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When Temple resident C.J. Grisham, a U.S. Army master sergeant, presented the Temple City Council with a gun rights resolution at the March 7 council meeting, he thought asking the council to “declare that citizens’ rights to keep and bear arms will not be infringed upon” seemed a straightforward request. Instead, the response of Mayor Bill Jones III prompts new questions of city council priorities and the real meaning of public service.
In a posting at his A Soldier’s Perspective web site, Grisham characterizes the resolution as “There’s nothing extremist in this resolution. There is nothing that adds to or takes away from the Constitution. There is nothing that violates any laws or ethics.” He also posts the proposed resolution’s full text.
Jones’ March 13 response, however, offers a different view:
Thanks for coming to City Council last week. Regarding your request, I am not going to request a resolution regarding the Constitution and a right to bear arms be considered for action by the Council. When we take office, in our oath, we swear or affirm that we will uphold the Constitution of the United States. We have no authority to do anything to alter the Constitution nor do we have any power to override the laws passed by the Congress of the United States.
Each individual should contact their elected US Congressman, Senators and President to let them know of their wishes concerning actions ongoing in the United States Congress. I am confident that any action to try to change our rights under the U.S. Constitution will be met with legal challenge.
You served in the military as did I. We both feel strongly about our service and why we freely volunteered to serve, so I understand why you are making this request. However, it is not an issue for the Council, as we have no standing in this matter. It is an issue for each of us as American citizens to take action and make our wishes known to those that represent us where action can take place.
Thank you for your service to our country, and for your interest in our local government.
City of Temple
In promptly responding to Jones’ position, Grisham pointed out the factual inaccuracies of the mayor’s statement and the routine intersection of local issues and federal laws. He asks if a city council member swears an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution,” what are they expected to do if not that?
Grisham characterizes Jones’ attempt to deflect responsibility in addressing an issue like gun rights as “lazy” and discusses the need for a proactive - not reactive – stance. Citing the issuance of nearly 3,000 concealed handgun licenses last year in Bell County in addition to those already holding licenses, Grisham maintains the gun rights resolution is of importance to a wide segment of Temple residents.
Here is Grisham’s full response to Jones:
“When we take office, in our oath, we swear or affirm that we will uphold the Constitution of the United States.” To me, this is an empty statement. Every member of Congress and the President of the United States takes that same oath and look where it’s gotten us. The city council in Oak Harbor, Washington, took the same oath and look how well that is going for citizens. Every Soldier took an oath to uphold the Constitution, but that hasn’t stopped Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno from calling for gun registration and keeping guns out of the hands of Americans (skip to about 7:30 in the video).
I’m sorry, but when a politician tells me that he’s already taken an oath to uphold the Constitution it rings hollow. Actions speak louder than words.
“We have no authority to do anything to alter the Constitution nor do we have any power to override the laws passed by the Congress of the United States.” I’m not asking the city council to alter the Constitution in any way. I don’t want the Constitution touched by ANYONE, liberals or conservatives. The Constitution, as written, is great as it is. I believe it be an inspired instrument from God to the people of this great country. The only people that want to alter the Constitution are those that want to seize more power for the government and further oppress American citizens.
When have cities NOT weighed in on high level national or state issues? City councils everywhere regularly flout federal law for issues that are favored by the Left, such as sanctuary cities, marijuana use, same-sex marriage and so forth? Surely those cities were grappling with issues very important to them – important enough for them to take a stand. Well, the Second Amendment is even more important to Temple – nearly 3,000 concealed handgun licenses were issued last year in our county on top of those already in possession of them, and it’s likely one of the reasons why our city is so safe. Therefore, we are duty bound to address any potential threat to our Constitutional right to bear arms. Whether we want to deal with this issue locally or not, we already are. So, if City Councils can restrict the rights of its citizens, why can’t it also recognize them? The truth is that we can.
It’s not your job? Then why do City Council Members have to swear an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution” if they are never expected to do so?! Why bother? I swore that oath when I was in the military – four times – and am bound by it today. Elected representation is a trust, even though our modern-day politicians have made a mockery of it. But this is not a joke to me, and I won’t lower myself to anyone’s lowest notions concerning representation. We live in a representative republic and anyone who swears such an oath and then shirks it as “above his pay grade” betrays our republic and that is shameful. I would never do such a thing, and I certainly don’t expect such a thing from my local elected representatives.
“Each individual should contact their elected US Congressman, Senators and President to let them know of their wishes concerning actions ongoing in the United States Congress. I am confident that any action to try to change our rights under the U.S. Constitution will be met with legal challenge.” This is a great idea, but the problem is that I don’t want to wait until it’s too late and we have to rely on an every politicized court system to deal with statism and authoritarianism. The time deal with and defend our rights as guaranteed in the Constitution is TODAY. What kind of people are we if we just sit idly by and wait for our government to pass encroaching laws instead of aggressively serving notice to the bureaucrats in DC that we won’t tolerate it NOW! Besides, can we as citizens not do both – contact our federal representatives AND our local ones?
This is nothing but sheer laziness. You may have well just said, “It’s too hard to deal with right now. It’s much easier to just do nothing and let the federal government run ramshod over our lives and we’ll figure it out then what to do.”
“However, it is not an issue for the Council, as we have no standing in this matter.” It damn well IS an issue for the council. See above. Our council members are the closest representatives we have. We have the opportunity to reach out and touch them every single day. We aren’t able to travel to Washington and speak for three minutes on the House or Senate floor. Shame on anyone on the council if you don’t respond to our requests to take a stand in support of our rights with alacrity. The Second Amendment is under attack and I guarantee you that it’s on every citizen’s mind in our city, regardless of which side of the argument they fall. This is an issue that affects our everyday lives – in our schools, our neighborhoods, our police force, and the entire City of Temple.
To NOT address it would be cowardly and evasive. To NOT address it means our Temple police officers may have to make the choice by themselves under duress to not enforce unConstitutional acts. Without this resolution, they’d stand alone and unprotected. By passing this resolution, our police would know that we stand with them and them with us.
“It is an issue for each of us as American citizens to take action and make our wishes known to those that represent us where action can take place.” That’s EXACTLY what I did at the City Council meeting last week. I want to know where my representatives in the City of Temple stand on our basic, God-given rights to keep and bear arms. I want to know, by recorded vote, which members of our council need to be voted out of office because they agree with the gun control schemes being bandied about in Congress. It’s not just “an issue for each of us as American citizens“; it’s THE MOST IMPORTANT issue for each of us.
This response only tells me one thing: the council thinks I’m the only one that cares about this. Well, I’m going to change that. I have only been emboldened to work harder and prove to the council that this is an issue that the citizens of Temple care deeply about and we want to hear from our elected officials what your specific stand is. I will pack the council meetings with like-minded citizens that also care about the downward spiral of this country and its continuing encroachments upon our rights. If the council won’t listen to me, maybe they’ll listen to all of us!
If this is an issue that the council feels is redundant, then there is no harm in taking a formal stand. Other cities in Texas have done what somehow the City of Temple can’t do. League City is just one of them. The City of Rockwall passed one. The City of Gonzalez did as well. Cooke County Commissioners passed one. I could go on. What is so special about Temple that we are supposed to just take your word for it that you will uphold your oath?
In a final communication, Jones resists acknowledging today’s political climate in which many gun owners feel their rights are indeed threatened. He refers Grisham to the city secretary’s office to learn more about further contacting the city council.
We will just have to agree to disagree on this. We take our oath seriously. It is unfortunate that others do not or have not. I will not recommend that the Temple City Council take action on a resolution relating to the right to bear arms. Our founding fathers did an excellent job of securing this right for us in the U. S. Constitution. There is nothing that we can do to add to it or perfect this right. A resolution does not bind us to anything more than is already done. I will not use the Temple City Council as a platform to merely make a political statement.
If you wish to discuss this with the Temple City Council, you may contact the City Secretary to find out how to do so. Otherwise, you are always welcome to come to the City Council meetings and sign up for a public appearance. We will hear your comments.
City of Temple
Over the last years, many Americans have to come believe their rights and liberties are eroding. Grisham’s web site notes “The federal government has painted targets on our right to keep and bear arms and many bills are currently working their way through legislatures at the state and federal level.”
A battle is underway at both state and federal levels to limit or deny Americans’ Second Amendment right to bear arms. Local communities are the next front in which this battle is likely to ensue. Looking ahead, gun rights advocates across our state are mounting efforts in which cities take a proactive stance acknowledging support of this Constitutional right. That the residents, the voters of a city would like to know where their officials stand on such an issue hardly seems unreasonable.
With cities increasingly attempting to regulate what people eat or drink, how they travel, where they live, the activities in which they engage even how they bring groceries home from the store, it’s illogical to not recognize this fundamental right as being threatened.
And Temple has its own history of seeking to regulate behavior. The Temple Mayor’s Fitness Council, a council comprising 44 members, proposed the city’s newest smoking restrictions. With the new ordinance, Temple has banned smoking inside private clubs, bowling alleys, hair salons, city buildings and restaurants except for outdoor patio areas. Businesses with alcohol sales comprising 50+ percent of gross receipts are exempted from the smoking ban while bingo parlor smoking is allowed within restricted areas.
Though not as stringent as New York City’s outdoor smoking ban, smoking is also prohibited at all city parks with the city-operated Sammons Golf Links golf course the only exception. Is the health of golfers utilizing this facility of less import or is the city desiring to avoid a revenue loss the new ordinance could bring? One has to wonder.
Along these lines, Temple motels and hotels didn’t fare so well as these businesses which cater to I-35′s heavy truck traffic can now have no more than 25 percent of their rooms designated for smoking. Legal businesses are now precluded from accommodating a segment of their market who use a legal product and motel customers seeking an alternative to non-smoking hotels will have to look to other communities.
This issue is not about smoking – it’s about use of a legal product and government intrusion into non-illegal business activity. Grisham appeared before the council when this new ordinance vote took place. He asked then are we voting to increase liberty or are we voting to destroy liberty?
Jones will be leaving office in a few weeks, but remaining Temple City Council members (as well as candidates) should be prepared to articulate their view on the city of Temple being an entity committed to upholding or denying rights.
On a final note, Grisham was arrested March 16 in Temple. “Yes, Master Sgt. Grisham was arrested and it is our understanding he has been charged with resisting arrest, search or transportation,” attorney Kurt Glass told the Temple Daily Telegram Friday. “We are still gathering evidence and we are in the beginning stages of our investigation. We can confirm Grisham was carrying an AR 15-style rifle.”
Glass is working for the return of Grisham’s weapons and Texas concealed handgun license, an item Glass says was taken although is not listed on the Temple Police Department inventory list provided. The paper reports an altercation between an officer and Grisham when Grisham refused to relinquish his weapons to the officer. At a point, the officer reportedly drew his weapon pointing it at Grisham.
Per the Telegram, the police report says Grisham “passively resisted their attempts to handcuff him.”
On Facebook Grisham said this of the encounter:
This past weekend while on a 10-mile hike with my 15-year old son to complete requirements for his eagle scout rank, I was illegally detained, stripped of my weapons, and arrested when I refused to voluntarily surrender them. I am a licensed CHL holder in multiple states, an active duty Master Sergeant and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. My only charge was “resisting arrest” though I was never placed under arrest until I was charged with resisting it. Confused? Me too. We were hiking down back country roads away from homes and businesses outside Temple, Texas, when the police claim they were responding to a call about a man walking down the road with a gun, something that is legal in the state of Texas.
At stake is Grisham’s top secret security clearance, his job and Army retirement after serving 19 years.
Tags: bloggers, CJ Grisham, government, gun control, gun rights, taxpayer, Temple, Temple Mayor Bill Jones, Temple TX, Texas, transparency
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