Lowell Sun: Assault-weapon ban may go to Westford voters

Below is a link to the Lowell Sun article. After this article appeared, a general concern has been raised to Board of Selectmen members and the Westford Chief of Police that these interviews with Jeffries is unfortunately an announcement to criminals. A firearms ban would prevent Westford citizens from traditional and legal home defense methods, making our community and its citizens a target.

 

Lowell Sun Article form 02/04/2013:

http://www.lowellsun.com/todaysheadlines/ci_22514723/assault-weapon-ban-may-go-westford-voters

 

Board of Selectmen Quotes from Article:

-         "Honestly, I think this is a colossal waste of time. I think it might be a political show" V. Wormell

-         Sullivan said he felt as though the process was rushed and that only one side of the argument was heard.

 

The article states:

If the proposal remains on the warrant and is approved by voters, it could make Westford the first community in the state to institute a local assault-weapons ban.


Facts:

-         All towns in Massachusetts have an assault weapons ban because Massachusetts has an assault weapons ban

-         The Massachusetts Assault Weapons Ban is a rollover of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban which expired on September 13, 2004.

-         The federal ban was not renewed. Data lacked evidence to demonstrate a reduction in crime.

 

The article states:

Jefferies said if the bylaw is passed by the town and upheld by the state, he would like signs on every entry road into town publicizing the ban.


Facts:

-         Roads that enter Westford are 495, Route 3, Route 27, Route 225, and Route 110 to name a few.

 

The article states:

Jefferies did not attend the meeting where selectmen closed the Town Meeting warrant.

Facts:

-         Jeffries added this in December, but was notably absent in January when it was requested that this be removed.

-         Because Jeffries was not in attendance, the Board of Selectmen respectfully waited to discuss this in February

-         At the February Board of Selectmen meeting so many citizens showed up that, due to building capacity and fire safety codes, the future of Article 30 was again delayed to February 20 at 7:30 at the Stony Brook School.

 

The article states:

"Even if the town does not do anything, I do believe that having a discussion about gun control should be had in our community," said Peraner-Sweet.

Facts:

-         Andrea Paneer-Sweet is a Board of Selectman member who is currently running for reelection

-         No discussion has been scheduled

-         Town Meetings do not allow a format for discussion. The format of our town meetings is to voice your opinion at the microphone to the selectmen or ask a question to the selectman and then we vote.

 

The article states:

Sullivan said he felt as though the process was rushed and that only one side of the argument was heard.

Facts:

-         Many bylaw proposals take many many months and often more than a year.

-         This bylaw was thrown on in December

-         Removal of it was not possible in January due to Jeffries absence

-         The February Board of Selectmen meeting will determine if it will be up for vote at the March Town Meeting on March 23.

-         This took less than 3 months from placeholder to town meeting.

-         Due to comparative analysis, Sullivan can stand confidently behind this statement.

The article states:

The proposed bylaw states that the high firepower and military features of assault weapons are preferred by criminals and place law-enforcement officers at risk.

Facts:

-         In 2011, 12,664 murders were committed in the US according to the FBI expanded homicide data report. 323 involved a rifle. It is not determined which set of those rifles would have been assault weapons, nor does it determine how many of these criminals were in illegal possession of the rifle.

-         The FBI data does not support in any way that criminals prefer rifles, let alone assault weapons.