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Pomona Votes Down Call for Firearms Ban

February 26, 1989|JEFFREY MILLER | Times Staff Writer

POMONA — The City Council last week voted down a resolution calling on state and federal lawmakers to ban the sale and possession of semiautomatic assault weapons.

Mayor Donna Smith proposed the resolution last month after a massacre at a schoolyard in Stockton and a spate of gang-related shootings in Pomona, all of which were carried out with semiautomatic weapons. However, Councilman Mark Nymeyer argued against the resolution, which was rejected by a 3-2 vote.

Nymeyer, who owns a gun that would be affected by such a ban, said prohibition of the weapons would disarm law-abiding citizens but do nothing to restrict gang members' access to the rifles.

"People who have a criminal mind, who think about killing other people, who consider that an option in life, don't buy guns in gun stores," Nymeyer said in an interview last week. "They get them illegally."

Nymeyer added that he believed a gun ban would also violate the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which affords citizens the right to keep and bear arms. That amendment exists, Nymeyer said, to give people the ultimate means--armed revolt--to seek redress of their grievances.

Broomsticks and Shovels

"When the people stormed into Red Square, they came with broomsticks and faced an army with guns," he said. "Why did they come with broomsticks and shovels and rakes? They didn't have guns? I've often wondered why the people of Czechoslovakia or Poland don't rise up and overthrow their government. The reason is they don't have guns."

But Smith, who supported a ban along with Councilwoman Nell Soto, said something must be done to take semiautomatic weapons out of the hands of gang members.

"I support the right to bear arms, but I'm not sure everyone needs semiautomatic assault rifles to bear arms with," Smith said. "We actually have families that are being destroyed by these weapons. Our police are outgunned. They cannot compete with the weapons the gangs are using against them."

After the council voted against a ban Tuesday night, Smith asked that a revised resolution be brought back for consideration on March 6. The new resolution will urge legislators to require a 15-day waiting period for gun buyers and to ban the sale of ammunition used in semiautomatic weapons. Nymeyer said he supports a waiting period.

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