City council declares Merrill a Second Amendment sanctuary city

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MERRILL, Wis. (WSAW) -- On Tuesday the Merrill City Council passed a resolution to declare itself a Second Amendment sanctuary city. The resolution passed 6-2.

Photo of Merrill City Hall, undated (WSAW Photo)

A Second Amendment sanctuary city simply means a city, town or county plans to not acknowledge state or federal gun laws that are believed to infringe on someone’s second amendment right. However, city councils do not have the authority to legally enforce the resolution.

Alderman Steve Osness presented the resolution before the council citing it would be an economic boost for the city of Merrill and support the right to bear arms.

"This is about us being proactive," Osness said during the meeting when questioned about his motives. "This is about protecting our citizen's rights."

Merrill city council members defined the resolution as 'a statement on behalf of the city supporting the Second Amendment.' They acknowledged that this resolution holds little if not any weight when it comes to how law enforcement agencies will do their job.

During the meeting Mayor, Derek Woellner asked the Merrill Police Chief, Corey Bennett, if this would change how police conduct their everyday business he answered said 'no.'

Community members at the meeting were allowed to speak on the matter, many citing that the resolution was not needed and could discourage families wanting to move to Merrill because of gun safety concerns.

“Every time I hear a siren, I say a prayer in hopes that Merrill will not be the next city to suffer another school shooting," said one resident attending the meeting.

The Mayor proposed sending the resolution to the Health and Safety Committee to address wording concerns in the resolution and to allow more public input, but his motion did not pass.

Alderman, Rob Norton, voted against the measure saying 'There is no legitimate reason for this resolution.'

In Wisconsin, there are at least two county governments that have passed or are considering passing a similar resolution. Alderman Osness says he presented the same resolution passed by Florence County.