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.”

Contact reporter Christopher Smith Gonzalez at 409-683-5314 or chris.gonzalez@galvnews.com

(6) comments

George Croix

Neil Baron complaining about someone else having a 'personal political agenda'?

Gary Miller

Same bills are being introduced in state legislatures, cities and counties all across America.
BHO told Democrats to keep quiet on anti gun issues during his re election campaign because it could ruin his chance of winning.
I'm not sure cities or counties have the right, under the constitution to pass restrictions against anti gun laws but states do have that right under the Tenth Amendent. The Second Amendment restricts the federal governments ability to pass anti gun laws.
BHO thinks he can violate the constitution and get away with it. As he said "who will stop me?"

Marine One

Agendas like this make me laugh. We have so many agendas that have been on the back burner that there is hardly any room for another one. Idea - Lets address the one's we have ignored for years first:
border - fast and furious
illegal aliens
Then lets start some new ones..

Kevin Lang

Since we've had laws on the books for decades regarding machine guns, and we recently had one on "assault rifles", it seems that the Supreme Court doesn't agree that the Second Amendment doesn't allow for federal regulation of the gun market. The Second Amendment may restrict the ability to implement a total ban on guns, but since many of the guns proposed for this ban have been banned before, I don't know how the 10th Amendment comes into play.

Anyway, anything the city council resolves will be purely ceremonial. It certainly puts another opinion out into the heads of others, but I think it will take louder voices and significantly more reason one way or the other to completely sway the dialogue. Nice gesture, but probably immaterial in the long run.

George Croix

"In common use".
Words from SCOTUS to remember.

Lars Faltskog

Indeed sounds like grandstanding to me. Kind of a LOL to me. From reading this, it's made to look like LC is an "unsafe" place that needs residents to be armed to feel secure.

I thought LC was a haven for suburban, tree-lined (white) family living.

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