Selectman resigns over gun policy

  • The town of Wilton will be partnering with the University of New Hampshire's Cooperative Extension to create an action plan for the town's economic development. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 10/17/2016 7:13:04 PM

A Wilton selectman has resigned after disagreeing with a town policy on whether employees should be allowed to carry guns, saying he found the changes “totally inappropriate.”

Former Select Board member Dan Donovan resigned Tuesday morning, the day after a 2-1 vote to revise an town policy that originally barred guns on town property. The new policy allows people – including on-duty employees – to carry concealed weapons on town property if they have the proper permits. Donovan voted against revising the policy.

“It’s a hot-button issue and it’s so grossly inappropriate,” said Donovan, on why he felt the need to resign after the vote.

Donovan said that he still holds his fellow selectmen in esteem, but couldn’t consciously endorse the change, which was made after a gray area in the law had several towns questioning their policies regarding employees and weapons. RSA 159:26 prohibits local governments from enacting municipal ordinances or regulations relative to the possession, sale, transportation, etc., of firearms. The law is unclear, however, when it comes to things like employee policies.

After hearing concerns from an insurance provider about the potential for liability and from Police Chief Brent Hautanen on the potential lack of training of employees carrying firearms, Donovan said he couldn’t support changing the policy, but was outvoted by his other two board members.

Last night, the Select Board was scheduled to meet with Steve McDonough, a former member of the board, to offer him the vacant seat. If appointed, McDonough would serve the remainder of the year until March elections, at which point the voters would elect someone to fill the remaining two years of Donovan’s term.

Donovan said he was invited to return to the board by Select Board Chair Kermit Williams, but said he would not do so to avoid even the appearance that quitting was a tactic to try to revisit or overturn the board’s ruling on the policy. 


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