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Boise City Council calls for more gun control

Three pistols are on display with price tags.
Chris Haxel
Guns & America/KCUR

Boise City Council is urging state and federal lawmakers to take further action to curb gun violence in the United States just days after a compromise bill passed through Congress.

In the resolution passed Tuesday afternoon, city councilors called for universal background checks on all sales – both public and private – as well as “reasonable restrictions” associated with owning “military-style” guns.

They also want Congress to limit the size of magazines and beef up so-called “red flag” laws, which allow a person’s firearms to be seized for a period of time when they’re considered a threat to themselves or others.

Council President Elaine Clegg said she never thought about her safety at school growing up, even though her friends carried pocket knives and had shotguns in their pickups.

“But it was also a time when guns were regulated in a much different way than they are today and I happen to believe that that sensible regulation contributed to the safety I felt,” Clegg said.

The Idaho legislature blocked local governments from implementing their own firearm restrictions in 2008, leaving any regulations solely in their hands.

On Saturday, President Joe Biden signed into law a compromise gun reform package passed in the wake of high-profile mass shootings at a Texas elementary school and New York grocery store.

The new federal regulations enhance background checks for gun buyers 21 years of age and under, incentivize states to enact their own red flag laws and boost funding for mental health programs.

Still, councilors say more needs to be done. Idaho ranked 4th in the nation for suicide deaths by gun in 2020 and 16th for total gun deaths that year, according to the resolution.

Since the beginning of the year, the resolution said Boise has experienced 70 incidents of gun violence resulting in four injuries and one death.

Councilmember Lisa Sanchez said gun rights in the U.S. realistically only apply to White men in her mind.

“As long as we keep making room for guns, we are supporting white supremacy in our country,” Sanchez said.

Councilmember Lucy Willits was the only no vote. She said weighing in on these matters isn’t the job for a city council.

“This resolution will have no bearing on the operations of city government except to, I think, make a statement that will have very little impact,” Willits said.

Through June 26, there have been 293 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2022, which are defined as attacks involving four or more victims who are injured or killed.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news

Copyright 2022 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!