A capacity crowd of 250 people turned out for the Exeter town council meeting Monday night, mostly to criticize the council's plan for gun permits.
Despite the heavy opposition in the crowd, the council approved the measure by a vote of 4 to 1. The council will now ask state lawmakers to change the law regarding who issues concealed firearms permits in the town of Exeter.
The law calls for cities and towns to handle the applications. But a majority of the town council wants the state to take over those duties.
Council leaders point out that the town does not have a police force, so the responsibility for the concealed carry permits falls on the town clerk and the town sergeant, a mostly ceremonial position.
Town Council President Arlene Hicks told NBC 10, "We felt that giving out something as important as a permit to carry a concealed weapon really shouldn't be in the hands of a town clerk and town sergeant."
Gun owners and advocates argued that the move infringes on their rights. They claim, under current law, the state has much greater ability to deny permit applicants than the town does.
"I think it's unconstitutional," Exeter resident Letitia Davis told NBC10. She says she wants to carry a gun to protect herself.
"Now that doesn't mean I want to go shooting things up or doing anything like that. No. That would be irresponsible.
But I do feel it's important that I be able to protect myself. And I object to someone saying to me, no, you don't have the right to protect yourself," Davis said.
23 Kenney Drive
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