Eaton declares itself 2A Sanctuary

By Kelsey Kimbler -

EATON — The City of Eaton is officially a Second Amendment Sanctuary City.

During its meeting on Monday, Feb. 17, city council approved a Second Amendment Preservation Resolution, declaring the opposition of the City of Eaton to any restrictions on the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

The resolution states, “The Eaton City Council fully affirms their support of the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms and stand firm against any law or ordinance on any level of government to remove that right from any law-abiding citizen without due process;

“Whereas, the City of Eaton will not authorize any City Official to expend City funds for the purpose of enforcing illegal and/or unconstitutional laws or ordinances that seek to limit a law-abiding citizen right to keep and bear arms;

“Whereas, the Eaton City Council believes the best way to prevent gun violence is to address the growing mental health crisis, hold those accountable who use a political agenda to disarm law-abiding citizens and the enforcement of already existing criminal laws that aim to stop violence and not to limit the inalienable rights of law-abiding citizens;

“Whereas, the citizens of Eaton derive economic benefit from lawful use of firearms, including hunting, recreation, and shooting sports.

“By the authority granted the council by laws of the State of Ohio and the people of the City of Eaton to stand and defend their rights and liberties, which are guaranteed by the United States and Ohio Constitutions, we hereby declare this Resolution to be a ‘Second Amendment Preservation Resolution’ and declare Eaton to be a ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary City.’

“The Council does hereby pledge not to appropriate funds, resources, and employees or agencies to initiate unconstitutional seizures in Eaton.

“The City demands that the state and national legislature cease and desist any further actions restricting the Second Amendment rights of citizens and instead address the real and fundamental challenges in our communities.”

This was not the first version of the resolution. Council had to amend the resolution to remove Mayor Gary Wagner’s name, as he voted in opposition of the symbolic resolution.

Council member Joe Renner brought the discussion up, sharing his hopes council would pass it that night, and members Matt Venable, David Kirsch, and Brad Moore all shared their support of passing the resolution. However, Mayor Wagner said he did not tend to agree.

“We also took an oath to uphold the laws of the State of Ohio. If we pass this resolution — though it doesn’t mean anything, it is boilerplate,” he said.

Kirsch countered, the resolution is a message in response to the “intrusiveness” of the state government.

“I think we need to hold our ground and I think we need to send a message back to them that they need to reevaluate the legislation that is coming out of the state house,” Kirsch said.

Wagner asked, “”If this resolution passed, are we going to be a law abiding community and have our police officers enforce [any laws] that [results] from this legislation? Or are we going to not enforce the law.”

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” Renner said.

Wagner added, they took an oath to the Constitution, but also to the State of Ohio to uphold their laws.

“I’m not comfortable having my name on something that is going to put us in direct conflict with the law,” he said.

Moore said, for him, this was council showing their opposition to the legislation as it is currently proposed.

After further discussion, council agreed to amend the resolution to remove Wagner’s name. The amended resolution passed four to one, with Wagner voting against.

In other business:

•City Manager Brad Collins spoke to council about Preble County Council on Aging’s (PCCOA) plan to develop senior housing near their campus, located on 28 acres they own south of the Senior Center. PCCOA is still in the planning stages of this future development.

•Collins also reported on the new Dairy Queen that will be coming to the old Sonic location this summer, a recent meeting with the Dayton Development Coalition, and census information.

•Council approved an ordinance to make appropriation for current year expenses and other expenditures of the City of Eaton during the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2020.

During discussion, Mayor Wagner asked about the city’s Indigent Driver Alcohol Training fund, which has a balance of $137,008.

“That account keeps growing every year and we never spend any money,” he said.

He added, he’s reached out to numerous agencies who could use the money, but they haven’t responded and don’t seem interested. Finance Director Stephanie Hurd explained, there are only certain things the money can be used for. The city could pay for a three-day program for indigent people or start a drug court. However, these programs would have to be initiated by Mental Health & Recovery Board.

“If you declared there to be a surplus of funds, you can use it for an expanded number of reasons. It’s still limited, but expanded from what the original funds are earmarked for,” Law Director Ryan Brunk said. “One of [the possibilities] is a drug court.”

•The Fire and EMS report for January 2020 showed a combined response of 172 calls; 132 responses, including 10 second Medic responses; and 40 fire/rescue responses, including 10 general alarms. The department received mutual aid five times and provided mutual aid two times. This is an average of 5.5 calls per day for the month. There were two heroin overdose responses in January 2020.

Eaton City Council will have its next regular meeting on Monday, March 16, at 6 p.m. in the City Building.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH