The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly has rejected a resolution opposing President Biden’s executive orders on gun violence that proponents say amount to federal overreach on gun control. A majority said the local government shouldn’t wade into a national debate on firearms.
Ketchikan Borough Mayor Rodney Dial co-sponsored the resolution that he said Monday would affirm Second Amendment rights for Americans to bear arms.
“Regardless of your political stance or your opinion on gun control, our number one primary responsibility as elected officials is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and Alaska, in an impartial manner, as stated in our oaths of office. That quite literally means we support and defend it, even if we don’t agree with the application of it.”
He and co-sponsor Assembly Member Jeremy Bynum say it’s in response to President Biden’s April 8 executive orders calling on states to draft red flag laws allowing courts to order the seizure of firearms from people who could be a danger to themselves or others. It also bans so-called ghost guns that are developed with 3D printers and bans pistol-stabilizing braces.
Some 15 people wrote to the assembly, mostly in support of the resolution. They included Ketchikan City Mayor Bob Sivertsen, former Council member Dick Coose and former school board member and Republican state House candidate Leslie Becker.
But during public comment, some questioned why the borough was getting into a debate about gun ownership. Former School Board member David Timmerman says he believes in Second Amendment rights.
“But to sit here and waste this time, when you should be talking about school district funding, and things that the kids could do around here, and other ways to make our community better.”
Assembly member Judith McQuerry agreed this is not a policy call for Ketchikan’s borough.
“Persons who support this position ought to be writing to their federal legislators. By passage, this resolution will send the message that all citizens of the borough agree with this position. Not all agree or support this.”
The resolution failed 2-4, with Bynum and assembly member Sven Westergard voting in favor. Assembly members McQuerry, A.J. Pierce, Felix Wong and Austin Otis were with the majority against. Assembly member David Landis was absent from Monday’s meeting.
This story have been updated to make a small correction.