Wilton selectman steps down
Donovan resigns over weapons issue
WILTON – Selectman Dan Donovan resigned abruptly at the board meeting on Monday, Oct. 10, after a discussion concerning the carrying of concealed weapons by town personnel on town property.
Former Selectman Steve McDonough has agreed to fill the position until town elections in March.
"I am vehemently against them carrying concealed weapons," Donovan said in a phone interview on Monday, Oct. 17.
Donovan said Selectman Bill Condra was in favor of the idea, with Kermit Williams in the middle, but in the end agreeing with Condra.
At that point, Donovan said, "I resigned."
He submitted his official letter of resignation Tuesday morning.
The discussions arose during amendments to the personnel file, he said, and some changes that had been made during the period when he was off the board. The board had held conversations with the Police Department and the town’s insurance carrier, both of which were opposed.
Donovan said state RSA 159 prohibits towns from developing a strategy for gun control. He said Williams had proposed "a sort of compromise," but that it allowed employees to carry weapons.
"I agonized over it that night and the next morning," Donovan said. "This idea is insane and dangerous. Banks don’t allow their people to carry guns. There is no provision for training, or that a supervisor be advised that a weapon is being carried. That is critical for safety.
"Why do employees need to carry a gun while dealing with the public? The last thing we need is for people to get caught in the crossfire."
Williams said he was "saddened" by Donovan’s resignation.
"I appreciated his input and guidance," Williams said. "He had a wealth of experience, and I’m disappointed that he left."
He added, "People are entitled to make their own decisions. If the state law would let us do that, I’d be 100 percent for it."
State law doesn’t allow a municipality to enact stricter laws than the state, and the state statute allows anyone with a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
"I agree with Dan’s philosophy, but the town has to follow state law," Williams said. "I was torn when we voted on this. He was a good selectman, and I’ll miss him."
"I’m really sorry, sad to see him go," Condra said. "I have served with him for nine years. I haven’t read his letter of resignation, so I don’t want to comment further."
Donovan said he hoped some good would come out if it, and didn’t know if the question would be revisited by the new board. He was in his third term as selectman
"I’ve enjoyed the 10 years I’ve served as selectman and in other capacities," Donovan said.