AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — 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 Doug 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.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/7-10/14)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Nite | to the tune of @cnn 😞
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2. Got so much work to do but I just wanna stay in bed and binge watch #Gameofthrones and start the new season of #OnceUponATime. I know I can't be the only one. Right? Ha 💤🦁🍂 #saturday
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3. Mommy's weekend turn up ❤️👶🏾💕🍼 Wouldn't trade it for nothing. #TeamNoSleep lol #HesMyBiggestBlessing ✨
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4. One of them oh shit mont we made it feelings … this shit still be unreal 💯💪🏾 @remyboymonty1738
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6. People magazine Home edition has raided my house! Get a sneak peek into the bedroom life of the Leakes and see other parts of my home now at PEOPLE.COM
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7. They want to kick you when you down, but kick it when you up
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8. Got my advance copy of #Mafia3 at @gamestop. Get yours via link in the bio #Mafia3 #Ad
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9. This is some of the cast and our diverse team of writers in the writer's room creating funny sh*t for @nbcmarlon what a fun room! Lots of jokes, great stories and having a great time doing what we love... making people laugh and feel something. Look out for our show next year @nbcmarlon we bringing sitcoms back to NBC
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10. #HappySunday☀️Thank you @4everbrandy101 💛💡💛
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11. Happy to be back in Central Falls, RI breaking ground for the One Stop Health Center and hosting a local community event with #Vaseline.
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12. Thank you all in advance 💋💋💋 #Repost @urbansvintage・・・#TarajiPHenson's memoir #AroundTheWayGirl will be available everywhere TODAY October 11th! Will you be purchasing a copy? #UrbansVintage
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13. Moms got my back
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15. 🌹#ThisIsWhatTheTruthFeelsLikeTOUR #forevereve
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16. Yes, all those videos I've been posting have led to this: the introduction of skincare to @TYRABeauty! This is the rundown on the new line:Years of research and beauty tips I live by led me to produce the most effective and delightful skincare out there. I'm all about taking really good care of my skin, so I can look like I'm aging in #TyraYears and go filter free on Instagram when I feel like it! Now, it's your turn. ✨My Mama always told me not to wash my face with just my hands. "Tyra, girl, you're just moving the dirt around!" And I've listened. First up is The Clean Machine.... ...a 3-in-1 foaming face wash that cleanses, removes makeup and purified your skin. It has patented technology - a attached Turbo Cleansing Tool - to give you that deep clean that makes your skin feel super fresh. Wanna know more? Yeah, baby. Click that link in my bio.
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17. On set of #beingmaryjane like... ❤️😬💃🏾
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18. #carouselofhope@yvetteshelton100@makeupbylatrice @thestacetheface@marialuciahohan24
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19. I refuse to let a little cold stop me from my daily routines to greatness. #onlythestrongsurvive #warriors
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20. Big things begin with big THINKING... #BusinessEthics #SetLife 🎥
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21. Goodnight - here's a song
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22. Words can't explain the feeling that I have right now.....God is good. look momma I made it. #Harts #Blessed #WhatNow #comedicrockstarshit #4DaysAway
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23. I tried to get a better video with out the nasty bib but she started getting mad at me..lol! Big cuz @the_queen_caitlin trying to show her what to do. #MamasToots #HeirBear👑💜
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24. Gorgeous Serena joined Beyoncé in Formation last night on stage in New Jersey!!!
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25. 😜 @lifeofdesiigner & @rockohill
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