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LETTER: What was Bob Jeffries thinking?

Was Article 30 a ploy to distract Westford citizens regarding the upcoming town elections?

Consider the following scenario. Westford Selectman Bob Jeffries is no fool. He has been entrenched in local politics for about the last fifteen years, and he is also up for reelection this spring, at a time when the budget for the town of Westford is nearing a crisis: “chaos” in the words of one town official, “worse than it’s ever been.” It is in this environment that Mr. Jeffries needs to strategize how to get reelected. He knows that people will be examining the role he had to play in leading Westford to the brink of its own fiscal cliff. They may come to the conclusion that Westford would be better off without him.

            So what does Mr. Jeffries do? He takes an extremely controversial issue – gun control – and exploits recent tragedies in order to take the focus away from his fiscal record. His Article 30 purported to ban “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines (both ALREADY banned in Massachusetts). However, he chose the wording of his Article very carefully, and those individuals familiar with firearms quickly realized that this would – by far – involve the ban of the majority of firearms, including many models that are more than a century old. It is a technical point, and one that Mr. Jeffries knows that most people not familiar with firearms technology will not understand or even notice.

            This last point is very important, because now, when the firearms community inevitably argues against the ban – that it is indiscriminate, that it is unconstitutional, that is does not address safety and is likely in fact to lead to an increase in crime – the non-firearms community will simply see that those “gun nuts” are once again “clinging” to their “assault weapons."  It is a classic example of divide and conquer by dissemination of misinformation.  It is not the free exchange of thoughts and ideas in order to attain a better community.

            The discussion regarding Article 30 went, in Mr. Jeffries’ words, “way, way beyond” Westford and Article 30 itself. The article got pulled from the warrant and will not go to Town Meeting next month. But Mr. Jeffries has accomplished what he set out to do: the community has become polarized, everybody’s talking about gun control, the Constitution, various other topics – but not at all about the fiscal state of our town, which is odd because that is the topic on which the Board of Selectmen are supposed to focus.

            Whatever Mr. Jeffries motives for burning the Constitution, we can only hope that the citizens of Westford will see through the ensuing smoke screen to vote him out of office. There are two seats on the Board up for reelection, and there are two contenders: Jim Jarvie and Scott Hazelton. Each of these candidates is a viable alternative to what has essentially become an entrenched politician. Perhaps after Jeffries is voted out, Westford can actually have some real discussions to educate both sides about what should be done to allow the community of Westford to be more fiscally responsible and a safer place to live. 

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Dan February 24, 2013 at 09:51 PM
I hear NRA volenteers are going door to door today collecting signatures for a recall of ALL BOS members, wonder if there really will be a house cleaning. I would sign for sure
Dan D. February 24, 2013 at 11:09 PM
Hmmm. Never thought of that as motivation, but it makes sense.
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) February 25, 2013 at 12:08 AM
On that note, to paraphrase one of my journalism professors, anybody sending in letters to the editor would be well advised to press "F7" on their computers before sending them in. Outside of putting "LETTER:" on the title, I'm not going to touch them.
Frugal Fannie February 25, 2013 at 12:30 AM
I highly doubt it.
Tyler Jozefowicz February 25, 2013 at 01:30 AM
Bob Jefferies took a courageous stand on gun control. He deserves a profile in courage. Contrary to exploiting a tragedy in Newtown, he recognized like many more that something, has to be done about the proliferation of assault weapons and other guns that have no place in a civilized society. Don't get russled by the rabble rousing, misinformed gun owners, who have been led to believe there are no limitations on gun ownership, that tranport of weapons through Westford would be a crime ( wrong- federal law allow temporary transport) . The gun owners that were summoned to appear , mostly from other towns , and even outside the state, especially NH, are not the majority. Thanks Bob.
I love kittens February 25, 2013 at 01:43 AM
Tyler, I am not sure if you already know that assault weapons are banned in Massachusetts. They are already illegal. They have been for a very long time now.
westford resident February 25, 2013 at 01:50 AM
Mike, Jefferies did a lot more than just start a 'discussion' on gun control. 1. He wrote a petition that could have resulting in multiple law suits that would have cost this Town dearly. 2. He didn't take the time to read and understand the current laws and regulations of MA pertaining to gun permitting and ownership. 3. He circumvented the usual process of gaining insight and direction from fellow residents at public hearings to shape the petition. 4. He wasted tax payers dollars having Town Counsel review the petition, assuming that it was going to pass. 5. When everyone found out about the petition and he started feeling the pressure, he had some of his friends submit the exact same petition as a 'citizen's petition' knowing full well that if the warrant were reopened, it would be put on and brought before TM. 6. Best of all, after the meeting on Feb 20, instead of conceding that this was not an issue that should be handled at the local level, he states: “I don’t think it ended tonight. I have to find out how to move forward.” That shows a level of arrogance and ignorance that is a little overwhelming. I want selectmen that represent the best interests of the Town and its citizens, not ones that would file a petition based on their personal beliefs and hidden agendas. I will not be voting for Bob Jefferies for any public office.
Uncle Sam February 25, 2013 at 02:25 AM
A profile in courage? Deport him to China. They've disarmed their population.
Hugh MacDonald February 25, 2013 at 02:33 AM
For a moment, put aside your stand on the gun control by-law proposed by Mr. Jefferies and rather look at the haste and recklessness by which the by-law was proposed. If this by-law was implemented then legal challenges were a certainty, legal challenges that would cost the Town of Westford substantially, and only to lose. I don't think anyone belongs on the BOS that would be so carefree with our money. Elections are coming up and we have the opportunity to make improvements.
Steven Sadowski February 25, 2013 at 03:41 AM
Tyler: If you wanted to put a deck on your house, but you weren't sure if it would be up to code, you'd call the town to make sure that the set backs and design met standards, right? Now suppose the town and inspectional services told you, you shouldn't build your deck because your design did not meet current code. What kind of idiot would you be if you decided to go ahead and build your deck anyway? Well the town paid a lawyer to look at the bylaw (article 30). The lawyer, that we all paid for BTW, rendered an opinion that this bylaw was flawed and could lead to a lawsuit---an expensive lawsuit. What did Jefferies do? He went ahead anyway and built his "deck." But what's the most sleazy of all....he proposed removing the Article (30) from the warrant, but he got a cadre of "useful idiots" to propose a citizen's petition that was identical to his bylaw. Why? So if the bylaw was challenged, his own mortgage wouldn't be at risk, the people who proposed the petition would be included on the lawsuit. Time to stop drinking the Kool-Aid and realize that "the smartest guy in the room" is really just an ideologue with a flawed plan for national gun control, progressive philosophy, and 60's radicalism run amok.
Raoul Duke February 25, 2013 at 03:45 AM
Tyler, I understand this is an emotional issue and I respect your right to a free opinion, but you are being stereotypical. I think you would be very surprised at who supports the Second Amendment- they come from all walks of life and backgrounds and political parties. I, amongst many, are not misinformed. So-called "gun control" is all well and good, as long as everyone, including the government, criminals, and law abiding citizens alike are treated equally. Otherwise, why would a lawful citizen of the United States ever be subordinate to someone else? That is the whole point of our freedoms. You argue that we need a civilized society but look at certain regimes that have enforced gun control in the past and tell me how that has worked out. I do not consider Nazi Germany, Maoist China, or Communist Cuba "civilized" in that the people were extremely deprived of rights when dictatorship was forced upon them. Read the Federalist Papers to understand the logic and philosophy of our Second Amendment. It protects all of us from tyranny, from dictatorship, hopefully forever. That way we can all live in a free country with rights and liberty, where we can all pursue our own happiness in a safe, responsible manner. Do you enjoy the First Amendment and Fourth Amendment and what they do for us? Well they are ultimately guaranteed by our Second Amendment. Have you ever read Vonnegut's short story "Harrison Bergeron"? Check out what he thought about where this is all heading.
Bill Wells February 25, 2013 at 07:07 AM
( wrong- federal law allow temporary transport) Are you talking about the "Safe Passage" provision of the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986? This is a part of a Federal law, which protects a firearm owner while travelling from state to state, if that person is legal in the state they came from and would be legal in their destination state. The Act requires that the firearms be unloaded and in a locked case or trunk for the entire trip, and you're allowed only short stops along the way, for food or gas. FOPA doesn't cover you while driving from town to town in one state. It's intended to protect lawful owners while they pass through states that don't honor their home state's licenses. And NO state reciprocates with Mass.
Dan February 25, 2013 at 09:49 AM
I think most WSP teachers feel that what goes around comes around so far as this debacle. BOS decided to pen a letter expressing 'great frustration' with our teachers and their actions last year- the respect the town has for this group couldn't be lower. Lets talk about great frustrations right about now why don't we?
Vincent DiRico February 25, 2013 at 05:38 PM
"mostly from other towns , and even outside the state, especially NH, are not the majority" -> funny when I click on TJ link (top of his comments) it comes up Chelmsford Patch :O
Vincent DiRico February 25, 2013 at 05:50 PM
This proposed article (um, I mean "conversation") is the left's "we know better than you" mentality trying to come out at the local level. Just like Mr 0 forcing Mr 0-care on us; ill eagle amnesty without enforcement; ... all train wrecks coming soon!
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) February 25, 2013 at 07:02 PM
Hi Vinnie, I can help explain that. When users sign up, the Patch they sign up on is their "home" Patch. I believe that can be changed later on. However, many articles are crossposted over several Patches (although not this one) and some issues garner attention beyond town borders (definitely the case here)
john February 25, 2013 at 07:13 PM
I am generally against any politician being in office for a long time, isn't it about time to elect a new face?
Vincent DiRico February 25, 2013 at 07:56 PM
Yes, thanks, that is my point: TJ is also "mostly from other towns"
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) February 25, 2013 at 08:25 PM
And as long as he follows the Terms of Use, he's welcome and encouraged to comment, as are you.
Vincent DiRico February 25, 2013 at 09:17 PM
never said he wasn't / shouldn't be able to do it I just pointed out that he ironically is from OUT OF TOWN :O
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) February 25, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Unsure how that is ironic in this context, but thank you for the clarification there, Vinnie. As earlier mentioned, everyone is welcome, and encouraged, to comment provided that they follow the terms of use.
Ghost February 25, 2013 at 10:05 PM
Misuse of the word ironic , the town crying broke and wasting money on legal fees on a gun warrant which it unanimously votes to drop is IRONIC, a poster from outside Westford commenting on a Westford issue is many things but its not ironic. Damm Liberals and their fancy words with real meanings and book learning!
Vincent DiRico February 26, 2013 at 01:01 AM
you get the point,no where was it suggested that TJ should not post! can we expect a little effort like that on the drive-by comments?
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) February 26, 2013 at 01:21 AM
Vinnie, Normally I don't have conversations like these that I am having with you right now with those people if that's what you mean. With those people, I'll give everybody a warning, then deletions happen and then account suspensions happen. No back and forth like this, very quick and easy to miss. You on the other hand are worth the investment of time, you're a frequent user of the site and you use your full name, so you deserve more leeway in my eyes, Tyler's in the same boat.
Bill Wells February 26, 2013 at 01:35 AM
When General Gage sent his soldiers to Concord to confiscate arms and ammunition, was it strictly a Concord issue? Jefferies' bylaw would affect anybody from anywhere while simply passing through Westford. And I don't believe for a minute that he's done.
Phil McKrackin March 04, 2013 at 08:06 PM
Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! Irony regards every simple truth as a challenge. Irony is just honesty with the volume cranked up. General Thomas Gage once said "The loss we have sustained is greater than we can bear" Surely, if he were alive at the time, Jesse James would counter.. "Just able barely to mount a horse and ride about a little in the spring of 1866, my life was threatened daily, and I was forced to go heavily armed. The whole country was then full of militia, robbing, plundering and killing."
Martin Luther April 21, 2013 at 04:36 AM
It was the "Japs" aka peace loving Japanese that bombed Pearl Harbor.
Tele Gram May 02, 2013 at 08:11 PM
Congratulations, Westford, on ridding yourselves of this selfish man.

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