LEAGUE CITY — While city councils typically deal with local issues such as road work, park construction and tax rates, one League City councilwoman is setting her sights on the hottest national issue.
League City Councilwoman Heidi Thiess has introduced a resolution that she says will reaffirm the constitutional right of city residents to keep and bear arms. If passed, the resolution, among other things, would instruct city agencies to “refuse requests or directives by federal agencies” to confiscate, ban, tax or impose limits on firearms or ammunition.
“This is just a strong statement in affirmation of our rights,” Thiess said.
The resolution is on the agenda for the council’s meeting Tuesday.
Her resolution mirrors similar proposals introduced by state legislators, Thiess said. House Bill 553, introduced by Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, would make it an offense for a public servant to enact any laws or orders that would limit, ban or confiscate firearms or ammunition.
The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., which left 27 dead, has started a national debate on gun violence and gun control.
President Barack Obama released a list of proposals to curb gun violence. They included requiring background checks for all gun sales, limiting the size of ammunition magazines, reinstating a ban on assault weapons, providing financing for expanded mental health programs and starting a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
Thiess said her resolution is in reaction to the national conversation on gun control. Thiess, a firearms dealer, said she is infuriated anytime anyone mentions limiting gun ownership rights.
“I do feel there is a threat to our right to self-defense and to our right to keep and bear arms,” she said.
While Thiess said she is not attempting to play politics with her resolution, some residents don’t see it that way.
“It sounds like grandstanding to me,” said former councilman Neil Baron.
The council should be focusing on issues such as the city’s water, traffic and infrastructure problems not “their personal political agenda,” he said.
Baron said he owns a gun and supports people’s right to bear arms “within reason.” He said he supports reasonable background checks and regulations. But if council members or residents have concerns over gun control legislation, they should contact their state and federal representatives, he said.
As for the legality of Thiess’ proposed resolution, League City Attorney Arnold Polanco said he had no legal problem with it.
There is a fundamental question over states’ rights and the federal supremacy clause, Polanco said.
He said it is an open question as to the extent to which a state level government can exercise its 10th Amendment rights. The amendment states that powers not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution are reserved to the states. But the city is going to follow the law, he said.
Meanwhile, Thiess said she knows gun rights are a concern of many residents and she hopes other municipalities and other elected officials follow her lead.
“That’s really my intent, to take a stand in the little bit of jurisdiction that I do have,” Thiess said. “I know that this important to people.”