Controversy over proposed symbolic gun ban in Constantine


CONSTANTINE, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Controversy continues in the village of Constantine.

Weeks after people packed a village meeting, speaking out over the possibility of an assault rifle ban, another meeting wrapped up Monday night.

The meeting room was packed with people once again Monday, all standing up against any type of ban.

Tempers were high at tonight's Constantine Village Council meeting.

The hot topic: whether or not to ban assault rifles in the community.

"Everybody has the right to bear arms, that's all we're trying to do. And she's trying to take them away from us," said resident Phil Lockwood.

Constantine Village Council President Patricia Weiss says she gave fellow council members a New York Times editorial a couple weeks ago, calling for congress to ban assault weapons in light of recent shooting tragedies.

"I was thinking perhaps if there was enough interest in grassroots, maybe something could be started with smaller towns," she said.

But the huge turnout at tonight's meeting caught Weiss by surprise.

"I've been attacked all evening," she said.

Nearly 20 people stood up to speak to the Constantine Village Council, unanimously opposed to even talk of a ban on assault rifles.

"You pick up the phone, dial 911. How long is that going to take. If a guys got a gun or even if he's coming at you with a big stick," said one resident.

"New York times is a rag," offered another.

"If this city does go against our constitutional right, I'd be more than happy to file a lawsuit against you," said another.

Weiss says she's not calling for a ban on guns, but wanted to hear from her community. The meeting also attracted people from out of town, filling the small meeting room.

"I'm a firm believer in the second amendment. Which protects all the other amendments and it's a threat to it. They're trying to pass a law that isn't very logical on their behalf," said Josh Raymond, out of Gobles.

Weiss says she doesn't know what her next move will be, but she will continue discussions with fellow council members.

Michigan law prohibits local government to go around state and federal, so if there were to be a ban in Constantine, it would be purely symbolic.