NORWAY – Former town employee Kevin Davis said Friday that his gun was the reason selectmen recently voted to enact a workplace ban on firearms, but he believes the policy is misguided.

Davis, 36, of Woodstock, a former snowplow driver in Norway, said an incident involving the .45-caliber pistol he holds a permit to carry has been misconstrued.

“You read ‘incident’ in the paper and you think something wild was going on, and that simply wasn’t the case,” Davis said.

Davis said he usually carried the gun and normally left it in his locked car. He is one of about 30 people Norway police have issued a concealed weapons permit, police Chief Robert Federico said Friday.

“I’ve had one for years,” Davis said. When asked why, he said, “I have the right to.”

Davis first got a permit when he was being threatened years ago but continued to renew it because he feels it’s every American’s right to legally carry a firearm if they want to.

Davis said he carried the gun with him rather than leave it at his home where there are children. But because the Highway Department required his car to be unlocked when it was housed inside the garage, he conceded occasionally the gun was accessible to anyone.

Town officials confiscated the gun when Davis was out plowing snow one night after somebody complained they were worried Davis could be dangerous.

Davis, who had his gun returned within a few days, was placed on a two-week, paid administrative leave but never charged with any crime. Federico acknowledged Davis broke no laws.

While he was on leave, selectmen passed a new policy for town employees prohibiting them from bringing guns to work, unless they were police officers and trained to carry a weapon.

After a disagreement with the town over a scheduling conflict when he returned, Davis said he left the town’s employment, moved to Woodstock and got employment as a driver for Tri-Town Rescue service. Davis, who was a volunteer firefighter with Norway, also once worked as a reserve police officer in Auburn years ago, he said.

Now he is training to become an emergency medical technician.

On Thursday, selectmen again revised the weapons policy prohibiting any town employee from bringing a handgun, firearm or other weapon of any kind onto any town property, regardless of whether he or she is licensed to carry the weapon.

That action clarifies any misconceptions about the new policy, Town Manager David Holt said.

“I want to do the right thing for the town and not always worry about who’s safe and who’s not,” Holt said of the recommendation he made to enact a weapons policy for town employees.

While Holt said he couldn’t comment on Davis as an employee, he did explain the town’s action.

“We were acting on a complaint,” Holt said.

Federico said the Police Department played no role in the incident or the development of the workplace policy. “There was no criminal activity for the Police Department to take action. It was clearly a personnel issue,” he said.

Davis said because he was out on Norway roads plowing for the Highway Department when his car was searched, the situation could have been handled differently, by calling him back in for a discussion before confiscating his weapon.

Holt said he realizes he’s treading on new ground with the issue, but his job is to make sure the workplace is safe.

“If I had to do it all over again, I would,” Holt said.

In the days that followed the enactment of the policy, Holt said he has encountered “lots of anger and a good amount of sarcasm” from people throughout the region who read about the gun ordinance.

Despite his personal feelings on the issue of gun control, his role as town manager is to protect employees, Holt said.

On Friday, Davis would not say whether he still carries a loaded gun.

“I have the right to carry a loaded firearm because I’ve gone through the right channels to carry it,” he said.

The town of Norway now joins other local employers who prohibit employees from carrying guns at work. Several of Norway’s larger employers, including SAD 17, New Balance and Stephens Memorial Hospital said they have policies that prohibit bringing handguns and other weapons to work.

Davis said he doesn’t agree with the town’s new policy.

“The laws and Constitution allow for people who are legally qualified to carry (a weapon) to carry it. Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. Everyone knows that.”

Regional Editor Scott Thistle contributed to this report.

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