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Council tables Second Amendment resolution

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The Albany City Council postponed a vote Wednesday on a proposed resolution supporting the Second Amendment. 

Pitched by Councilor Mike Sykes as a "sanctuary city" for gunowners in the same line as sanctuary state designations for undocumented immigrants, the resolution was first raised in mid-February prior to the COVID-19 stay at home order. 

On Wednesday, city staff read more than 30 letters from the public for 45 minutes during the remote meeting that followed social distancing standards. 

The majority of the letters were opposed to the resolution in its entirety or objected to the timing of the Council's vote on the issue given the current pandemic. 

Several members of the Council stated that they felt there was disinformation being circulated about the resolution and that it was reflected in public comment. 

The resolution — which does not include the word "sanctuary" — notes that the "Council opposes any state or federal law that abridges or is contrary to the provisions of the constitutions of the of the United States of America and Oregon as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court and Oregon Supreme Court, and opposes any state or federal law that unconstitutionally restricts these rights."

It also states that the Council supports the removal of firearms from those who have legally forfeited their rights due to criminal behavior or those who are mentally ill and a danger to themselves or others. The full resolution is available on the city's website. 

Greater Albany Public Schools Superintendent Melissa Goff and GAPS board chair Jennifer Ward submitted public comment to the city noting that the passage of the resolution could create confusion for law enforcement in the event of an emergency. Goff asked the Council to instead support the current 1,000-foot safety zone around public schools that prohibits firearms. 

"There's no greater responsibility as city leaders than taking care of our children," she said. "I implore you to help me keep my students safe." 

According to City Attorney Sean Kidd, the resolution would not trump state and federal laws surrounding gun control. 

"There’s a lot of disinformation going around and it distresses me that people think it was to harm children, harm families, make it easier for domestic violence to go on," Sykes said. "Those arguments are valid but they have nothing to do with this resolution." 

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