More than 60 residents of the small town packed themselves into the even tinier Coos Canyon Schoolhouse. They voted quickly to make the symbolic measure the town’s first order of business during the annual meeting.
The measure’s backers stated the point of the legislation was to send a message to state and federal regulators who are trying to pass laws on gun regulation. The measure would never have become law even if it received enough votes.
Maine law keeps municipalities from passing legislation on firearms. Residents had a brief discussion about the mandatory gun ownership bill before they elected to skip debate and vote on it. All 60 residents, including the man who came up with the proposal, voted against it. But despite the bill’s failure, Bruce Simmons, who introduced it, stated, “I feel we accomplished what we set out to do, and I hope we will wake this town up. We made a statement to the federal government that they can’t take our guns away.”
In the end, however, Bruce explained that he voted against the bill because the wording was wrong. Instead of requiring gun ownership in Byron, Maine, he wanted to proposal to “recommend” it. Some of the town’s 140 residents were upset by the measure, saying it made the town a laughingstock for the nation.
One resident, Randy Richards, said he was a gun owner. But he rejected the proposal because he believed it to be an overreach of the government. Byron, Maine is not the only town to propose mandatory gun ownership for its residents. The city of Nelson, Georgia will soon vote on a gun ownership ordinance that would call on every head of household to have a gun.
The proposal in Nelson is a way to keep crime down in the slightly larger city, which has a population of 1,300. The town employs just one police officer. The Nelson City Council will vote on the gun ownership ordinance on April 1.
Do you think towns like Byron, Maine and Nelson, Georgia should enact measures requiring gun ownership?
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