Lewes to Modify 'Open Carry' Ordinance if Governor Approves Stat - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Lewes to Modify 'Open Carry' Ordinance if Governor Approves State Legislation

(Photo: MGN) (Photo: MGN)

LEWES, Del. -- Lewes City Council voted to adopt an ordinance that would ban people from openly carrying weapons inside city and government buildings.

That is, if legislation already passed by the Senate and House giving municipalities such authority gets the governor's signature.

That legislation would give counties and municipalities authority over open carry policies in their government buildings.

Lewes' open carry ordinance would go into effect if that bill passes, though it's unclear at this time how soon after that could happen.

Lewes would be the first city in the state to ban the public from openly carrying firearms in municipal buildings, if the bill passed.

Lewes council member Bonnie Osler says firearms, firearm parts, ammunition and explosives would be banned from places like city hall and the library.

Osler says the ordinance would not extend to concealed weapon permit holders.

"You could always have concealed carry. That is a specific exemption in our ordinance and in the state ordinance," said Osler.

The council woman says the ordinance is meant to protect the city's buildings and employees.

Osler says while no previous incident of gun violence or related issue has been reported in the city, the council is erring on the side of caution with the ordinance. 

Osler says the open carry issue first came up after a group of gun owners began attending Newark city council meetings with their guns in tow. The group says its point was to prove that the city couldn't legally stop them.

Manager of the Lewes-based Skin Graffiti tattoo shop Eric Wyatt says the city is treading on his second amendment rights.

"Delaware's an open-carry state." said Wyatt who also owns a shotgun.

"Nothing's happened to have to need the change, in my opinion. I think if more people opened carry, a lot of the crime around here wouldn't happen," he said.

Lewes homeowner Joan Offner says gun owners may have rights but unarmed citizens do as well.

"The Bill of Rights gives us to protect our life liberty and property, that's true," said Offner, "but it's also my life that I want to protect from some crazy person on the other end of a gun."

Wyatt says in those emergency situations people who openly carry weapons have the capacity to help.

"There's always that off-chance there could be someone there that had an open carry per gun and kind of saved the day. It can go either way," said Wyatt.

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