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SPRING CITY, Sanpete County -- A small Utah town has a population of less than a thousand people, but the City Council is proposing that each one of its citizens own and carry handguns.
Spring City Councilman Neil Sorensen, the man behind the bold proposal, wants to take it even further. He wants the city to pay for every elementary school teacher in the town to take a concealed carry permit class.
"Law enforcement, that's a big expense for us. So if we can do our part, then it will be a better place."
Sorensen says the Council is taking a stand for the Second Amendment, while at the same time standing up against gun violence.
Sorensen originally wanted to require every household in the city to own a gun.
"The first recommendation was that we require, or we recommend, every household have a gun and be properly trained to use it," he said.
But some residents - along with the Sanpete County sheriff -- did not like the term, "require." Now it's just a recommendation that every house be armed -- one that will be fast-tracked onto the city's books.
Spring City Councilman Neil Sorensen wants every household to own a firearm
City council members hope to have this pushed through quickly, with an ordinance drafted as early as next month's council meeting. At that point there will be a public hearing, but it doesn't look like there will be much, if any, resistance from residents.
"I'm very impressed that they had the foresight to recommend that," said resident Michelle Chandler.
Fellow resident David Sedlak agrees.
"Law enforcement, that's a big expense for us. So if we can do our part, then it will be a better place," he said.
But the city councilman isn't just pushing for every household to have a gun. Sorensen wants the roughly 20 elementary school teachers in town to take a concealed carry permit course. The city will pay for the teachers to take the course on Friday.
Sorensen says the idea was almost a revelation after the Connecticut shootings in December.
"I would like to see the people have guns to protect themselves, be trained and qualified. I just feel it's a step in the right direction."
"I think if they would have had guns in there and the teacher would have had a gun, they wouldn't have killed so many kids," he said.
This is a step Sorensen understands some may view as controversial, but one he and many others in Spring City view as necessary.
"I would like to see the people have guns to protect themselves, be trained and qualified," he said. "I just feel it's a step in the right direction."
They'll have a proposal ready and drafted for next month's City Council meeting. Sorensen says this isn't the first time a city has encouraged gun ownership.
A Georgia town instituted a similar policy in 1982 and reported its crime rate dropped by 50 percent after it was passed.
Andrew Wittenberg, Reporter
An award-winning journalist, Andrew Wittenberg joined KSL 5 News in January of 2012. Before coming to Utah, Andrew spent six years in Columbus, Georgia as a reporter and anchor in both news and sports at the ABC affiliate. Full Bio »