SABATTUS — Selectmen defeated a new gun proposal Tuesday evening after rejecting a similar proposal in March that would have required gun ownership by all residents.
David Marsters, the man who proposed a town gun ordinance modeled after one in Kennesaw, Ga., was back before the Board of Selectmen with a reworded proposal that merely encouraged residents to own firearms and ammunition.
Marsters, who claimed he did not initially intend to mirror the Kennesaw ordinance, which required gun ownership for heads of households, said he preferred a more pro-Second Amendment statement.
The new proposal stated, "The Town of Sabattus shall pass no ordinance or policy restricting the residents from the lawful right to bear arms; a right protected by the Second Amendment to our U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Maine." The proposal went on to state that the town would encourage all residents to own guns and ammunition.
Sabattus police Chief Anthony Ward remained opposed to any such proposal, viewing it as a symbolic gesture and redundant in view of protections already guaranteed by the Constitution.
Ward said such an ordinance would "muddy the waters" and make people question whether they were required to go out and buys guns.
Retired Lt. Col. Amedeo Lauria told selectmen he supported the basis of the proposal. "The Second Amendment is under attack." Lauria said the last provision of the proposal was a "sticking point," and people should be given a chance to unite in support of the Second Amendment.
Citing his 30 years of defending the Constitution in the U.S. Army, Lauria viewed the proposal as a way of sending the message: "Our rights will not be infringed upon." He spoke of what he saw as the gradual erosion of rights in this country and said, "I take great offense at the chipping, chipping away of rights."
A request for a motion to approve the language of the proposal yielded no response, effectively ending the debate.
Undaunted, Lauria listened to his and Marsters' options: rewording the proposal once more or gathering 202 signatures to get the ordinance on either the June or November ballot.