The misguided Brand administration is at it again — now attacking our Second Amendment Rights!
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees “… the right of the people to keep and bear Arms…” and this right “shall not be infringed.” Our Founding Fathers in crafting the Declaration of Independence and Constitution knew that to be truly free, citizens must have the right to protect themselves and their families.
They believed that these rights were God-given, not granted by government. If one foolishly believes the right to protect oneself is given by government rather than an inherent God-given right as codified in our Constitution, then government can remove that right any time it wants. We have seen a history of repressive governments such as the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Cuba, and Venezuela confiscate the guns of its citizens which resulted in horrific and murderous outcomes.
Effort to Disarm Citizens
Our Founding Fathers knew that the rights of the individual to protect and defend themselves had to be guaranteed. Unfortunately, too many people are willing to give up their rights as government attempts to erode them both openly and covertly.
The effort to disarm citizens is now being driven by local politicians at Fresno City Hall. On Jan. 16, Mayor Lee Brand and some council members will attempt to enact an ordinance requiring law-abiding citizens with Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) permits to remove their concealed weapons before entering the building as is allowed by state law. The public will now have to go through metal detectors and all CCW holders will not be allowed to carry their concealed weapons.
In addition, the Brand administration’s misguided policy includes taking two police officers from patrolling neighborhoods and places them inside City Hall monitoring the metal detector machines. No longer are they responding to emergency police calls or making neighborhoods safer.
City Hall Employees Will Be Less Safe
While I support making the building more secure, mandating that law-abiding CCW holders not be allowed to carry their concealed weapon will only ensure that should bad guys come in with guns, good people will not be able to defend themselves. Employees will still be entering the building at other entrances and will not be screened for weapons which means bad guys who want to enter City Hall can find a way to do so without going through the metal detector.
In essence, Mayor Brand will be declaring City Hall a “gun-free zone” and only creating the illusion that City Hall is secure. It will not be and all the employees working there will be more unsafe as a result.
Here are the facts:
There are 18.6 million people with CCWs in the country and 120,000 CCW holders in California. Fresno County has over 17,000 CCW holders. People who get CCWs have extensive background checks, complete firearms safety courses, are trained with their weapon, and must fully understand the laws and safety requirements regarding the use and storage of their weapon. Statistically, they are clearly some of the most law-abiding citizens in the country. Women are also the fastest-growing demographic of CCW permit holders.
Too often we’ve witnessed evil people enter “gun free zones” to kill people. This has happened in movie theaters, churches, schools, and even at a school board meeting in Panama, Florida. In 2015, we saw a San Bernardino County employee involved in the killing of 14 other employees.
We also know that CCW holders have prevented or curtailed mass public shootings all over the country. Most recently, in a Texas church we witnessed on video an armed citizen shoot and kill a gunman who had just shot and killed two people. This happened within six seconds. If not for that armed civilian, there would have been a massacre in that church.
Law Enforcement Recognizes CCW Benefits
While we support, respect, and admire our law enforcement, we know (as they do) that they cannot be everywhere nor can they respond as quickly as needed when a shooting occurs. That’s why 66% of police chiefs believe citizens carrying concealed firearms reduce rates of violent crime and have encouraged citizens to get CCWs. Former Police Chief Jerry Dyer has stated when criminals know that people with CCWs are lawfully carrying concealed weapons, he believes “it makes the city safer.”
Sheriff Margaret Mims has issued the largest number of CCW permits in any county in California. Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux tweeted this year “I encourage all CCW holders in Tulare County to exercise your rights. Do so legally and only with a valid permit. Secure our communities and protect life by being able to defend ourselves against active shooters, threats to life, and those who use guns for criminal behavior.”
I agree. That’s why we must guard and fight against any efforts to restrict our Constitutional and God-given rights to protect ourselves, whether at the federal, state, and now local level. Mayor Brand’s ordinance is misguided, an attack on the Second Amendment, and if passed will only embolden criminals. It must be defeated.
The Fresno City Council will take public comments on this agenda item on Thursday, Jan. 16, at 9:30 a.m.
About the Author
Garry Bredefeld represents northeast Fresno (District 6) on the Fresno City Council.