Tuesday’s much-anticipated Delaware County Agricultural Society Board of Directors meeting came and went without a vote on Delaware City Council’s gun resolution that was sent to them last week. The resolution, which called on the agricultural board to require background checks for any private gun sale at the fairgrounds, was sent to the executive committee for further research and discussion.
Residents siding on both sides of the issue showed up to address the board and make their recommendations. One of them was Delaware Hayes senior Mallorie Watts, who implored the board to move their consideration beyond guns as they relate to mass shootings.
“You see a lot of reports on mass shootings in the media, but nobody talks about suicide-related gun deaths,” Watts told the board. “Sixty percent of gun-related deaths are suicides. If I were you, standing in your shoes, I wouldn’t want anything traced back to me.”
Added Assistant City Manager Jackie Walker, “This isn’t a Second Amendment threat. It’s just running background checks to make sure the person being sold a weapon isn’t wanted for murder or domestic violence, or some other violent crime. That’s all this resolution is asking for.”
Delaware Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski, when questioned last week about the inability of those without a Federal Firearm Licence (FFL) to conduct a viable background check, provided more clarity on what council’s resolution is asking for.
“(The resolution) would essentially ask the fair board to say no private sales at organized events,” he said.
Pijanowski was expected to address the board but was not present.
Resident Mike Newbern, reading from provision 9.68 of the Ohio Revised Code, urged the board to consider the challenges and legal implications that would come with an approval of a resolution that violates that code.
“Any rule passed that is in conflict with this law will be challenged. And the board will pay for that challenge, both to defend it and to the victorious party, which will not be the board,” Newbern said. “I encourage you to vote ‘no’ on such a rule, because if you don’t, the Delaware taxpayer will have to foot the bill, and I ask you to be better stewards of our money.”
Don Howard, president of the Delaware County Agricultural Society, was pleased with the conversation residents brought to the table, and also the respect they showed for one another.
“I was very proud of our community as a whole,” he said. “Both sides were sincere and passionate, but also courteous to each other. That’s the way it should be in a democracy.”
The board meets on the third Tuesday of the month, making May 15 the date to circle on calendars. However, Howard couldn’t commit to the resolution being voted on then, saying it would depend entirely on the status of the research the executive committee will be conducting.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @ddavis_gazette.