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City urges gun sellers to lay down arms

Council passes stronger resolution after barrage of protest

— Mary Beth Delarm, a victim of domestic violence, said she was protesting the gun show as “one voice of hundreds of thousands of women who are victims”

“Because of all of the women who have been murdered, I beg for someone in this city to do something about the show,” she said.

Resident Phil Diamond called for a more proactive approach.

“If we use our First Amendment right to battle their Second Amendment rights, let's be as noisy and disruptive as we can," he said.

“We’re in a post Newtown world,” said resident Charlie Samuels. “This has changed everything. This is a watershed moment and I think we should reconsider this.”

Bob Turner questioned the public policy of selling weapons in a taxpayer subsidized building.

“If we don’t feel safe, we have lost the liberties we fought so hard for,” he said.

William McTygue said the resolution simply was not worded strongly enough.

“As a community we can choose to be ambivalent or we can take a stand,” he said.

After hearing public comments, Mathiesen said promoters for the show had assured him they would be complying with the council’s request to not display certain guns. This was answered by cries of “Not good enough!” from audience members.

Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan agreed.

“With all due respect, if we can’t do something, then who can?” said Madigan. “This will be a healing gesture to say in the resolution ‘we respectfully request that vendors not display or sell semiautomatic weapons.’”

After a back-and-forth discussion between the council and City Attorney Tony Izzo over the wording, the council unanimously approved an amended resolution.

This was met by a round of cheers from the audience, but Mayor Scott Johnson reminded those in attendance the resolution has no legal power.

“The issue is what we can do as a community within the bounds of the law,” said Johnson. “This is an issue long overdue to be considered and dealt with by the country as a whole, not just our community.”

Department of Public Works Commissioner Anthony Scirocco went one step further. He called for a gun buyback program.

“I can find a few thousand in my budget to get one started,” he said.

This idea met with approval from other council members as well members of the audience. After the meeting, Scirocco said he and Mathiesen would research what other communities are doing and that he hopes to present a proposal for a buyback program at the next City Council meeting.

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