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Gun rights activists demand Walkersville repeal loaded gun ban

Thursday - 4/11/2013, 6:00am  ET

WALKERSVILLE -- A gun rights group is taking aim at the town to try to force a change in its firearm restrictions.

The Second Amendment Foundation, based in Bellevue, Wash., formally demanded that Walkersville repeal a ban on shooting and carrying loaded guns within town limits.

"It has come to my attention that the town of Walkersville purports to regulate firearms, which violates of state law," Alan M. Gottlieb, foundation president, said in a March 26 letter.

The town charter bans shooting "a rifle, air rifle or air gun of any kind ... a bow and arrow, slingshot, shotgun, gun or any firearm" within town limits.

It also forbids carrying loaded guns in town.

Those provisions have exceptions, however.

Law enforcement, gun and archery clubs, and people teaching gun safety courses are allowed to carry guns. People with a Maryland handgun permit are also exempted from the ban.

People can carry guns at gun ranges and on agriculturally zoned land in Walkersville.

The letter warned that failure to change the town code could result in a lawsuit.

The commissioners voted unanimously to not change the town code at a town meeting Wednesday night.

"Let them sue us," Burgess Ralph Whitmore said.

Town Administrator Gloria Long Rollins said she believed the exemptions to the ban in the latter section of the charter made it compliant with federal law.

"Apparently they didn't read on," she said.

Commissioner Russell Winch disagreed with how the foundation approached the town.

"This kind of thing angers me," Winch said, "If somebody is going to come here and start telling us that we need to make some changes or they're going to sue us, they should show up here."

The Second Amendment Foundation could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

This is the first time anyone had challenged that section of the town charter, Whitmore said.

Walkersville resident Dan Thomas, who said he does not use guns, approved of the town's decision to ignore the letter.

"I think the town is handling it fine," he said.