Gilberton council shows support for 2nd Amendment
GILBERTON - The national debate about gun control came to Gilberton Thursday evening as borough council unanimously adopted a resolution in support of the right to bear arms as provided in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The "Second Amendment Preservation Resolution" was composed by borough police Chief Mark Kessler, who has been watching the news on gun rights and gun control and decided to show where he stands on the issue.
"I'm a Second Amendment supporter, and over the past four years I've been watching what's going on in Washington specifically," said Kessler. "After the school shooting, these guys are going to do something against the
Second Amendment. They've been trying for long before my time."
The complete text of the Second Amendment reads: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
"My heart goes out to the victims and families, especially the children," said Kessler. "That's what really drove me to do whatever I can for my little community and the people I serve."
The resolution also includes support of Section 21 of Article 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution that reads: "The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned."
The borough council meeting was attended by local residents and people who traveled to Gilberton in support of the resolution.
Mayor Mary Lou Hannon completely supported Kessler's initiative when she first learned about it.
"I was excited right from the get-go," said Hannon. "I thought it was a great idea. I support our whole constitution and amendments 100 percent. You can't help notice what's going on in the world. Things have changed."
Hannon is concerned about the rights of the citizens being taken away.
"This is a start. What I would like to see done is to encourage other government entities to support and adopt the Second Amendment resolution in order to prevent a domino effect of limitations on our rights given to us by the United States Constitution," said Hannon. "And that's what I see happening. If people don't take a stand that this is our constitutional right, then there will be a domino effect and then what's going to happen tomorrow."
Kessler said the support for the resolution has been gratifying, not only for the amount of people who attended Thursday's meeting.
"The support has been overwhelming from all over the nation," said Kessler. "I've been contacted by legislators, sheriffs, chiefs of police and average citizens from all walks of life in support of me, support of the borough, supporting our mayor and council, wanting copies of the resolution to take to their elected officials to get them to enact the same resolution. It's heartwarming to know that there are so many Americans who have said 'Enough is enough' and take a stand. We're drawing a line in the sand and this is it. We've been pushed long enough. Now it's our turn. It's 'We, the people,' not 'Them, the government.' A lot of people seem to forget that and don't realize that we, the people, allow the government to do what they do. The government would like to tell you what to do as a United States citizen. That's not what our Founding Fathers intended at all."
Hannon said, "I'd like to add that it was voted on unanimously last night and there are Republicans and Democrats on council. I think that is an important message to send. It's not a party thing. I don't have a vote, but I supported it 100 percent and urged council to adopt it."
Kessler made it clear that his idea for the resolution was his. He said he was not contacted by any organization such as the National Rifle Association or any other gun organization.
"I did this of my own free will," said Kessler. "It was sent to every state legislator in Pennsylvania."
A major section of the resolution states:
"The Council of the Borough of Gilberton within the state of Pennsylvania recognizes that all federal, state or local acts, laws, orders, rules, regulations - past, present or future - in violation of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and/or Section 21 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania are not authorized by the Constitution of the United States and/or the Constitution of Pennsylvania and violate its true meaning and intent as given by the Founding Fathers and Ratifiers, and are hereby declared to be invalid within Gilberton Borough and all of its boundaries, and shall not be recognized by this Council and are specifically rejected by the Borough of Gilberton within all of its boundaries within the state of Pennsylvania, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in the Borough of Gilberton within the state of Pennsylvania."
"Everyone here thanked Mark last night," said Hannon. "We had an 85-year-old gentleman here from Lock Haven and he played the harmonica. He played right before the meeting and after the vote."
"It's heartwarming to know that there are so many Americans who still believe in their country, even though we're going through some tough times, and particularly that last four years have been really tough on a lot of people," said Kessler. "It's really stale in Washington on both sides of the aisle."
Kessler spoke of his love for the country and what his father and grandfather sacrificed for it.
"I honor my father, who is a Vietnam veteran, for what he did when he was called upon to serve his country," said Kessler. "I honor my grandfather for serving his country during World War II, fighting in Germany and standing up and doing the honorable thing when his country called. I honor every man and woman who ever defended their nation in any way, shape or form, including making the ultimate sacrifice for what they believe in."
"For our freedom," Hannon interjected.
"Exactly. It's all about our freedom," said Kessler.