Dozens came out to the auditorium at Pomperaug High School in Southbury on Thursday night, speaking their minds about a proposed gun ban at town sites.

The idea came from the Democratic town committee. It feels the proposal would regulate where guns are carried and used in Southbury.

In the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut has passed some of the strictest gun laws.

The Democratic Town Committee in Southbury, however, said more could be done on the local level.

It called on the Board of Selectmen to look into the feasibility of having an ordinance that would ban people from carrying weapons at public events on town property or inside town-owned buildings.

The board voted to explore the idea further and added it to its agenda for a meeting in October. At the meeting, hundreds of people spoke up about the issue; but, due to the crowd's size, it had to be rescheduled to Thursday.

"Just as the gun owner has a right to feel comfortable carrying his or her gun in legal areas, I would like the same right to feel comfortable in places where I have no choice to carry out the business I have to do," said Lorraine Marcantonio, of Southbury.

In Southbury, guns are already banned in parks and the senior center.

Statewide, schools are gun-free zones.

Other towns like Woodbridge, North Branford, East Haven, Naugatuck, Meriden, and Ansonia have already adopted similar measures.

"I didn't want to be defenseless, said Salvator Pace, of Southbury. He's one of 1,700 permit holders in town. He said after getting caught up in the middle of what he calls "gang crossfire" in Bridgeport, he said he rarely leaves his home without his weapon.

Some residents told Channel 3 that it would send a strong message that the town cares about the safety of its residents. Others said it's a violation of their rights.

"I think we've all gone through a lot, living close to Sandy Hook, having children in school system, having lockdowns, watching our children grow up in fear, is one reason," Kathy Bower, of Southbury, said. "If there is something to do to control it, I think it's good to put it in place."

"It's only the illusion of safety, you look at Las Vegas, if anyone in the crowd had a gun, it wouldn't have made a difference whatsoever," Thad Nicolari, of Southbury, said.

The Connecticut Citizens Defense League, or CCDL, called on all members in Southbury and surrounding towns to attend the meeting. The organization said those members need to strongly voice their opposition to the proposal.

"It is astonishing that the Southbury DTC believes that banning firearms on town property will make anyone safer," said Scott Wilson, CCDL president. "The fact is that nearly all of the prolific murders occur in locations where firearms are banned. Connecticut pistol permit holders go through background checks that involve the local, state and federal levels. The police cannot be everywhere, so this would very simply be a means to prevent law-abiding people from protecting themselves and their families."

"It just got to be so big for people to come up and speak," Manville said. "We're going to allow people to speak no matter which side they're on and we're happy to hear from them."

After hearing all the testimony, town leaders will debate the issue at the next meeting.

Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Locations

Digital Content Producer