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Milton considering ordinance changes on concealed carry

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
July 20, 2011
— In the wake of the state approving concealed carry, the city of Milton is reviewing its own ordinance on the regulation of firearms.

The ordinance prohibits people from bringing guns into city-owned buildings and any business that serves alcohol. That’s in contrast with the concealed carry law, which appears to allow concealed weapons in public buildings and businesses including taverns—although individual employers and businesses can prohibit weapons on their premises.


Milton Police Chief Dan Layber said the city’s waiting for the concealed carry law to be published before it moves on any ordinance changes. The law goes in effect in November.


Layber said the city recognizes it must change its gun ordinance to comply with the new law. He’s consulting the city’s legal staff and statewide law enforcement groups for recommended responses to the law.


“I think there will be quite a few best practice guidelines out there that will be uniform for municipalities on how they handle this,” Layber said.


And while the city has yet to learn whether it can prohibit concealed weapons in all city-owned buildings, one city official believes it should.


City-owned buildings

Milton Mayor Chesmore sticks by statements he made in June that the city should prohibit anyone who isn’t a police officer from bringing a gun into city buildings, including City Hall and the public works department.


Chesmore said he’s had feedback opposing his standpoint, including an email from a Milwaukee woman urging Milton city officials not to post city buildings as weapons-free areas.


Chesmore, who supports concealed carry, said he gave the woman’s email consideration, but he’s unlikely to bend on his stance. He said he believes it’s potentially dangerous for people to bring guns into city buildings.


“You have to do everything within your power to keep the people in your city safe, and that goes for city employees, too,” Chesmore said.


Bars and taverns

Chesmore has said more than once that he’s leery about people bringing concealed weapons into bars and taverns, even though the new state law allows it—as long as those who do it aren’t consuming alcohol.


“I think it’s a bad idea. Alcohol and guns don’t mix. Anyone who’s a responsible gun owner knows that,” Chesmore said this week.


Despite his reservations, Chesmore said he’d discourage the city council from writing policy that would curb concealed carry in private businesses—including taverns. He believes businesses should be allowed to decide on their own whether they’ll let people bring in concealed weapons.


“I don’t think we need (local) legislation that says you can’t take a gun in the bar. I’m not going to dictate to the bar owner that they’ve got to throw out somebody with a concealed gun who’s sat there having a six pack of pop,” Chesmore said.


In some states, such as Wyoming, where it’s now legal to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, the law still prohibits people from taking concealed guns into taverns. Layber said law enforcement statistics show that in states where concealed carry is allowed in bars, there is no evidence of a spike in shooting incidents.



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