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For the second time in less than a week, a group of about 30 residents failed in their effort to persuade a local board to ban assault rifles.
The Rev. Ken Kinnett, a retired minister who lives in Flat Rock, addressed the Hendersonville City Council last Thursday and the county Board of Commissioners Monday night, urging the boards to force gun shops to stop selling assault rifles and large magazines of ammunition.
Henderson County Board of Commissioners chairman Charlie Messer made clear that the board won't take up the issue.
"It's a national issue," Messer said. "It will be a state issue and I don't think the county commissioners can make that choice. The fact of the matter is, when the federal government passes a law ...Personally I think we've got enough laws.... We will not be making any decisions on this issue. I appreciate ya'll coming."
Those who urged the assault weapons banned have outnumbered defenders of gun ownership rights and Second Amendment advocates by a proportion that would seem to be far greater than the population in conservative Henderson County. After the mass killing of 20 schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn., the local gun control advocates organized to attend first the city council meeting and then the county commissioners' meeting.
On Monday night, though, several Second Amendment defenders spoke.
"I disagree that guns do not make us safer," George Danz said. Any reading of what happens in cities that have tried to ban guns shows that crime soared, he said.
Robert Miles, a Vietnam veteran, said he decided after his discharge from the Army not to pick up weapons again. He said an M-16 or AR-15 is needed in combat but not for protection.
"Please consider steps you could take to support the resolution" in favor of the assault weapons ban, he said.