The recall election in Exeter, scheduled for December 14th, is being pushed through mostly by out-of-town gun rights zealots intent on punishing the Exeter Town Council for trying to enact a minor change in the law regarding the concealed weapon permit system. Rhode Island State Representative Doreen Costa has been involved in this issue from the beginning. Even though she is not a resident of Exeter, she does represent a small section of the town (the corner over by the Yawgoo Ski Area) in the Rhode Island General Assembly
What the Exeter Town Council attempted to do was change the law in Rhode Island so that the Exeter Town Clerk would no longer be responsible for issuing concealed weapon permits. In most cities and towns residents can go either to their police chiefs or to the state Attorney General, but Exeter has no police force. So by state law, the duty of issuing permits falls to the Town Clerk, a person with no law enforcement training.
On November 11, 2011, Costa agreed with the majority of the Exeter Town Council on the matter. According to the minutes of the regular meeting of the Exeter Town Council from November 11, 2011 Costa originally maintained that “she does not think the responsibility [for issuing concealed weapon permits] should be on the Town Clerk” and that she “is looking into possible help from the State Police on the matter.”
However, at a special Exeter Town Council meeting held on March 11, 2013, Doreen Costa changed her position for the benefit of the large crowd of gun enthusiasts in the audience. As can be seen in the video of the meeting posted on YouTube (starting at eight minutes 49 seconds) Costa used her time to read a letter from Darin Goens of the National Rifle Association, and addressed her comments primarily to the audience, not to the Town Council. The letter presented the NRA’s position that the Exeter Town Clerk should maintain responsibility for issuing concealed weapon’s permits, a position Costa now agrees with.
This begs the question, does Doreen Costa represent the citizens of Rhode Island or the interests of the NRA?
You can help fight this pernicious recall by going to saveexeter.org