Schools are faltering, for lack of funding.
Prisons are bulging, for lack of alternatives.
The economy is struggling, for lack of growth.
Local governments are slashing, for lack of support.
But what’s the big concern down at the Legislature? Making sure that folks can take their guns to town council meetings.
Rep. Brenda Barton and others have ushered through the House a bill that would provide extra protection for the rights of people with concealed carry permits to take their guns anywhere they want — including meetings of the town council or the board of supervisors.
We can’t imagine why the state Legislature should take up this issue at all. Town councils and boards of supervisors seem perfectly capable of determining whether they feel safe letting the folks packed into the council meeting pack heat. Seems like we’ve heard the Legislature whine and complain about federal regulations — insisting that the level of government that’s closest to the people will govern most in accord with the popular will. Seems like a sensible principle to us.
Payson’s recent brushes with gun-toting citizens have underscored the point. That includes one persistent council critic with a concealed carry permit who inquired about security measures then bought a gun. Turns out, he used an out-of-date address when he bought the gun — which got him arrested. But barring his paperwork glitch, he could sit in the front row with his gun on his lap and the police couldn’t do a thing about it.
Now, Rep. Barton rightly points out that the town couldn’t keep him from bringing his gun to a council meeting under current law, unless it provided gun storage lockers near the door. Under the new law, it will still have to provide gun lockers for all the irate citizens without a concealed carry permit — but will have to provide metal detectors to stop the folks with a permit.
Which begs the question: Why does anyone have to bring a gun to a council meeting under any circumstances? And why can’t a town council set its own rules — enforced by its own police department?
We suggest the state Legislature quit pandering to a narrow constituency and devote itself to our faltering schools, our bulging prisons, our sluggish growth — and quit messing with the poor towns and counties.