Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg wants a ban on assault rifles and will not back down on support for undocumented immigrants despite warning from the Trump administration that sanctuary cities could lose federal funding.
In a March 16 interview with student journalists, Steinberg touched on a variety of issues ranging from education to homelessness, but his most passionate remarks concerned gun control and immigration.
In the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that left 17 students dead and student walkouts at high schools across on the country, Steinberg said he supports a national ban on AR-15 assault rifles, using California gun laws as a model.
Steinberg said he understands owning guns for hunting or protection, “but not these rapid fire weapons that do nothing but harm and kill.”
“I don’t see what hunting purpose [the AR-15] serves,” he said. “I don’t see what self defense purpose it serves. And so in a sane society we ought to draw a line.”
On undocumented immigration, the mayor said he would not change policies to avoid losing millions of dollars federal law enforcement grants or other federal funding.
“There are somethings you don’t compromise on,” he said. “You don’t trade people for money.”
Responding to questions about homelessness, the mayor said the it was a “top priority,” and the city has launched several programs to fix it. These programs include increased shelter space, a homeless triage center to assess needs and efforts to create more affordable housing.
But he also encouraged teens to also get involved.
“Volunteer at a homeless service agency,” he said, “because there’s nothing like personalizing these issues because the people on the street are not strangers they are us.”
In addition to serving the community through volunteering, the mayor applauded young people for getting involved in politics and making their voices heard through demonstrations, such as the March 14 school walkout.
Students are making a difference through protests and speaking out, he said.
But he also said that protesters should be respectful and willing to hear the other side.
Protests should be “non-violent, thoughtful,” he said. “Expressing yourself but listening at the same time.”