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Liberty lawmakers talk about guns. Pistols on town property?

By Fritz Mayer
August 24, 2011

At a meeting on August 15, the Liberty Town Board discussed whether it should adopt a new gun policy. Council member Chris Austin had been studying the gun law from the Town of Neversink, which prohibits the discharge of a firearm in a town park.

But, Austin said, “If I’m reading this right, it still allows people to have a firearm in a locked personal vehicle on town property, and it allows people to possess a validly registered firearm pursuant to the terms and conditions of the permit issued, which means if you have a pistol permit you can carry a handgun on town property.”

Town attorney Ken Klein said, “Yes, if it’s a valid permit.”

Austin said he was not in favor of that kind of law and council member Lynn Killian agreed.

Killian said, “If there’s a beaver that needs to be relocated then you can trap it and relocate it, you don’t need a gun to do that, we just shouldn’t have guns.”

Board chairman John Schmidt said, “I don’t think you trap them, I think you shoot them.”

Killian responded, “I don’t think it should be up to anyone in the town to carry a gun anywhere on any of our properties; it’s too risky.”

Schmidt asked if the town’s insurance company had offered any input on the subject. Earl Bertsch, the town’s director of finance, said he hadn’t inquired about it.

Killian asked, “Can’t we just say no guns?”

Schmidt responded, “That’s opening a can of worms, I think. The National Rifle Association (NRA) will be sitting on your back door.”

Killian said, “Well, it’s not that I’m against the NRA. We have the right to bear arms, but not on town property. Because just look at some of the situations on everyday news.” She said schools and courts have been the sites of recent shootings. “I just don’t think we should allow them.”

Austin said he would look into the matter a bit more. In the meantime, the board agreed to table a vote on whether to adopt a law similar to the one in Neversink.

Austin said, “Right now we have a temporary policy prohibiting firearms totally on town property.”