BYRON — Town officials say they believe residents will pass a mandatory firearms possession article at the annual town meeting Monday night.
Head Selectman Anne Simmons-Edmunds said Thursday that all three selectmen favor it and expect residents to approve it.
The article asks, "Shall the town of Byron vote to require all households to have firearms and ammunitions to protect the citizens?"
"We're fed up," said Simmons-Edmunds, also a Dixfield police officer. "Unlike Sabattus, we're going to pass it."
Simmons-Edmunds said Byron selectmen — she, Patrick Knapp-Veilleux and David Noyes — approved placing the article on the town meeting warrant long before Sabattus resident David Marsters proposed the ordinance in that town. Selectmen there, however, sided with the police chief and on Tuesday, declined to put it before the people.
While Simmons-Edmunds said Byron's proposed mandate was initially done as a tongue-in-cheek article, they're quite serious about it now. She surmised that just about every household in this community, population 140, north of Rumford probably has at least one firearm.
The town had a resident who sought and received a federal permit to own a machine gun, just because he enjoyed shooting it, she said. But since he passed away, she didn't know whether that weapon was passed down to his son. Another resident legally has a .50-caliber machine gun.
"We're trying to prevent someone from coming into our town and trying to restrict our rights," Simmons-Edmunds said. "It's time to tell the government, 'Enough's enough. Quit micromanaging us.'"
If voters OK'd the article, it wouldn't mean the town would enforce it by checking every household to ensure residents legally have a firearm, she said.
The town meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 11, in the Coos Canyon Schoolhouse.