SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn. (WTNH) – At a town council meeting in South Windsor Monday night, the public was invited to comment on an ordinance that would ban open carry in any municipal building.
The ordinance says no person shall possess an electronic defense weapon, pistol, or revolver inside any municipal building without a valid permit and shall keep such weapon concealed from view to promote peace, good government, and welfare of the town.
Under the ordinance, if a person carrying a gun fails to conceal it, a peace officer will ask the offending person to leave. If the person fails to leave the municipal building, they could be arrested for trespassing.
South Windsor Mayor Liz Pendleton said the ordinance was drafted after some neighbors and town employees raised concerns about public safety, following mass shootings around the country.
“It is an item of discussion that we look to our state level and our state leaders to take care of and handle for us but they’re not, they don’t govern municipalities, because we govern our own,” Pendleton said.
Pendleton said this ordinance is not meant to be political but was drafted in the interest of public safety.
“This was not brought up because someone is hated or because we want to control anyone,” she said during the town hall meeting.
During public input, some neighbors said they were against the ban. Rick Balboni, who was carrying a gun, said concealing a weapon doesn’t make people feel safer.
“I come here openly and with all transparency letting, you know that I’m bearing arms as it is my constitutional right. Every citizen has a right to bear arms,” he said.
But others thought the ordinance didn’t go far enough.
“I would like to see all weapons barred from the town hall, whether in someone’s pocket or purse or carried openly,” said Elizabeth McGuire of South Windsor. “This is our town and our community and we have a right to enact ordinances that we believe protect public safety.”
The council agreed this ordinance should be discussed further and a decision would not be made on Monday.
“We never make legislation on a knee-jerk reaction, you take some time and think about it,” said Phil Koboski, a town council member.
The council decided they would have an open forum with town residents and employees.