Weddington discussing change to firearms ordinance
Should Weddington regulate guns? That’s the question the town council will face at its meeting Monday, Dec. 13, starting at 7 p.m.
The town approved the ordinance in 1993, and there have been many changes regarding weaponry and ammunition technology, Council Member Werner Thomisser said.
Walter Staton, one of Weddington’s founding members who has held various board positions, points to even larger changes since the law’s inception. “We have over 73 subdivisions now,” Staton says, “Back when the law was first written, this was not the case.”
Staton is a self-described victim of the current gun ordinance, which Town Planner Jordan Cook explains prohibits residents from using firearms within 150 yards from a dwelling.
A hunter all his life, Staton argues vociferously that the current ordinance cannot protect its residents. “It doesn’t matter if the yardage requirements get extended. It is simply not enforceable.”
“When you hear a shot when you’re lying in bed at night,” asks another resident, who didn’t want to be identified, “Are you gonna get up with a flashlight and go measure the yardage?”
Staton recalls a time when he measured a shot that landed 108 yards from his home, and he’s seen so many instances like that, that he has stopped bothering to get the measuring tape.
“The current law is obsolete,” he emphasizes and he wants the Weddington board to ban any discharge of firearms within the town limits.
Some proponents of the law argue the gun ordinance helps to keep the deer population in check and prevent deer-related car accidents. However, Staton notes the two Union County towns bordering Weddington share similar deer populations yet do not allow people to discharge firearms within town limits.
Monroe, Wingate and Marshville prohibit the discharge of guns within their limits.
Thomiser hopes to ease the worries of many hunting and firearms advocates. “There are a lot of rumors flying about that we will ban shotguns,” he says. “That is not my intent, nor do I believe it is the intent of anyone on the council.”
Even if the town council decides Monday to pursue changes to the ordinance, Cook, the town planner, said any change would likely take months to complete.