Gun Article Hearing Postponed to Next Wednesday or Thursday

Chairman Kelly Ross was disappointed in need to delay the hearing, gun rights advocates believe more planning could have avoided delay.


In the ongoing debate over the proposed warrant article to ban assault weapons in Westford, a new debate arose at last night's Board of Selectmen's meeting involving the subject: how many people are coming?

Board of Selectmen chairman Kelly Ross ultimately had to postpone the hearing due to violations of the fire code, which saw more than the 47 maximum people in the town hall conference room in addition to above the 75 maximum elsewhere on the second floor of town hall and numbers approaching the 75 maximum on the building's first floor.

"I knew there would be a lot of people, but I didn't know there would be this many, and in retrospect I should have," he said, stating the final number of e-mails and phone calls numbered in the "dozens." 

Ross indicated that he had been getting e-mails and phone calls about the measure, but the pace quickened significantly late last week, at which point changing the location would have faced logistical hurdles such as public notice and preparation for Westford CAT taping.

He informed Fire Chief Richard Rochon on Monday afternoon about the potential of overcrowding, but hoped for the best.

For Debra Grumbach of Westford Pro-2A, a pro-gun rights group, the decision not to move the location ahead of time was frustrating and disappointing.

"It was obvious that they expected a larger than normal turnout, they requested (two) police officers and they requested the fire chief to be here yesterday, so I think they should have been a little bit more proactive," she said, also noting that several seats were already reserved for members of the Finance Committee, who had another spot on the agenda.

"With the number of phone calls and e-mails they've been getting around this article, one would have expected that they would have moved it to a larger venue."

The Selectmen voted 4-0-0, with Andrea Peraner-Sweet absent, to recommend approval of all the warrant articles except for Article 30 (the gun ban), Article 16 (capital expenditures for the Westford Academy bleachers, boilers at two schools and other items now requiring bonding), re-opening the warrant for a new article helping to fund a track at Nashoba Tech and two citizens' petitioned warrant articles on the gun issue submitted on Friday and Tuesday.

Citizen's petitioned warrant articles are required to be on the warrant after being heard by the Selectmen, which will occur at the rescheduled meeting.

Additionally, Articles 19 and 20 were removed from the warrant.

The selectmen are expected to meet again on the remaining articles on Wednesday or Thursday with possible locations including the auditorium of Westford Academy, the Blanchard School or the Stony Brook School.

The exact time, date and location is expected no later than Friday.

Hugh MacDonald February 15, 2013 at 08:08 PM
You should see this before the meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDPN_7RgOtk
R Gagnon February 15, 2013 at 08:59 PM
I saw that on www.dailypaul.com/. This story has gone national. People I know, mostly hunter/archers, from across the country have contacted me to find out what is going on. Nobody likes this and everyone who has any knowledge of the Constitution and the US history thinks it is a bad idea and a bad precidence should it pass. We have to stop this cold at ATM and turn over the entire BoS. Even the ones who pretend not to like it. By that I include V. Wormell. When she says "We don't know what we are talking about" it means she does but refuses to stand against it for fear of loosing plitical clout. Every one of them must go. If they do not stand against it, they are for it. There can be no middle ground here and absolutely no compromise. Even if it does pass, we must all stand defiantly against it and refuse to comply with it. If it passes, we must all force the BoS and their tools to decide whether they have what it takes to enforce it. Who is going to be the first one to knock on which door to see if these otherwise legal weapons are being held within the town borders? If they don't look like the fools that they are before it passes, they will certainly look like fools after.
Butch Foote February 20, 2013 at 12:14 PM
I suggest the that the folks "protecting" the 2nd amendment read the top of page 8 of the US Supreme Court decision "Heller" (written by arch conservative Justice Scalia). This decision settled the handgun ban in Washington DC in favor of gun supporters. However, the Court pointed out that the right is not unlimited and for the 1st time, the Court defined what "Arms" means as follows: "Before addressing the verbs “keep” and “bear,” we interpret their object: “Arms.” The 18th-century meaning is no different from the meaning today. ... The term was applied, then as now, to weapons that were not specifically designed for military use and were not employed in a military capacity." Under Heller, Westford or any other city or town can ban weapons designed for or employed in a military capacity. You could start with almost anything semi-automatic, including the original 1911 .45 caliber handgun which was designed by John Browning specifically for military use.
Martin Luther February 20, 2013 at 05:49 PM
(d) The Second Amendment’s drafting history, while of dubious interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms. Pp. 30–32. (e) Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the late 19th century also supports the Court’s conclusion. Pp. 32–47. (f) None of the Court’s precedents forecloses the Court’s interpretation. Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542 , nor Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252 , refutes the individual-rights interpretation. 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. Pp. 47–54. ********** SCOTUS ruling makes any statements by any of the justices to irrelevant.
Butch Foote February 20, 2013 at 09:36 PM
My quotes above your reply are from the SCOTUS ruling.


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