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Gun control backlash prompts US towns to ‘require’ residents bear arms

by Associated Press, Guardian UK  |  published on March 10, 2013

A town of 140 people in Maine is considering an ordinance making gun ownership mandatory, the latest of a handful of communities nationwide to pass or consider such a rule even though the measures are widely considered unenforceable.

Communities from Idaho to Georgia have been inspired to “require” or recommend their residents arm themselves ever since a gunman killed 26 youngsters and educators December 14 in a school in Newtown, Connecticut, and raised fears among gun owners about an impending restriction on Second Amendment rights.

Although it is only a handful of communities these measures reflect a growing divide in the US between those like President Barack Obama who believe guns need to be more strictly regulated and supporters of the powerful gun lobby the National Rifle Association, which maintains that more guns keep people safer.

While generally more liberal states with large urban centers like New York and California lawmakers have been introducing more stringent gun control laws, more conservative, rural areas have been going in the opposite direction.

South Dakota on Friday passed a law allowing teachers and other personnel to carry firearms in the state’s schools, the first of its kind since the Connecticut school shooting.

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