The Chico City Council Tuesday night tip-toed out of a delicate situation in the face of a citizens group's request to reaffirm its support for the Second Amendment.
Last month, the City Council agreed to consider a request by local businessman Toby Schindlebeck, who belongs to a group called "Responsible Gun Owners of Butte County." As he put it, he wanted the council to "let the thousands of gun-owning constituents know which side of the issue they stand on" when it comes to the second amendment and gun control.
So a resolution was drawn up, which among other things, stated support for no more gun control restrictions and full support for the individual's right to bear arms.
A few hours into Tuesday's regular meeting, the council opened up public discussion on the issue. There were no fireworks as one might have expected for such a hot topic. Seven spoke; six in favor of a second amendment reaffirmation; one against.
And for a gun control debate, it couldn't have been a more polite discussion.
It should be noted that Schindlebeck did not attend Tuesday's meeting.
Gun supporters calmly cited history, the wild west and present day crime issues to make their point that further gun control restrictions would do the country more harm than good.
"If we're going to solve criminal problems, why are more laws about guns going to make that better?" Connie Voss asked.
But Chico State History Professor Dr. Lisa Emmerich ask the council to reject the resolution.
"This resolution asks you to privilege the Second Amendment in such a way that diminishes the importance of the rest of the constitution," she said.
When it came the council's turn, the discussion was a bit mixed at start. Council member Scott Gruendl empathized with those supporting the resolutions, but agreed with Dr. Emmerich reminder that each sitting at the dais has already taken an oath to support and defend all laws.
Ann Schwab agreed as she held up her oath.
"It does say that I will support and defend the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of the State of California and I do and that is my pledge each and every day to the citizens of Chico," Schwab said.
Council member Sean Morgan, however, said he would support reaffirming the second amendment in a "what could be the harm" sense.
In the end, it was Gruendl who agreed that instead of outright rejecting the Second Amendment resolution, perhaps the council would agree to retake their Oath of Office. The motion passed unanimously.
Afterward, Action News caught up with some members of the Paradise Tea Party who attended the meeting. They weren't angry. Just a bit disappointed, said Tea Party Chairman Ray Dalton.
"It's a watering down of what we asked for."
Just when council members will do over their oaths of office has yet to be determined.