Rhode Island Councilmembers Face Recall Over Gun Permit Vote


Four town councilmembers in Exeter, R.I., not only failed to get the state to take over concealed-carry permitting for their town, but now they face a recall election Saturday because of it, reports the Christian Science Monitor. It is a small-town version of the drama that played out in Colorado this year, when two state senators behind a new gun-control law were recalled by angry voters in September. A third facing recall resigned last month. The recalls speak to the motivation and fervor of gun-rights advocates nationwide, who feel as though they are under attack from President Obama.

The backlash against gun control in red states and even rural areas of blue states, like Exeter, speaks to why Obama is unlikely to revive significant gun control legislation. The Exeter recall centers on the question of who controls permitting for concealed-carry weapons. That job fell to the state attorney general because Exeter doesn’t have a police department. State law stipulates that local authorities “shall” give permits to qualified applicants. The state attorney general, however, has more room for discretion. The law says he “may” issue permits. The threatened councilmembers favored the state discretion.

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