Youngstown ''assault weapons'' ban gets first public hearing
Wednesday's public hearing in city council chambers on a proposed ban on possession or sale of assault firearms brought out raw emotion on both sides.
More than four dozen people attended the unusual pair of hearings, arranged by Artis Gillam Sr., D-1st, council's safety committee chairman. Massive feedback on the proposed law led him to set aside two hours in the afternoon and two hours in the evening for public input.
Gillam expects council to act on the issue in July. The decision will be based on what is right, not what's popular, he said.
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Gun supporters called for increased enforcement of state and federal laws, an end to plea-bargaining away weapons charges locally and holding judges accountable for the treatment of armed criminals.
"Criminals and drug dealers, by their very nature, do not obey laws. ... Law-abiding citizens will be forced to remove their firearms or relocate," said Jon Van Nest of Boardman, a certified firearms instructor and competitive shooter.
"Do we blame swimming pools for drownings? Do we blame matches for arson? Do we blame silverware for obesity? Then why are we demonizing an entire class of firearms because of the criminal acts of a few?'' asked Van Nest.
Click here to read the Youngstown Vindicator's account of how the gun control debate, when reduced to it's lowest common denominator, is an argument of logic (Mr. Van Nest's points above) vs. emotion (gun grabbers who also testified).
Click here to read about the Youngstown Police Chief's plan to crack down on persons carrying concealed firearms. No mention of observing an affirmative defense, of course.