Residents of Byron, Maine, in Oxford County, voted unanimously on Monday night to reject a proposal that would have required every household in town to have firearms and ammunition.
The vote came during the town’s annual meeting at the Coos Canyon Schoolhouse. Randy Richards, 68, spoke against the measure. Richards is a hunter and has “loads of guns,” but he rejects the notion that the government should be able to tell people how to act and behave. "Nobody likes to be told what to do," he said.
The town’s vote has received national as well as worldwide attention and media coverage, reports The Press Herald. In a report about the town’s decision, the BBC noted that Byron's vote coincided with a White House campaign to strengthen gun laws. The U.S. government has been working on new gun legislation in response to the mass shootings in December at a school in Newtown, Connecticut.
Richards said that the town’s proposal has made it a laughingstock. "It was the stupidest thing that's ever been done," he said.
Head Selectwoman Anne Simmons-Edmunds pushed the proposal because she wanted to make a statement that supported the Second Amendment. Even she voted against the measure. She said that she thinks the vote will come back again but only after the measure is changed to exclude people who don’t want to have guns in their homes because of religious or moral reasons. The measure will also have to be amended to exempt those who have been convicted of felonies and those who are mentally incapacitated.
She doesn’t agree with the criticism of the town. "I am proud of Byron," she said. "Byron will move on."
Her father, Bruce Simmons, came up with the idea. He also voted against the proposal.
The town voted on the question: "Shall the town vote to require all households to have firearms and ammunition to protect the citizens?"
Source: The Press Herald