By Jennifer Eisenbart

Staff Writer

As far as Village of Waterford board member Roy Gawlitta is concerned, there is just one simple statement to make on the state’s new concealed carry law.

“I am dead-set against any restrictions,” Gawlitta said. “I don’t see how in a couple of discussions and a couple of votes we can undo (what the state did).”

Gawlitta was one of four board members to take that stance Monday night, as the board voted down a measure that would have prohibited concealed weapons in Village of Waterford public buildings.

The board voted on a measure to approve the ban, with a 4-3 vote against it. The no votes came from Gawlitta, Judy Spencer, Ron Kluth and Randy Harrington.

Board president Tom Roanhouse and trustees Thomas Christensen and Don Hewitt voted for the proposal, which included the Waterford Public Library by direct request of library staff.

The library turned out to be a point of interest, perhaps because of a report of a drunken citizen bringing a gun into the library Monday.

Roanhouse said the library had made the request, but also spoke up against the “skewed” nature of the law, saying that while the state passed the law, municipalities are still being allowed to do what they want.

Gawlitta, who came out in clear support of the Second Amendment, said that citizens have a right to defend themselves, and that many people, regardless of the new law, would choose not to carry a concealed weapon.

“It’s not going to turn into the Wild West,” Gawlitta said.

That said, there were concerns not only about prohibiting weapons – but who the prohibition would affect.

Spencer indicated earlier in the meeting that she would “vote her heart” but didn’t give an indication of what that might be, per se. However, after the ordinance was brought up for a vote, Spencer said she wanted some sort of scanning device in place so they would know if someone was carrying in a weapon illegally.

That didn’t appear feasible at the moment, and Town of Waterford Police Chief Tom Ditscheit said that without a scanner, the signs that the board was proposing placing to ban weapons would be moot.

“Without the ability to scan … you’re only going to stop the people who are willing to listen to the sign,” he said. “If somebody wants to come in and cause a problem with a gun, they’re going to do it.”

The state passed its new concealed carry law July 8, and it will go into effect Nov. 1. However, there are a number of public places – courtrooms, schools, etc. – that weapons will still be banned, and the permit process is still being sorted out.

In fact, Roanhouse said he had been in contact with state representative David Craig, and there are indications that the law could still be tweaked before it goes into effect.