Savannah City Council challenges lawmakers to change gun control laws

Savannah City Council members propose changes to gun control laws

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah City Council members are asking state leaders to make a change when it comes to gun control.

Despite the unanimous vote, there were people against it. Some of the things the resolution calls for lawmakers to address are universal background checks for gun-buyers, bans on assault weapons, and legislation looking to help municipalities get rid of guns that aren’t being used for evidence.

Savannah City Council made it crystal clear that the resolution does not and will not change any regulations with guns in Savannah.

“Understand that we have no stand in this. All this is is a resolution for recommendation to Congress and state legislators," said Julian Miller, Alderman, District 4.

City leaders are using the resolution to challenge lawmakers to provide votes and laws - not just thoughts and prayers - through what they call “common-sense gun control legislation.”

Moms Demand Action is happy for this small symbolic step.

“Gun owners understand if they are buying from a federally-licensed firearm dealer, they are already getting a background check," said Anne Allen Westbrook, Moms Demand Action. “They aren’t opposed to our closing this market that makes it so easy to get in the hands of those who shouldn’t have them."

Despite the lack of power in this resolution, it does carry a stance from the City of Savannah. Those on both sides of the debate voiced their thoughts.

“I have lost my brother to gun violence.”

Chris Cherry says even after losing a family member to gun violence, he doesn’t want lawmakers to punish gun owners who abide by the law.

“The criminals don’t obey gun laws, so I don’t think it’s going to stop any of the mass tragedies, other than it’s going to stop people from people being able to defend themselves," Cherry said.

Despite not having any actual weight in city regulations, both sides of the gun debate heated up the council chambers Thursday over this resolution, even after the City Council voted unanimously for the proposal.

“You need to enforce. You need to go after the criminals. It’s not the law-abiding citizens you need to control,” one speaker said.

After City Council left, the conversation continued in the halls. People from both sides of the issue discussed their stance.

“It seems polarizing in settings like this, but when you really get down to a face to face conversation like they were having, you realize you aren’t so far apart. You have a lot in common,” said Westbrook.

The 90-minute meeting focused mainly on the resolution and making sure everyone had a chance to speak and ask questions.

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