CORN – At the last Wheatland City Council meeting held on September 28 at 5 p.m., there was a workshop agenda item on the questions people were asking and the rumors going around regarding Order 833. About 40 people attended the workshop to express their concerns.
The topic of most interest to those in attendance was Ordinance 833 which was an ordinance amending Wheatland City Codes 9.05.090 and 9.05.100 regarding the unloading and possession of firearms in the Town of Wheatland.
In Mayor Brandon Graves’ opening comments, he mentioned that he hadn’t seen the room as full as it was on the night of the workshop.
“I think if we clean the air and give a general understanding of what’s going on here it can limit a lot of comments and concerns,” Graves said. “We have a law in effect in the town of Wheatland which we as mayor and council have deemed ‘incorrect’. It is obsolete and needs to be revised. The process to achieve this is then to repeal that order or write a new order and then delete the old one. “
The mayor mentioned that they had tried the process with Order 833 and that there were things that made him uncomfortable as a Second Amendment supporter and gun owner. He also asked the public to discuss the changes to the proposed ordinance and discuss the desired outcome rather than taking the time to criticize the content as is.
“It is not a law, it is not adopted. It’s a work in progress, ”Graves said. “I think there has been an unnecessary muddling of the waters with social media and word of mouth that has been misinterpreted and distorted and a lot of things that I hope we can dispel tonight.”
He then said he called on participants to ensure that the ordinance covers all the bases of citizens’ concerns.
City Councilor Tony Montoya spoke and explained how an ordinance works.
“An order requires three readings,” Montoya said. “It has been 90 days for this ordinance to be in effect. During this time, we can take things away, we can add things that we feel are necessary. There are things in this ordinance that we don’t like and we’re going to take them out of there. All we wanted to do was reflect state law as it currently states. Our old ordinance did not do that. Basically it said, “If you were transporting the streets of Wheatland, you were breaking the law”.
Montoya said people need to be assured that the council is not trying to take people’s guns and said that is the last thing they want to do.
Further explanation, but the council informed people of the bill drafted by the city attorney, Doug Weaver, which was not a law, but simply a project or a starting point to work from. They also told those in attendance that all city councilors approved the draft at first reading just to prevent the ordinance from being scrapped altogether. The yes votes just ensured that the ordinance could be worked on, amended and refined in second and third readings.
The workshop was created to create a better prescription. After the prescription was reworked and reformulated, the next reading would be set to further refine it if necessary.
Representative Jeremy Haroldson who spoke at the workshop said that originally it was a citizen and not a council member who first saw the error between the current ordinance and the deviation which she posed when she was side by side with the law of the state.
“I’m going to say this,” Haroldson said. “833 is not what we want. After speaking with Mayor Graves and also City Councilor Montoya, I said that I think the best thing we can do is let them do their job, legislatively, and then we should open the discussion. (This council) is your representation and you elected them to represent you for the town of Wheatland, and so I think we should allow them to do their job.
Haroldson also pointed out that the idea of a person or a council cannot become instantaneous law. The process takes time and discussion and should be guided through the process with feedback and discussion.
He also highlighted the problem with a very powerful illustration telling people that he was an “open port” advocate and has been doing so for months. In doing so, he was breaking the law that had been put in place in Wheatland by saying that he could not open door to door in the city. He was not breaking a state law, but a local law because of the ordinance that the city currently has on the books. The ordinance which must be amended, again, to reflect the laws of the state.
“What 833 did was add a lot more to it than we wanted,” said Haroldson. “So we can all make recommendations, but I think we should watch them write their next draft and do their job, and then we can talk about it. It was all meant to extend your freedoms, not to deprive you of them. “
The council then began to rework the previous draft and proposed that as they finished refining and improving the current ordinance, the proposed new amendment would be presented to the public and that another workshop Council can be arranged or a discussion can be heard at the next Council meeting.
At this point, the council is reworking the original draft amendment that was created and when completed, it will be available for the public to consider.
The full meeting can be viewed on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_XdP8YkLU0