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Escalante ponders law to require guns

Environmental group calls the idea ‘seditious’

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The actions of city governments in Washington County are spreading to other rural enclaves.

The city of Escalante Tuesday will consider a measure requiring heads of households to own firearms to protect citizens' rights.

The proposed ordinance appears to mimic those passed in other southern Utah cities. Virgin passed an ordinance requiring most head of households to own a gun. La Verkin has been spotlighted recently for its anti-U.N. ordinance.

Escalante councilman Don Porter proposed the pro-gun law.

"It was more or less to think about it," said Mayor Marjie Lee Spencer, who admits she hasn't spent much time mulling it over. Porter was unavailable for comment.

Escalante residents will have a chance to comment on the issue at a 7 p.m. public hearing Tuesday at City Hall, 56 N. 100 West, Escalante.

Critics say the proposed law is an ominous attempt to fire back at environmentalists over protection of public lands.

The proposed ordinance says "special interest groups are misusing federal, state and various laws and regulations to further their own agendas and restrict the use of private and public rights."

It continues to give the right for citizens to defend themselves after notifying the mayor of their intent.

The ordinance is ill-written and unclear, say members of the local environmental group, Escalante Wilderness Project (EWP). It suggests that its supporters may be contemplating the use of violence against groups to which they take exception, they say.

"The proposed ordinance is unpatriotic and seditious," said Tori Woodard of EWP.

"Empty political posturing like this ordinance just gives Escalante another black eye," added Patrick Diehl, also of EWP. "Unfortunately, it can also have real consequences in the real world."

E-MAIL: donna@desnews.com