Recent School Shootings Across the Country Spark Gun Control Questions in the Town of Boone

Published Friday, March 23, 2018 at 2:27 pm

By Nathan Ham

With the unfortunate news of the school shootings at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and Great Mills High School in Maryland making the headlines, citizens in Boone have been asking the town government if the town is doing everything it can to keep people safe.

The answer: Yes, according to town manager John Ward and town attorney Allison Meade.

“With the recent school shootings, Councilman (Tom) Furgiuele asked the town attorney to clarify the authority of local governments and their authority involving gun control,” said Ward. “Their authority is limited, but they are exercising all the authority they do have.”

In a memo to the town council, Meade shared the state statute that prohibits the local regulation of guns and explained the ways that towns can regulate the sale/possession of firearms. Local town governments may regulate the possession of a firearm by its employees in the course of their employment and towns may enact an ordinance to prohibit firing guns at any time within the town limits except when used to defense of a person or property or pursuant to lawful directions of law enforcement officers. Boone already has that regulation in place.

Meade also informed the town council that the town of Boone already regulates the possession of guns in parks and recreational facilities and restricts the use of pellet guns in the town limits, two other ways that town councils can enact gun restrictions.

“The intent was to try and inform the public as well as other council members of the limited role that local governments play in gun control. We have such limited authority and the determination was made that we were already doing just about everything that could be done,” Ward said.

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