Valdosta Daily Times

Top News

March 9, 2013

Some communities seek to require gun ownership

AUGUSTA, Maine — A town of 140 people in western Maine is considering an ordinance making gun ownership mandatory, the latest of a handful of communities nationwide to pass or consider such a rule even though the measures are widely considered unenforceable.

All three members of the Board of Selectmen in Byron favor it, and Head Selectman Anne Simmons-Edmunds said she expects residents to approve it at Monday’s town meeting, a New England institution where townspeople vote up or down on municipal proposals.

“We’re hoping that the town will get on board with us but will accept whatever the town wants,” Simmons-Edmunds said Friday.

Communities from Idaho to Georgia have been inspired to “require” or recommend their residents arm themselves ever since a gunman killed 26 youngsters and educators Dec. 14 in a school in Newtown, Conn., and raised fears among gun owners about an impending restriction on Second Amendment rights.

The article up for a vote in Maine asks, “Shall the town of Byron vote to require all households to have firearms and ammunition to protect the citizens?”

Backed by gun rights supporters, the ordinance is intended to pre-emptively block gun-control laws, Maine Attorney General Janet Mills said, adding that it will be “null and void” even if it passes. It is pre-empted by a 2011 state law that bars municipalities from adopting firearm regulations.

“I think the town is going to have to shoot it down,” Mills said Friday.

That’s what happened this week in Sabattus, in southwestern Maine, where the selectmen took the police chief’s advice and voted not to send a similar proposal to voters. David Marsters, a retiree in Sabbatus, had proposed the ordinance, saying it would act as a hedge against crime.

The idea has also caught on in Nelson, a city of just over 1,300 about 50 miles north of downtown Atlanta, where supporters of the gun-ownership proposal say light police patrols leave city residents virtually unprotected for most of the day.

The proposal contains several exemptions for people who object to owning firearms because of personal beliefs, religious reasons or mental disability. In a statement, Mayor Pro Tem Jonathan Bishop said convicted felons would also be exempted.

“I am in no way attempting to face off with the federal government, only doing what an elected official is supposed to do,” Councilman Duane Cronic, who proposed the ordinance, said in an email Friday. The rule passed unanimously on its first reading and awaits a final vote April 1.

In Kennesaw, Ga., city officials worried at the time of its law’s passage in 1982 that population growth in nearby Atlanta might bring crime to the community, which now has about 30,000 people.

“They wanted to send an anti-crime message, also,” Craydon said. And it has worked, he argued, with crime staying low.

Craydon acknowledged Kennesaw’s ordinance is “unenforceable” and said no attempt has ever been made to do so.

Some communities don’t go so far as to call for required gun ownership.

Spring City, Utah, moved forward with an ordinance this year “recommending” the idea of keeping firearms. Other ordinances have been passed in Virgin, Utah, and Cherry Tree, Pa., largely as symbolic gestures.

A southwestern Idaho town of 900 people, Greenleaf, adopted an ordinance in 2006 that encourages residents who don’t object on religious or other reasons to keep a gun in the house and to seek training on using firearms. City officials said they don’t know how many residents own guns.

In Maine, Byron’s Simmons-Edmunds said that probably 90 percent of the households in town already have a gun and that passage would not mean the town would enforce it by checking every household.

“We not going to invade anybody’s privacy,” Byron’s Simmons-Edmunds said. “We just want to send a statement that we’re not going to give up our guns.”

1
Text Only
Top News
  • ‘Piles and piles’ of bodies in South Sudan slaughter

    Gunmen who targeted both children and the elderly left “piles and piles” of bodies — many of those in a mosque — in a provincial capital in South Sudan, the U.N.’s top humanitarian official in the country said Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Obama_Stew.jpg Obama views mudslide scene

    Swooping over a terrain of great sadness and death, President Barack Obama took an aerial tour Tuesday of the place where more than three dozen people perished in a mudslide last month, then mourned privately with those who lost loved ones in the destruction.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wall Street_Stew.jpg Earnings and corporate deals lift U.S. stocks

    Corporate deals and some solid earnings reports propelled the stock market to its sixth straight gain Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Economy College Gradu_Stew.jpg Job market for college grads better but still weak

    With college commencement ceremonies nearing, the government is offering a modest dose of good news for graduating seniors: The job market is brightening for new grads — a bit.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supreme Court TV On t_Stew.jpg Internet TV case: Justices skeptical, concerned

    Grappling with fast-changing technology, Supreme Court justices debated Tuesday whether they can protect the copyrights of TV broadcasters to the shows they send out without strangling innovations in the use of the internet.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Today in History

    In 1791, the 15th president of the United States, James Buchanan, was born in Franklin County, Pa.

    April 23, 2014

  • Stowaway teen forces review of airport security

    A 15-year-old boy found his way onto an airport’s tarmac and climbed into a jetliner’s wheel well, then flew for five freezing hours to Hawaii — a misadventure that forced authorities to take a hard look at the security system that protects the nation’s airline fleet.

    April 22, 2014

  • South Korea Ship Sink_Rich copy.jpg Death count in ferry sinking tops 100

    One by one, coast guard officers carried the newly arrived bodies covered in white sheets from a boat to a tent on the dock of this island, the first step in identifying a sharply rising number of corpses from a South Korean ferry that sank nearly a week ago.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP520422034 copy.jpg Today in History for Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    Today is Tuesday, April 22, the 112th day of 2014. There are 253 days left in the year.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Commission to vote to purchase new computers

    Lowndes County commissioners discussed replacing outdated computers, a bid for an emergency bypass pump, an annexation request from the City of Hahira, a juvenile justice grant application, and an appointment to the dangerous dog board.

    April 22, 2014

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results