A sign displayed in front of the Minuteman Arms gun shop by owner Warner Workman last week caused quite a stir in town, setting off a storm on social media and prompting complaints to the town office.
The sign read “Liberalism is Evil, Arm Now” but was changed later in the week to “Beware of Snowflakes.”
Mayor Bob Zoldos said the controversy provided a lesson in free speech.
In his weekly newsletter, Zoldos noted that a 2015 Supreme Court ruling restricted localities’ efforts to regulate signs, holding them to be a form of constitutionally protected speech. But even if regulations could address the sign critics’ concerns, the mayor said it was not an issue in which the town government should intervene.
“While I disagree with the content of the sign, I absolutely agree with a citizen’s right to be able to say it. The framers clearly wanted speech (especially speech that is critical of government) to be able to be uttered without worry of reprisal from the government. Without the ability of the populace to criticize their government, tyranny would most certainly result,” he wrote.
He suggested concerned residents talk civilly with Workman or post their own signs, or put their energies to work to help make Lovettsville an even better place to live by volunteering with a community organization or church.