The slow dripping erosion of our liberties

The constant and deliberate assault on our liberties should not be underestimated.  The Bill of Rights protects those liberties, and once those rights are gone, they are incredibly difficult to regain. 

History shows us that the human cost to preserve liberties is astronomical but the cost of living without freedom is even higher.  Yet today in modern times as we look around the globe, freedom is always under attack and worth defending. 

Right here in our backyard of Northern Wisconsin, local elected officials have substantial authority over our freedoms.  The power of government does not stem just from Madison or Washington DC.

Recent discussions within the Superior City Council shine even more light on the control local officials try to assert over our freedoms. 
The recent June 7th meeting of the Superior City Council included a discussion and action on a permitting of firearm sales within the city.  We need no reminder that the ‘Right to keep and bear arms” is firmly prescribed in our Bill of Rights. 

Current city ordinances prohibit firearm sales outside of the ‘central business district’ and manufacturing zones.  In other words, licensed gun shops are not allowed along the heavily trafficked Highway 53/US-2 route or commercial area south on Highway 35. 

A May 31st memorandum to Superior Mayor Jim Paine and council members from the Planning and Economic Development Commission urged the council to amend Chapter 122 of their zoning regulations.  The memorandum states:

“Currently firearm sales are only allowed in our C4 – Central Business District and Manufacturing zoning districts. This is likely due to our antiquated zoning code. A few businesses have expressed concerns with the zoning restriction because it has limited their business sales and has limited their potential locations for relocation. By allowing firearm sales in our lower Commercial Districts it allows our existing businesses the ability to move, expand and continue operating in Superior as they have for several years.”

In addition to inhibiting economic benefits, this existing ordinance prohibits the legal sale of products to law-abiding citizens.  The slow drip to erode the Bill of Rights occurs with droplets such as the overbearing ordinances that come about from liberal local units of government like the City of Superior.  Instead of a full-throated ban on firearms, the various units of government place restrictions on your ability to purchase firearms, ammunition and components.  They limit the banks’ ability to finance and transact firearms and in this case, they limit the place you can legally purchase a firearm. 

Superior resident Tom Ledin urged the council to oppose lifting restrictions.

“It is often asked what elected officials can do about gun violence, if anything. I would suggest that one important thing would be to not make that possibility any easier, as this proposal could do.” Ledin argued “Highway commercial districts are near schools, churches, grocery stores, bars and restaurants, parks, senior living facilities and a day care center”. 

We should note, the current restrictions limit firearms retailers to areas often adjacent to low-to-moderate income housing, so if you are poor, you can walk to the gun shop, but if you live in ‘suburbs’ of Superior, you must drive into the city center to shop for a new rifle or handgun.

The proposed change was ultimately referred back to the planning commission with a motion by councilor Mike Herrick.  Herrick suggested the commission should consider creating a special use permit so “the city can better control where firearm sales are allowed.”

Control.  Perhaps defenders of freedom should mail Mr. Herrick a copy of our U.S. Constitution or at minimum contact the City of Superior Common Council prior to the July 20th planning commission meeting and urge them to support our Second Amendment.