WBUR

Westford May Ban Certain Types Of Weapons

BOSTON — Westford may become the first town in the state to ban certain types of weapons.

Some town leaders have drafted a proposal to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines within town borders.

The plan could go before voters at the Westford Town Meeting in March.

Robert Jeffries, who is vice chair of the Westford Town Selectmen, floated the proposed bylaw and joined Morning Edition on Tuesday to talk about it.

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  • http://twitter.com/twosidesormore twosidesormore

    the proposed ban is constitutionally flawed.

    it bans not just so called “assault weapons” but also what MGL defines as “large capacity weapons”. these are any semiautomatic weapon capable of accepting large capacity feeding devices (magazines). These weapons (no more dangerous than many others) are not “unusual”, but represent 40% of the firearms stock and ~100% of the pistol stock. Pistols like the Beretta 92FS, the M1911, Glock, Ruger and many hundreds other models would be banned.

    This is contrary to the letter of D.C. v. Heller (2008): “The handgun ban amounts to a prohibition of an entire class of “arms” that is overwhelmingly chosen by American society for that lawful purpose” also

    “United States v. Miller,307 U. S. 174 , does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes”.

    Pistols are in common use, and AR-15 represent 20% of the sold semiautomatic rifles….I think they clearly qualify as in common use by any definition. what can be banned are “machine guns”, “granade launchers” etc. and they already are.

  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

    Thats odd i would like to know what evidence shows the AWB worked. the govts own studies have shown it to have had no impact. how many people in westford have been killed by people with so called “assault weapons”? will it apply to the town police as well?

    • WestfordCitizen

      To answer the question on people in Westford being killed by actual assault weapons is zero.

      They added a section to the warrant to exclude police.

      Jeffries originally proposed to start his own town militia and when that fizzled out, he tried this move. Frankly, I’m concerned with a Selectman who thinks forming his own militia is a normal thing to do. I find it downright scary

      • Hambone

        Maybe Selectmen (or any legislator) need to pass a mental health screening perhaps?

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        so how is he going to reduce something thats already zero? i hope you attend the town hall. can you please do so and post a video. i was thinking a town militia was a good idea but if this guy is for it i will have to reconsider. lol

      • http://www.facebook.com/CameraSkunk Daniel Coelho

        You missed one of the more disturbing portions of what was stated by the Selectman whom proposed the militia be formed. He put forward that if they did this, and required members of the community whom owned firearms to attened, and bring said firearms they would then be able to see who and what was in the town.

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          that would probably be pretty interesting i bet people would be suprised how many of their upstanding neighbors are firearms owners.

      • really?

        You know what we should do, we should wait until a bunch of people do get killed in Westford and then pass a law to prevent it after the fact. Brilliant reasoning.

        • http://twitter.com/twosidesormore twosidesormore

          this ban does not pass “rational basis” analysis: there are comparably lethal firearms that con be used in mass shootings (you can shoot a revolver very quickly, 12 rounds in 3 seconds, including a reload; you can use a sawn-off pump action shotgun with 00 pellets etc.) that are not banned; the ban is already too broad, infringing on the Bill of Rights. Or do you want to piss on that in name of a false sense of security?

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          i’ll assume nightclubs are already banned in westford? a town law on firearms will prevent a “bunch of people” getting killed? tell me how that will work?

  • Ricardo

    The first town to be ridiculed. This will most certainly backfire on them. What a town full of loonies.

    • X-Ray

      The Loonies didn’t prevail.

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        whew! that might have been all the rage for the liberal towns to race to pass their own bans each trying to outdo the other. there is still much to be done to enforce the current laws we have that the police are violating routinely

  • FrancisMcManus

    AR15 is a weapon, like the M16, that is designed to be more lethal. The wwo reasons it is more lethal than a traditional hunting rifle is muzzle velocity and the fact that bullets “tumble” in the target creating a lot of bodily damage. Think of the AR15 as a “civilian” version of the M16 military weapon, the main difference being that the AR15 does not have burst or automatic mode. These two modifications to the M16 turned a “military” weapon into a “civilian” rifle under the assault weapons ban of 1994.

    The AR15 has been the weapon of choice in gun massacres in New Mexico, Aurora CO and Newtown CT where 26 people were shot dead in 10 minutes.

    I think it is a bad idea for a civil society to embrace the proliferation of weapons of war.

    I’m not one of those people who believes we should arm ourselves to defend ourselves from government nor that we have the constitutional right to do so.

    • Westford Resident

      The AR-15 is the Modern Sporting Rifle, aka the Armalite Rifle. The Armalite rifles were designed as CIVILIAN sporting rifles back in the 1950s. They PREDATE the military versions. Currently they are the single most popular target and hunting rifles in America, and Federal courts have stated the following:
      ““We think it clear enough in the record that semi-automatic rifles and magazines holding more than ten rounds are indeed in ‘common use,’”

      Can’t get any clearer than that.

    • Hambone

      Can you point me to your artifacts that show velocity of the .223/5.56 caliber is more lethal that typical hunting calibers?

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      26 people in 10 minutes? a trained soldier with a musket was expected to be able to load and fire 3 rounds per minute. muskets were military weapons should we ban those too? Ar15 rounds are much less leathal than pretty much any deer gun. its considered underpowered for deer hunting by most. it is a good choice for hunting hogs if you have a big magazine. Are you sure you are not one who thinks we should not be allowed to arm ourselves at all?

      • FrancisMcManus

        I was mistaken. He killed 26 people in 6 minutes.

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          All the reports say it took 10 minutes for the cops to show up. unfortunatly in six minutes that would not be hard to do with either obomas over under shot gun or the double barrel ones that bidens wife shoots off the deck to scare off intruders.

          http://youtu.be/Fd9WBx-IA-E
          (keep in mind its his first time)

    • SMR

      Tell that to the patriots that fought the English to give you the freedom you have come to love and enjoy so much. If they couldn’t arm themselves to defend against the English government, our government at that time, you would be signing another national anthem.

    • SMR

      BTW, since when does a bullet of an AR-15 tumble out of a rifled barrel???

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        i guess when they first came out in cietnam they had the wrong rifleing on the gun so at long range the bullet would tumble. thats fine if you are in vietnam and you are have a full auto version and you are really trying to wound people and provide cover fire and most importantly carry as much ammo as you possibly can. the .223 was chosen because its light and you can carry a lot of them into the jungle. in military conflict its better to wound an enemy because then others must care for them thereby taking more people out of the fight.

    • http://twitter.com/twosidesormore twosidesormore

      the AR-15 in 5.56 is a .22 Cal. 5.56 is fundamentally the same as the .223 Winchester, which was born as a hunting rounds. Now, the M1 Garand is a .30 Cal and is not classified as a large capacity firearm. Yet, it can be quickly reloaded and shoots high power bullets.

      in addition, AR15 comes in about 10 different caliber: the westford ban would ban everything, even puny .22LR rifles.

    • X-Ray

      Nonesense. The bullets are not “designed to tumble”. The kills accuracy.

  • Westford Resident

    Here is my take on the Jefferies interview. I really wish Bob Oaks had called him out on these:

    Jefferies contends the measure was not “rushed through”.
    Other issues in Westford (East Boston Camps naming, Signage and more)
    all received numerous public hearing before they EVER went to the Board
    of Selectmen and became an article. This received NONE. Why?

    Jefferies says that the national ban reduced crime.
    The official U.S. Department of Justice report [Koper] states the
    following.
    “we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop
    in gun violence.”
    “there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and
    injuriousness of gun violence, … as we might have expected had the ban
    reduced crimes with both Assault Weapons and Large Capacity Magazines.”
    “[the] ban’s impact on gun violence is … small at best, and perhaps
    too small for reliable measurement.”

    Lastly, Jefferies justifies a ban saying that town meeting is direct
    democracy.
    It has long been held that direct democracy cannot be used as a
    mechanism to infringe on the civil rights of citizens. Hence voting rights, women’s suffrage.

  • Hambone

    I remember from watching the BoS meeting on local TV in January (the one that Selectman Jefferies was conveniently absent from). When the question of how were town resources used to draft up the ill-informed content, Selectman Kelly clearly says that Jefferies did it on his own and that he [Kelly] helped with a little bylaw word smithing. I don’t see how that counts as vetting this with a collective panel of citizens and Subject Matter Experts in firearms, safety, crime, and general law over a reasonable period of time. If you could realistically poll the whole town, I doubt most even knew about this article, when it was claimed to be vetted with the public for input. The article language can change quite a bit between now and town meeting before anyone has enough time to digest what it means. Seems like Jefferies is expecting a vote at the town meeting and for the residents to trust him. How can residents trust him, if he doesn’t trust the residents? This article, if passed, is going to mark the town with big signs bleating “Criminals Welcome. Please Help Yourselves.”

  • Hambone

    I remember watching the BoS meeting on local TV in January (the one that Mr. Jefferies was absent from). When the question of how was town resources used to draft up the ill-informed content, Mr. Kelly mentions that Jefferies did it on his own and that he [Kelly] helped with a little bylaw word smithing. I don’t see how that counts as vetting this with a collective panel of citizens and Subject Matter Experts in firearms, safety, crime, and general law over a reasonable period of time. If you could realistically poll the whole town, I doubt most even knew about this article, when it was claimed to be vetted with the public for input. The article language can change quite a bit between now and town meeting before anyone has enough time to digest what it means. Seems like Mr. Jefferies is expecting a vote at the town meeting on *his* issue and for the residents to trust him. How can residents trust him, if he doesn’t trust the residents? This article, if passed, is going to mark the town with big signs bleating “Criminals Welcome. Please Help Yourselves.”

  • Joey

    Constitution doesn’t apply to Westford? Maybe the civil war will start there??

  • joed

    Constitution doesn’t apply to Westford? Pussification of Amurica

  • FrancisMcManus

    What causes the large wounds of M16 and AR-15? Projectile’s velocity and construction.

    The M16 rifle, officially designated Rifle, Caliber 5.56 mm, M16, is the United States military version of the AR-15 rifle.

    The damage caused by the .223 (5.56 mm) “varmint” bullet was observed and originally believed to be caused by “tumbling” due to the slow 1 in 14-inch (360 mm) rifling twist rate. However, this twist rate only made the bullet less stable in air. Any pointed lead core bullet will turn base over point (“tumble”) after penetration in flesh, because the center of gravity is aft of the center of the projectile. The large wounds observed by soldiers in Vietnam were actually caused by projectile fragmentation, which was created by a combination of the projectile’s velocity and construction.

    • http://twitter.com/twosidesormore twosidesormore

      the 5.56 tends to tumble (high yawn angle) at very close and very long distances, being more stable at intermediate trajectories. At very close distances it is inconsistent in this behavior. It is a weak round that requires a lot of care in shot placement, and there is a 50-50 split among servicemen on its effectiveness. besides, you should indicate what cartridge specifically you are discussing. there are many. But you are making much out of nothing, as the ban you are supporting would extend to all sort of calibers, even the .22LR. so, be honest, you don’t care about terminal ballistics, you just don’t like firearms.

    • http://twitter.com/twosidesormore twosidesormore

      also, if the AR-15 is such a mass-murder military weapon, why do we allow the police to carry one in their cars or to use it when entering suspects homes? the police is supposed to stop a threat, not to shred it in pieces, as you seem to assume the AR-15 being able to do.

    • kev

      Please also make readers aware that the AR-15 cartridge, the 5.56 x 45 mm NATO, carriers half the energy and has far less ability to penetrate barriers and body armor than the average deer rifle or the previous military round. There is nothing particularly deadly about the AR-15. The principal advantage of it was its light weight and the ability to carry more ammunition, which came at the expense of long range accuracy and penetrative power. Even the lightest calibers are deadly at close range. There is no particular reason to ban the AR15,

  • http://www.facebook.com/frugal.fannie.5 Frugal Fannie

    The fact of the matter is that most of what comes out of Mr.Jefferies mouth and those of his ilk are lies. The types of firearms most people think would be banned with an AWB are already banned here in MA. The SCOTUS has found that the right to keep and bear arms is an INDIVIDUAL right and is unreated to hunting. DHS and the Massachusetts Police agree that the AR-15 style rifles are excellent self-defense weapons.
    When criminals perpetrate crimes why is the reaction to restrict law abiding people? Maybe the reaction should be to prosecute the criminals and make them pay for their crimes. Most guns used in crimes are obtained through illegal means. Perhaps we should focus on shutting down the people who traffic in illegal guns.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Tazman316 Jay Leonard

    What a Joke….even the chief of police says it’s a waste of time!!!

  • kev

    Massachusetts has the most restrictive gun laws in the nation. There is no need to more regulation. What we have now probably exceeds what the Second Amendment allows under the Supreme Court’s decisions Heller and McDonald. This proposed ordinance is more headline grabbing nonsense and it’s not legal. The good think here is that the town will be an easy mark for second amendment litigation.

  • Thomas N. Themeles

    To King Jefferies, get a life and stay out of ours

  • X-Ray

    They should also ban ownership of any car capable of exceeding the speed limit. Going faster than the speed limit wastes gas, is against the law, hurts the environment and endangers others.

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