DELRAY BEACH — Delray Beach leaders took a strong stance on gun control Tuesday evening when they passed a resolution urging lawmakers to ban all “military-style assault weapons” like the one used to kill 14 children and three adults at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 just 20 miles from Delray.
The city commission Tuesday night passed a seven-page resolution that lists dozens of reasons it supports stricter gun laws, a topic that has divided political figures since the Valentine’s Day rampage.
The resolution calls for an “outright ban on assault weapons, including but not limited to semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic shotguns, and semi-automatic pistols; automatic weapons; military-style weapons, and high-capacity magazines.”
It also supports universal background checks; raising the age requirement to buy an assault weapon to 21 years old; and enacting “Red Flag Laws” that allow police to take guns from people who show signs of violence.
Mayor Cary Glickstein, a Democrat who spoke at a Delray Beach rally for gun reform shortly after the Stoneman Douglas shooting, crafted the resolution with city attorneys.
Glickstein urged the commission to join the Broward County city of Weston in a lawsuit that challenges a Florida statute that prohibits municipalities from passing gun-related legislation. An elected official faces removal from office or a fine if they enact on such legislation. Glickstein called the resolution “ridiculous.”
Commissioner Mitch Katz suggested cities protest en masse by passing local gun-control laws at the same time, despite the risk that the governor removes them from office.
“If 40, 50 or 100 cities pass some sensible laws, I’d like to see the governor remove all of us,” Katz said.
The meeting opened with impassioned pleas from local students, who urged the commission to take action to end gun violence.
Students at Village Academy, Palm Beach County’s only pre-kindergarten to 12th grade public school, said they walk past crime tape to get to class, hear gunshot blasts from the comfort of their homes and worry about day-to-day gun violence as well as a potential mass shooting in their schoolyard.
“You have a moral obligation to do something,” Taniyah Evans, 14, told the commission.
Monica Malvoisin, an 11-year old sixth grader at Village Academy, studied up on gun laws before attending the commission meeting.
“If a person is not old enough to rent a car or buy a beer, then he or she should no be able to buy a weapon of mass destruction,” Malvoisin said.
And Rebecca Joseph, a ninth-grader at Village Academy, shared her worries about going to school each day wondering if she’ll face the unimaginable horror that Stoneman Douglas students did just weeks ago.
“It’s very difficult for us to focus because we are worried if our school is going to be next,” Joseph said.