Exeter resident: Recall effort goes beyond gun issue
EXETER, R.I. —
Put guns into any political conversation and you have a ready-made force of enthusiasts who will travel to make their point.
In Exeter, a proposal to take the issuance of concealed gun permits from the town clerk and give it to the state attorney general's office brought out gun rights believers, probably half the crowd at a meeting in the spring were from out of town.
Months later, it's evolved into a recall effort. But state Rep. Larry Valencia, the lawmaker who submitted the bill changing the permit procedure, said it's not a local movement.
"There's just a lot of outside influences. There are people from the (National Rifle Association) and other special interest groups from around the state who are inserting themselves into a town and the way the town wants to do things," Valencia said.
But one of the leaders of the effort to depose three Town Council members said the gun issue is a smokescreen that the politicians are hiding behind.
"They are trying very, very hard to pollute the issue here and make this a gun issue. It's long since not been a gun issue. It's a constitutional issue. It's an honesty issue. It's an integrity issue," said Lance Edwards.
Petitions containing about 600 signatures say Edwards has a shot, but Valencia said when the smoke clears, the last election will stand.
"I'm confident that when the story gets out to the people of Exeter and they know why this is happening -- what the reasons and motivations are -- I'm confident that they're going to return these people to office," Valencia said.