holmes situation and the awareness of his mental imbalance before he killed or shot so many at the Aurora movie theatre tragedy.

Do gun control laws violate the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? No, and furthermore I would predict that future court decisions involving gun control measures will continue to support overriding the Second Amendment argument.

More momentum for federal gun control legislation

The recent double shooting tragedy in El Paso/Dayton, which occurred less than 24 hours apart from each other, may have finally caught the attention of enough Congressional Republicans and the President of the United States to pass some meaningful gun control legislation. When the President says meetings in recent days had already yielded “strong Congressional support for very meaningful background checks” and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that it “would be unacceptable for Congress not to take some action” regarding background checks it would seem something will be accomplished. However, we have been down that road before. After the Parkland, Florida high school shooting in February 2018, President Trump’s declarations of support for tougher gun controls went nowhere with Congressional Republicans thanks to the National Rifle Association.

How influential is the NRA today?

It will be interesting to see how influential the NRA will be at this point in history. Given the increasing number of people being shot or killed plus their organization being in financial and organizational stress, the NRA may be in a weaker position of influence. Also, polls show that Americans want more gun controls. Plus, I believe suburban women will determine the outcome of the 2020 Presidential race and more and more of them want more gun controls. We shall see after Congress’ summer break.

The summer campaign grind

There is plenty of door-knocking going on during the heat of August among some of the Westminster city council candidates. Campaign literature is being left as candidates attempt to gain the support of voters. Some candidates have shared with me their support for changing the construct on how city council members are elected. They see first-hand the magnitude of campaigning in a city of 115,000 people spread out over 35 square miles. Also, they see the challenge of effectively representing all geographical interests. Mark your calendars for a candidates’ forum for Thursday, September 26th. The Adams County League of Women’s Voters will sponsor a forum for Westminster city council and school board candidates. Look for the time and location to be announced. Also, the Westminster Rotary Club has been exploring the idea of a forum involving Westminster city council candidates. Unfortunately, the local newspapers and the Metro North Chamber of Commerce no longer sponsor these types of events to help get to know the candidates better. Voters need to do their homework on the candidates.

The requirement of 25 signatures to run for office is outdated

Along with hitting the neighborhoods to do door knocking, candidates are required to secure a mere 25 VALID signature on petitions to be eligible to run for office. The requirement has been in existence since the City Charter was approved by Westminster voters in 1958. The 25 signature level is meaningless. With the city being 115,000 people, a requirement of 25 signatures is way out of balance. Either up the requirement to at least 150 valid signatures or get rid of the requirement. Like other provisions in the Charter, Westminster City Council needs to do some serious review and updating of a variety of provisions like I recently mentioned.

Voters should be informed before
selecting candidates

I know it is early for some of you to think about candidate platforms and positions on key issues. However, it is not too soon to determine what is important to YOU regarding these 7 candidates. With 3 seats to fill, you have ample choices. You should find out the position or philosophy of each candidate on 3-4 key issues involving the city which are important to you. For example, a general question about the city exercising control over current non-city services is a fair one to ask. Most of us remember the ill-conceived attempt at creating a monopoly on trash hauling and recycling. Another legitimate question could focus on the volume and pace of growth in Westminster. How do you feel about the numerous apartment developments? A related question would be how does each candidate see mitigating traffic congestion? It’s a fair question to ask. Where would the funding come from? Finally, what is each candidate’s position on future water and sewer rate increases? How can they be kept low enough to avoid tearing out turf and flower beds?

Vote for the candidate but not the party

I recently received some feedback from one of the candidates who had been doing the door knocks and chatting with residents. It was most discouraging to learn that the very first question this candidate was asked by residents was “what political party are you affiliated with?” Folks, local government was not designed to be a partisan party battleground. The City Charter states clearly that the election of city council candidates shall be on a non-partisan basis. Vote for the candidate; not the political party!!! Support candidates who reflect your values and opinions. Paving streets is not a Democratic Party versus Republic Party issue. Nor are growth issues or the amount of transparency demonstrated by your local government. While the Emerge group of young Democrat women contradicts this philosophy, it is what everyone should do.

Bill Christopher is a former Westminster city manager and RTD board member. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.

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