Selectman resigns over gun policy

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.

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