MARINETTE — On Friday for the second time in less than two months, a resolution introduced by Marinette County Supervisor John Guarisco  opposing the enactment of legislation that would infringe upon the right of the people to keep and bear arms failed to advance to the full County Board of Supervisors.

The county board’s Public Services Committee voted 5-1 on January 7 not to forward the resolution to the full county board. On Friday, the Executive Committee after hearing an appeal by Guarisco of that decision, voted 7-0 against forwarding the resolution to the full county board.

Voting against forwarding the resolution were Supervisors Mark Anderson, Paul Gustafson, Robert Holley, Ken Keller, Al Mans, Ted Sauve and Don Pazynski.

“I think this is an issue  that needs to go in front of the county board,” Guarisco said. “I don’t know about you folks but I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from both sides. Because of that I think it is warranted that it go to the county board and be addressed. I don’t know why there would be hesitation to do that.

“By killing it in committee, it doesn’t do justice for our taxpayers. People will show up and judge us by how we vote. I think our constituents want us to address this and that’s the reason I am here.”

The resolution starts out by saying the right of the people to keep and bear arms is guaranteed as an individual right under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 25 of the Wisconsin Constitution, that: “The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose.”

It goes on to say: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms for defense of life, liberty and property is regarded as a inalienable right by the people of Marinette County, and that the people of Marinette County derive economic benefit from all safe forms of firearms, recreation, hunting and shooting conducted within Marinette County, using all types of firearms allowable under the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin.”’

Supervisor Ken Keller said: “I don’t believe it should go the full county board. This is nothing more than a political ploy, a way of dividing the country.”

“The NRA is a political organization. Unfortunately power feeds on fear,” he said. “There should be regulations out there. We can’t exist without them.”

Pazynski said there are pros and cons on the issue, that hunting has a major impact on Wisconsin’s economy and that no responsible gun owner would be against background checks.

“We’ve got to work together for responsible gun laws,” he said. “Let’s be responsible.”

“This is a resolution opposing legislation that doesn’t exist right now,” said Corporation Counsel Gale Mattison. She called for removal of a line in the resolution that says “the Marinette County Board of Supervisors affirms its support of the sheriff to exercise sound discretion in the enforcement against any citizen of an unconstitutional firearms law.”

“This county board does not decide what is constitutional and what isn’t constitutional,” she said. “Law is law. You should not ever be encouraging our law enforcement to do something based on what we believe. The law is law until the Legislature changes it.”

Guarisco said the resolution stemmed from one approved by the county board in neighboring Florence County.

“This should go to the county board because there are several county board members that would like to express their thoughts on this,” Sauve said.

Holley said he is an NRA member and staunch supporter of the Second Amendment and questioned the need for the resolution.

“I think this board is starting to get too political with some of the resolutions,” he said.

He said the resolution could advance to the full county board if a petition was signed by 16 of the 30 board members.

Mattison stressed there are several current gun control laws.

“If someone is judged mentally ill by the county, they are precluded by state and federal law from possessing a firearm,” she said. “Do you really want this to go away. I don’t want to argue, I am just pointing out that there are laws out there right now.”

Anderson questioned whether the county board should be sending “political messages.”

“If we get it to the county board, no matter which way you vote, you lose,” Mans said. “I know  what I’m going to do (if it gets to the full county board), I’ll abstain.”