On March 13, the city of Champaign Illinois passed an ordinance giving the Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen a range of emergency powers including the authority to order a ban on the sale and transfer of guns. Residents would also be banned from giving firearms or ammunition to others. The move attracted national attention — a lot of it unwanted — for the central Illinois town.
Champaign is one of Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns member cities. And what was Mayor Feinen concerned about during the building Wuhan coronavirus emergency? Gun control.
Thanks to a FOIA request, here’s an email the Mayor forwarded to two people in the Champaign city manager’s office about an upcoming MAIG/Everytown event:
Mayors Against Illegal Guns University is premiering its first web-based training. Learn how your municipality can access millions of dollars in VOCA victim assistance funding and utilize it for gun violence prevention efforts in your community.
Two days before a declaration of a national emergency and the vote to give Mayor Feinen sweeping emergency powers, she was interested in obtaining federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant money for “gun violence prevention.” Translation: gun control.
As a result of the power grab, the city’s big wigs began to be deluged with complaints from citizens. The Mayor and City Manager were also apparently surprised about the national attention the town had gotten as a result of the emergency powers declaration.
A number of citizens were apparently under the impression that the Mayor had already used her new powers to ban the sale of guns, so the city posted an explanation on its web site. They wanted everyone to know that this was all perfectly normal, lots of cities are giving their executives unprecedented powers.
The City of Champaign is not unique in the language outlined under its orders and regulations. Many cities and states provide for similar listings of emergency powers in the event of a declaration of an emergency by a governor or a mayor. This includes the following Illinois communities: Rockford, Aurora, Normal, Naperville, Northbrook, Peoria, Joliet, Glenview, Glen Ellyn, Centralia, Peoria, and Springfield. Additionally, San Antonio, TX; Minneapolis, MN; Syracuse, NY; Seattle, WA; and the states of Georgia and Florida possess similar language in their emergency orders.
They’d wanted it to be known that all of the dumb rubes in the city speaking up have made their lives difficult.
It is unfortunate that the action taken by City Council to protect the community has been misconstrued in a time when we need clear, accurate information to protect public health.
Here’s a follow-up email from City Manager Dorothy Ann David after a meeting regarding the city’s power grab.
The “fun issue” is likely an autocorrect typo for “gun issue.”
It’s so inconvenient when citizens actually let their betters in city government know when their elected representatives take actions they don’t approve of. Particularly when it affects basic constitutional rights.
A version of this story was originally published at mom-at-arms.com and is reprinted here with permission.