Guns at meeting questioned

Published 5:47 pm Tuesday, February 18, 2020

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The appearance of two brothers armed with firearms at the Charlotte County Administration Building asking for a militia unnerved some attendees at the Monday, Feb. 10, Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting.

When it comes to carrying weapons on governmental property, citizen Katy Liston addressed the BOS at the end of the meeting, saying, “Where is my constitutional right to come to a government meeting and feel safe?” she asked. “I did not feel safe … I don’t know them. I could not believe you (BOS) let these guys stay in here. You need to consider a policy.”

Citizen Angela Cook also addressed the BOS, saying she too did not feel safe.

“I don’t know those men,” Cook said. “They could have come in here without their weapons and made their point.”

Saxe resident George Toombs spoke in favor of the militia and the Rose brother’s rights to bear arms.

“Those men who came here tonight are here because of our governor. If we don’t stand up for our constitutional rights, we won’t have them.” Toombs said.

Charlotte County currently does not have a policy about weapons on governmental property or buildings.

The Charlotte Gazette reached out to County Administrator Daniel “Dan” Witt following the meeting to inquire if the BOS would be considering such a policy.

“The board would have to direct staff to draft a policy for consideration and then act on the matter,” Witt said.

The Charlotte Gazette also reached out to BOS Chairman Garland “Butch” Hamlett last week and again this week for comments on the issue of the militia request.

Hamlett has yet to respond to questions.

Wylliesburg/Red Oak Supervisor Kay Pierantoni did respond however saying she has heard additional comments from citizens who expressed concerns similar to those that spoke up at the public comment period expressing alarm that citizens armed in that way were allowed to attend.

“I went back and listened to the tape. They were soft spoken, polite young men,” Pierantoni said. “I wish they had presented their thoughts without being equipped with arms. I think then all would have been able to listen to their thoughts rather than focus on the guns. It’s a shame we live in a world of fear, but we do.”