Gun Discussion Postponed Due to Overcrowding at Town Hall

During Representative Jim Arciero and Senate Eileen Donoghue's discussion on the state budget, Selectman Kelly Ross was informed that Town Hall was over capacity and discussion on the town warrant would have to be delayed.


This morning the Westford Patch asked if Town Hall would be big enough to hold everyone wanting to discuss Article 30 and other gun-related warrant articles at this spring's upcoming town meeting, and the answer appears to be no.

In what Selectman Kelly Ross called "one of the lowest moments of his career as a Selectman," discussion on anything relating to guns was postponed to a date yet to be announced, with approximately 100 people gathered in the hallway and meeting room.

We will have more on this story as it develops.

UPDATE 8:50 p.m. - We've been told that approximately 50 people were downstairs in addition to the more than approximately 100 upstairs.

UPDATE: 8:53 p.m. - Article 19 (Authority for Selectmen to Take Easements Related to Route 40 Culvert Replacement Project and Article) and Article 20 (Designate Westford as Economic Target Area under the Economic Development Program) have been removed from the Warrant.

UPDATE: 8:56 p.m. - Article 3 (Supplemental Appropriations, $75,000) has been recommended 4-0-0. We will have more on the other items tomorrow.

Don Mazerolle February 13, 2013 at 02:04 PM
I don't blame Bob Jeffries for his position on gun control any more than I blame the NRA for their obsurd stands. Extreme positions cause extreme reactions, both sides need to develop middle ground. I am a life-long gun owner and believe it is as much a privilege as a right. The problem with Bob's approach is that he lends creedence to the NRA " if you give an inch..." A big problem we have in this nation is 50 different set of rules for purchase, ownership and use of firearms. We all know Mass. Has tough "LTC" issue requirements but when neighboring states have few, cracks in the dam. I gave up my AR a few years ago and don't miss owning it but I respect the right to ownership with appropriate criteria having been met by a set of standards equally applied by the law. Let's not take stands but work our way to the middle!
Jamaal February 13, 2013 at 02:04 PM
Treat the town's Police Officers, Firefighters, and Teachers like 2nd class citizens at the negotiation table avast year and the town doesn't say BOO, try and take away ourvAssault Weapons and High Capacity Magazines and we are OUTRAGED ! We sure are interesting to say the least!
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) February 13, 2013 at 02:35 PM
Occupancy limit was 47 for that room the meeting was being held in, 75 for the hallway outside and 75 for the first floor hallway. I counted around 100 in the second floor hallway and conference room and there may have been more I didn't see hiding behind people in that picture above. I was also told there was around 50 downstairs.
Mike February 13, 2013 at 02:41 PM
Well said, Don, especially the part about "extreme positions cause extreme reactions." The proposed ban just plays into the hands of the NRA's scare tactics and doesn't offer any real solutions to a problem, just a knee-jerk reaction.
Erik Jon Warila February 13, 2013 at 03:01 PM
@ Don: with all due respect, I believe the Founding Fathers believed the right to bear arms important enough that they included it in the Bill of Rights. It is far more than just a privilege. You seem like a reasonable guy so I believe you would agree with me in that responsible law abiding citizens should not be punished for violent acts committed by criminals. That's essentially what Jefferies' Article would accomplish.
R Gagnon February 13, 2013 at 03:08 PM
" Let's not take stands but work our way to the middle!" Interpretation: Lets allow people who don't even know what the current laws are and have no knowledge of firearms to impose more restrictions on our 2nd amendment rights and continue the constant chipping away at our ability to protect ourselves. When seconds count, the police are minutes away.
concernedresident February 13, 2013 at 03:51 PM
The Police, Firefighters, and Teachers probably did not like the way the BOS treated them, and the law abiding firearms owners don't like the way the BOS is treating them. I see complete consistency here. VOTE OUT THE INCUMBENTS like Jefferies and who ever is on his side! Simple.
Ghost February 13, 2013 at 03:59 PM
I'm with you concerned resident , time for residents to wake up to how the Town (Town Manager, BOS and School Committee) has been conducting itself when fewer were watching, teachers outrage fits into context now Out with the clowns! Time for change!
Mike February 13, 2013 at 04:27 PM
Rich, unfortunately, you've missed the point here. The debate about gun safety has devolved into a yelling match between extremists on both sides, with "gun nuts" squaring off against "gun grabbers" -- and meanwhile, nothing actually gets done. But there actually is an expansive middle ground, and there are many people who own guns and enjoy shooting sports and understand that they need to be part of the conversation. I know what the laws are, and I have knowledge of firearms, and know that our right to bear arms is not an absolute right. it is not a natural right. It is not carte blanche to carry whatever weapon wherever we want. If you feel the need to carry for protection here in the Wild Wild Westford, your 7-round Walther PPS will protect you as well as a 17-round Glock 19. If not, you need more range time.
Don Mazerolle February 13, 2013 at 05:09 PM
Yes, by "privilege" I meant that I support having each person proven responsible before they are allowed to carry - not arbitrarily - but within standard , nation-wide un -biased laws.
Steven Sadowski February 13, 2013 at 06:34 PM
Doesn't anyone teach classical rhetoric in school anymore? Can we please dispense with the strawman arguments? The NRA has not proposed a bylaw in Westford. The NRA has not filed a citizen's petition in Westford. The NRA has not taken out papers for nomination, nor has it jammed the halls of town hall. The people of Westford did! So let's stop throwing up boogeymen to slay. Talk about extreme positions! Here are the facts, OK? Whether you love guns, hate guns, are ambivalent to guns, have guns but think they should be regulated more is not the issue. Just for the moment , let's take the guns out of it because it stirs too many pre-conceived ideologies, let's say the BoS wanted to limit a hijab being worn in public like in France. Now that is something the ACLU would just love to sue us over, right? So this isn't about guns, or safety, it's about an irresponsible bylaw that exposes the town to needless attention and litigation. Those responsible need to be fired (by the voters).
Mike February 13, 2013 at 07:08 PM
Steven, you have an extremely valid point: it shouldn't be forgotten that this is a local measure. It equally true that this purely reflexive Article is symptomatic of the larger problem: an inability of most people to argue the ponts of gun safety without digging in their heels and burrowing into deeply-divided camps. Ignoring the larger context is about as irresponsible as enacting a silly local law that would do nothing to make Westford safer.
Dan D. February 13, 2013 at 07:14 PM
It will take well organized, energetic campaigns to unseat any incumbents. There is not a lot of time, less now that the election has been moved back (which is a huge advantage to the incumbents). The Dem Senate Primary may well drive a big turnout of people who will watch the state races, but not be particularly knowledgeable about the town races and will tend to vote for incumbents out of habit. I wish you all well, hope you succeed, and now go work your rear ends off!
R Gagnon February 13, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Mike, who are you or anybody else to dictate to me which weapon to use for self protection? I want to be free to use whatever one I am most comfortable with. The one that fits my hand best. The one that I can shoot most accurately. The one I may have used for that purpose in the past. My go-to gun. Nobody, not you, not Jefferies, npot even a majority vote at ATM has the right to dictate to me that I cannot use any otherwise legal firearm for any legal purpose including but not limited to self defense. And it is you, my good man, who continuously ingnores and ducks the FACT that at any given time, when seconds count, the police are minutes away.
R Gagnon February 13, 2013 at 07:24 PM
Don, Nothing is both a privelege AND a right. It is always either/or. Driving a car is a privelege. Owning a firearm is a right. When we forget or choose to ignore the difference, people like Jefferies win the day.
Mike February 13, 2013 at 07:33 PM
Rich, your comfort doesn't trump the law. You may feel most comfortable using the M16 you carried in 'Nam, but that doesn't mean you're allowed to carry it.
Mike February 13, 2013 at 07:54 PM
Rich, owning a firearm is a right. Owning a large-capacity weapon is a privilege granted by statute.
R Gagnon February 13, 2013 at 07:55 PM
Mike, I said "otherwise legal" firearm. You brought up the M16. Your misguided but otherwise intelligent discussion in support of eroding my God given right to defend myself is deteriorating. But that always happens when you so-called middle of the road folks exchange your backbone for some false sense of security.
R Gagnon February 13, 2013 at 07:58 PM
Amd, Mike, I have a right to carry any legal weapon in Westford even if it offends your false sense of security. You still haven't acknowledged that the police cannot be there during those seconds that matter the most. Hmmmm...
Mike February 13, 2013 at 08:29 PM
Rich, I'm ignoring your "when seconds matter" comments because they're pointless. Your "God-given right to defend yourself" doesn't extend to you being allowed to use whatever weapon you're comfortable with. That's specifically stated in the Supreme Court's Heller Decision. And honestly: the fact that hundreds of untrained people are potentially carrying in Westford causes me more heartburn than bad guys. Gun nuts are why I have an LTC, not criminals.
R Gagnon February 13, 2013 at 08:47 PM
"Gun nuts are why I have an LTC, not criminals." All I can say is wow! I've never heard any law abiding citizen gun owner express more concern over other law abiding gun owners than they do criminal gun owners. I would say its very telling but I'm not sure what something like that actually says other than you thought process on this issue is as twisted as any I have ever debated the subjet with. Are you actually more comfortable with non trained criminals carrying guns than you are with what you regard as partially trained law abiding citizens with guns???? When you actually face a criminal with a gun and all of a sudden those seconds do matter, come back here and tell me how pointless the argument is. I promise you, your thoughts will change.
Steven Sadowski February 13, 2013 at 08:58 PM
Mike: Your arguments are becoming circular.
Mike February 13, 2013 at 09:33 PM
Rich, I'm fairly sure you're a citizen but I have no way to know that you're law-abiding or partially trained. You're just as much a wild card to me as the chance of someone breaking in my house at night. I've lived in some rough places in my life and never felt the need to carry. The fearful sheep who believe they need a weapon to conduct their daily business are as much of a concern to me as the infinitesimal threat of an armed confrontation from a criminal.
PatHenry February 14, 2013 at 07:11 AM
"And honestly: the fact that hundreds of untrained people are potentially carrying in Westford causes me more heartburn than bad guys. Gun nuts are why I have an LTC, not criminals." Mike, if you're a CCW holder, then you'd know there ARE NO people in Westford carrying guns without training (required by the state) and approved by the Police chief.... And of course, a wicked shocker -- Someone who looks down on others and considers themselves superior who lives in Westford... The idea that gun owners are unhinged and dangerous is an outrageous fantasy of the kind you accuse the NRA of fomenting... wow.
PatHenry February 14, 2013 at 07:13 AM
And Mike, I hope the glock you speak of is pre-ban.. since new glocks (1994 and newer) are illegal in all of MA.. as are 17 round magazines.. but you know the law, of course...
PatHenry February 14, 2013 at 07:16 AM
"Work our way to the middle"... or speaking truthfully.. "You give up a bunch, we give up nothing but we don't ask for twice as much" The only real middle is the one where firearm restrictions are omitted... We've given too much as it is.
PatHenry February 14, 2013 at 07:30 AM
All gun control laws are biased. Violent crime is down nationwide and has been.. regardless of increased number of guns in circulation. I know a vice Det. from a nearby city that just busted a drug dealer that got my buddy (undercover) a full-auto ---- full-auto -- machine gun. Street price: 1200 Pre-ban (MA legal) AR15 before current AWB concerns: 1500... Yeah, gun control's working swell.
R Gagnon February 14, 2013 at 02:22 PM
Mike, Sheep? Sheep are defenseless animals by nature, not by choice. I wouldn't describe myself as one of them. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't describe you as one either. They are defenseless by nature. You chose to live that way in your "rough" areas.
Vincent DiRico February 14, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Hmm I recall only one group held demonstrations, filed lawsuits, ... soil these boards with drive-by comments at any turn, ... stick their fingers in the eyes of the residents who pay them, ... now there's some reality for you!
R Gagnon February 15, 2013 at 09:08 PM
Don, just like our right to live freely, it is up to the government to prove you are not worthy of that right in order to take it away. Similar to a court of law, you are worthy of excercising your 2nd amendment right unless proven otherwise. There is no burden on the citizen to prove he is worthy of the right to bear arms before he can excercise it. Its called due process.


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