Town Council seats at stake in Saturday recall vote
EXETER, R.I. —
What began as an administrative adjustment by the Exeter Town Council soon attracted gun rights' supporters from across the state, and it resulted in a recall election Saturday that could cost four Town Council members their jobs.
Without a police department, the town clerk was being asked to issue concealed gun permits, and Town Council members suggested the law be changed to let the attorney general do that.
It made for a raucous town meeting in the spring, which has turned into an election season this Christmastime because gun advocates don't want any changes to the law.
"We were told after we did this that they would make an example of the four town councilmen in Exeter who dared to try and change to gun law in the state," Town Council Vice President Bill Monahan said.
The gun supporters gathered enough petition signatures to force a recall election, which will be held on Saturday. NBC 10 visited several houses and spoke with Lance Edwards, but could find no one to go on camera to explain the tactics or objectives of the gun folks.
The Town Council members who have been targeted say whoever was gathering signatures misled some of the people who signed.
"As this unfolds and we get closer to the vote on Saturday, more and more people are coming forward and telling us that they were lied to and they're very upset. So, I think we're getting a real increase in support," Town Council President Arlene Hicks said.
The elected officials said they believe the effort was generated predominantly by out-of-town interests.
"I would prefer that we let the local electorate deal with our local issues," said Town Council member Calvin Ellis. "But I understand that there are outside forces that would like to see us behave differently."
Regardless of the outcome, voters will go to the polls again in November for a Town Council election.