Dear Editor – Clarke on Gun Control Agenda

Historically the City Council has been reluctant to take positions on legislation. I felt it was important that the City make its voice heard particularly on issues that have an impact upon our government operations or our residents. Along with my colleague Councilwoman Sahli-Wells I requested the Council establish an ad-hoc Legislation subcommittee in order to develop procedures for the consideration of and taking positions on federal, state and county legislation. The Council agreed and Councilwoman Sahli-Wells and I became the subcommittee. Working with City staff, our intent was to develop a list of issues impacting the City and broad principles regarding those issues so that the staff could be guided in the development of letters of support or opposition that were consistent with Council’s intentions. That list was presented to Council and approved last December and has served its intended purpose of guiding the staff and not requiring them to return to Council for approval for each specific bill. Issues you would expect to see include economic development & redevelopment, fracking, environment quality, local government financing & taxation, public safety, etc. Gun violence prevention was not on the list as fortunately we do not have a gun violence problem in Culver City. However, I felt as did my colleagues that this issue was a national issue and as such Culver City should participate in the national discussion. For that reason, a separate agenda item was requested and approved. Speaking for myself, the primary purpose for that session was to adopt principles to guide our staff when considering various legislative proposals. And indeed there are many. Currently, there are 24 separate bills in the Congress not including the 7 amendments that were considered in the Senate and defeated. There are another 22 bills in the State Legislature. Time would not allow us to take up each bill.

What we did at our last Council meeting was to adopt principles. Those included 1. Calling for a ban on assault weapons; 2. Outlawing high-capacity magazine clips; 3. Calling for universal background checks; 4. Closing loopholes and going after straw purchasers.

I believe in adopting these principles we clearly put Culver City on the side of common sense gun violence prevention legislation in the national debate and gave the City staff the guidance they needed to be able to evaluate and prepare correspondence on relevant legislation. I am proud of the action we took.

Culver City Councilmember Jim Clarke

www.culvercitysymphony.org

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