NEW: Royal Palm plans resolution supporting gun control after Parkland

12:06 p.m Tuesday, March 6, 2018 Local
A sign supporting gun control sits down the street from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland as students and their parents arrived Feb. 28. (Lannis Waters /T he Palm Beach Post)

Royal Palm Beach’s village council is planning a resolution supporting state gun control efforts in the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Mayor Fred Pinto said the resolution comes at the suggestion of the Palm Beach County League of Cities for member governments to “address or take a posture on our position on gun control” following the Valentine’s Day attack that left 17 dead.

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“We all know that the legislature put in place laws that prohibit local cities or counties from passing our own gun control,” he said at last week’s council meeting, referring to a 2011 Florida law that punishes local governments that try to pass their own gun-control rules. “It doesn’t prohibit us from expressing our viewpoint.”

The league included a suggested resolution that was “way too long,” Pinto said. “A resolution of this sort should not be longer than a page.”

Councilman Jeff Hmara, who serves as Royal Palm Beach’s representative on the Palm Beach County League of Cities, said he requested from the league an example of a resolution that might address gun control. He was given one approved in August 2016 by Lauderhill following the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando that left 49 people dead in June of that year.

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“It focused heavily upon military-grade, high-capacity magazine assault weapons,” Hmara said.

He thinks a better approach for Royal Palm Beach is to voice support for ongoing legislative efforts, including Gov. Rick Scott’s recently released, nearly $500 million multi-point plan to improve school safety and increase gun control in Florida.

“Which says, maybe we’re finally getting our arms around the notion that this is not a simple problem, this is not just banning one weapon and that type of thing, that’s going to actually address this meaningfully,” Hmara said. “Even just a generic support of this kind of legislative initiative I think might be a good thing for us.”

Council members Jan Rodusky, Selena Smith and Richard Valuntas agreed, but said they want to see the draft resolution.

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“One I see something I can have a better understanding,” but I’m not opposed to drafting something,” Smith said. “I would just need to see it before I agree.”

Pinto suggested the resolution should mention the idea of “common-sense legislation.” He also said he wants to make clear that the village supports the Second Amendment. “We’re not looking to abridge or take away any right the Second Amendment provides,” he said.

The council directed village attorney Jennifer Ashton to draft a succinct resolution to be discussed at a later council meeting. Ashton suggested the resolution should be addressed to Congress as well as state lawmakers, because this is the final week of Florida’s legislative session.