Skip to main content

Chester County Press

Lawyers, guns and money

04/08/2014 03:24PM ● By Acl

When Kennett Township was first founded 300 years ago, firearms were the way of the land, a necessity of life and as natural an extremity to a resident as a hand is to a body. As time went on and the centuries turned into the next, the gunshots being heard here were made by those who stared hard into the face of progress and didn't like the encroachment of developments and increased population that has turned the township into a countrified suburb of Wilmington and given it a new, hyphenated name: semi-rural.

The Kennett Township that existed 300 years ago does not live there anymore. Yes, the beauty of open space still exists, thanks largely to the efforts of local conservationists, and yes, it is still fairly common to find one's self taking the long way home on a winding country byway past the township's natural beauty. Yet, as is the natural order of who we've become, our economic viability – both as a society and as individuals – has afforded us the ability to abandon our lives in cities and raised our families in these once wide-open spaces and, in the process, we have afforded the right to self-cocoon into our own Private Idahoes.  The self-fulfilling prophecy of our success is seen throughout Kennett Township; all along the popped-up pockets of development, in homes carved into the once pristine pastures of near wilderness, newcomers have urbanized the rural, and expect others to live by their rules, and that includes those who have the Second Amendment right to own and use firearms.

As can be expected, a contingent of responsible gun owners are not backing down. Most have been cooperative. Others have not. One gun owner, issued a citation in November for violating the ordinance, hired a lawyer and eventually had the citation dismissed in court.  

As they decide on the wording in an ordinance that aims to regulate the use and discharge of firearms in the township – one that attempts to increase safety measures but still permits the responsible use of firearms within the township's walls -- the Kennett Township Board of Supervisors find themselves wedged between our nation's changing ideologies and the lock-and-bolt freedoms of our most precious laws. They've done a good job on opening the township doors to open discussion, and to their credit, they have promised to infuse public comment into an amended ordinance that is scheduled to be approved in the next few months. 

Ultimately, however, with whatever fine tuning Messrs. Hammaker, Leff, Stevens and solicitor Dave Snyder come up with to finalize a working document, the revised version of the township's firearms laws will only be a working guideline. The only way Kennett Township will really win on this issue is through backyard communication and compromise, beyond the measure of laws.  The use of firearms is not about to leave Kennett Township, but neither are those who seek to impose restrictions on them.   Yes, proper laws can help regulate a society, but simple conversations – with egos placed aside-- can help save one.