Big Spring Herald
City Council votes down ‘Second Amendment sanctuary’ resolution
Big Spring won't officially become a "Second Amendment sanctuary" following a vote on the issue at Tuesday night's City Council meeting.
The council met in its chambers, 307 E. Fourth St., with six members present. Only District 1 Councilman Raul Marquez was not at the meeting.
At the beginning of the "New Business" section of the meeting's agenda, the council addressed a resolution proposed by Mayor Shannon Thomason at the previous City Council meeting Sept. 24. The resolution, which was tabled at the September meeting, vowed to "...preserve the rights, freedom and liberty guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States;" and declare Big Spring to be "...a Second
Before the measure was discussed, area resident Judy Collins took advantage of a new state law, House Bill 2840, which allows members of the public to address the council at various times during governmental public meetings, including at the start and end of the meeting and before every vote.
Collins read several quotations from America's founding fathers supporting the Second Amendment rights of American citizens.
After a 4-2 vote (with Councilpersons Camilla Strande and Jim DePauw voting "no") to remove the proposed resolution from the table and address it at the meeting, Mayor Shannon Thomason read the text of the proposed resolution. Following a lengthy section providing several justifications for the item, the resolution reads:
"Now, therefore, be it resolved by the City Council of the City of Big Spring, Texas, that (Section 1) The City of Big Spring Texas, through its duly elected Mayor and City Council, hereby declare our rights, our freedom and our liberty as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America and demonstrate our determination to preserve the same for ourselves and future generations. (Section 2) The City of Big Spring, Texas, through its duly elected Mayor and City Council, hereby designate Big Spring, Texas, a Second Amendment Sanctuary in order to preserve for the People of, on, and in Big Spring, their rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America."
Councilman Terry McDaniel described some of the research he had done in exploring other Texas cities that had explored a similar resolution.
"The past week I've been contacting the citizens of Big Spring, talking to them about this particular item," McDaniel said. "I have gotten the following wide variety of answers. The first one was that, 'Sure, this means we can all carry guns whenever we want to without a permit.' That's how some people actually interpret this. The second was, 'This means we can give a message to the individuals that are running for office in this area that we are all for guns.' The third one: 'This means if the government decides to take our guns away, we can form a barricade around the city limits, arm ourselves, and tell them to "Come and take it."' It was also pointed out that this is a waste of time.
"I was told by an individual that Presidio, Texas, had passed this about a week ago, so I called the city administrator of Presidio, Joe Portillo, and talked with him. He explained to me that the County of Presidio passed the resolution and not just the city. It took place in Marfa, which is apparently where they all get together. I asked him if there were any repercussions from the state, and he referred me to Rod Ponton, who is the County Attorney and also the City Attorney of Presidio. I contacted him, and he said that, in order to keep from referring to the discretionary items referred to by the governor, they amended the document and did not refer to those items.
"If we approve this exactly the way that it's written, we stand a chance of not being able to receive discretionary grants from the state. After speaking with the attorney down there, and some of the other individuals that I spoke with, I do believe that we can pass it but we have to amend some of the items that are in there."
Councilman Jim DePauw suggested voting down the resolution and making the required changes outside of the City Council meeting before revisiting it.
Mayor Thomason suggested that the required changes could be made by striking out one paragraph referring to several State of Texas regulations.
After a lengthy discussion, during which Mayor Thomason revealed that a similar resolution is already on the books approved in April 2014. Other council members questioned why, if the 2014 resolution is already on the books, why another resolution is required.
The council voted against the measure 2-4, with Mayor Shannon Thomason and Councilman Doug Hartman in favor of the resolution; and Council members Terry McDaniel, Gloria McDonald, Camilla Strande, and Jim DePauw opposing.
In other business, the council approved a bid from Polydyne Inc. for polymer for the new fiscal year. Polydyne's bid was the only bid received after the city contacted 10 vendors. Two other responses were received with no bid. Polydyne's bid is $53,300, up $1,700 or 3.19 percent from last year's total of $51,600.
The council also approved advertising for bids on several vehicles and equipment such as backhoes and mowers with a total value projected outlay of $1,062,639.
The council also:
• Appointed Finance Director Don Moore as an "Internal Auditor" for city finances.
• Designated Scott Emerson, Brandon Iden and Alex Calvio as nominees for the position of director on the Howard County Joint Tax Appraisal District Board of Directors for 20202021.
• Approved granting permission to seek grants for additional funding for renovations to the Historic Comanche Trail Amphitheater.
• Approved an agreement with Enterprise FM for four vehicles for the Big Spring Police Department.
• Approved unanimously a Financial Advisory Contract with SAMCO Capital for financial advisor and consulting services.
• Unanimously approved a master interlocal purchasing agreement with North Texas Share for governmental functions and services.
• Unanimously approved an interlocal purchasing agreement with Gabriel, Roeder, Smith and Co.