Updated: Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011, 8:51 AM MDT
Published : Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011, 8:51 AM MDT
RUIDOSO, N.M. (KRQE) - There were powerful emotions and strong words at a city council meeting in Ruidoso, New Mexico Tuesday tonight.
Gun owners from down the road and from around the country, packed council chambers to give the mayor an earful about his executive order banning guns from village government buildings and meetings.
They ignored the ban to prove their point. Guns were very visible but the only shots fired were verbal and they were directed at the mayor.
"You are just as a much a tyrant for requiring someone to surrender their civil rights to carry a firearm in order to participate in their government as you are in asking them to surrender their right to vote or anything else,” Bob Wright said.
Speakers were given three minutes to speak and they did not hold back ,most of them with their guns holstered by their sides.
"Almost all of the mass murders in our country have occurred in areas just like you're fixing to set up, in gun free zones,” Executive Director of Gun Owners of America, Larry Pratt, said.
Locals, activists from the NRA and the Executive Director of Gun Owners of America, who flew in from Virginia, took to the podium to take a stand.
In all more than 100 people filled the council chamber to capacity, dozens of them carrying guns, despite signs that say ‘no guns allowed.’
Police were on hand but they did not stop them.
Ruidoso Mayor Ray Alborn issued the executive order banning firearms from government property and meetings a month ago, after a citizen refused to give up his gun after taking the podium.
"The police chief took it away from him, he filed a suit. At that time I realized how unprotected we in the front of the room, there's 11 of us, plus all of our citizens and employees who were at the meeting, how unprotected we were,” Alborn said.
The executive order does not apply to law enforcement.
The mayor also says there is a lot of misinformation including a rumor that the ban means people need to give up their guns the second they step on Ruidoso soil.
Critics loudly proclaim he is violating their 2nd amendment rights and that he thinks the law's on his side.
Alborn says if village council shoots down his executive order he might step down.
“My responsibility is health, safety and welfare of our employees so if we're not going to be able to do these kinds of things I’m not sure I want to be sitting in this seat,” Alborn said.
Protesters called for the mayor and the village attorney to resign. However, in the end the village council put off the vote.
No word when they might vote on the executive order.
The mayor says two state laws give him the authority to ban firearms in village buildings But the National Rifle Association says a New Mexico Supreme Court decision forbids local authorities from making piecemeal changes to the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.