Sanford to ban Neighborhood Watch members from carrying guns

Oct. 31, 2013 at 9:32 AM
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SANFORD, Fla., Oct. 31 (UPI) -- The town of Sanford, Fla., is set to announce new guidelines for Neighborhood Watch members, including a ban on carrying guns while on volunteer duty.

The new guidelines, to be made public at a community meeting at City Hall on Tuesday, come less than four months after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported.

Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith requested the no-gun policy in an effort to better regulate the town's Neighborhood Watch network, said police department spokeswoman Shannon Cordingly.

"We never encouraged people to carry guns," Cordingly said.

Volusia County Sheriff's Office spokesman Brandon Haught said that to be a Neighborhood Watch member in the area, citizens must undergo background and driver's license checks, an hourlong interview and 60 hours of training.

Members are supposed to be unarmed and are warned against the dangers of trying to be police officers or vigilantes.

"It's something that we drill into them in training," Haught said. "You are a citizen. You're not a law-enforcement officer."

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