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.

Jeanne M. Lemieux February 13, 2013 at 02:15 PM
I don't always agree with R. Gagnon but this time he hit the nail on the head.
Jim Jarvie February 13, 2013 at 03:16 PM
If the BoS won't hear us now, they will surely hear us on April 30th when the voters of Westford have three new choices (Jim Jarvie, Steven Sadowski and John Scott Hazelton). Vote out the incumbents!
Ghost February 13, 2013 at 03:53 PM
Lets vote the clowns (Harkness and Keele) out of the SC and really clean house so we can be great again
Time for change February 13, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Time for a new BOS. Let's see if the people really speak.
Mike February 13, 2013 at 04:30 PM
I agree -- Article 30 goes too far, especially since proposed state and federal laws will likely supersede it...
Benito February 13, 2013 at 05:32 PM
Last year I was embarrassed to be a resident because of the tactics if our school committee, this year I'm embarrassed by the Board of Selectmen. Change is overdue
H Stone February 13, 2013 at 07:15 PM
If you think there were a lot there last night, wait until next week. This is not an issue of this town. This is an issue of the constitution. It appears that Westford is looking to be the Lexington and Concord for sustaining the constitutional rights the forfathers gave us.
Bob Canning February 13, 2013 at 08:24 PM
What is the BOS doing to make it harder and more punishable to be a...criminal?(Meanwhile Gov. Patrick introduces measures to make MURDER, a less serious offense, to some), everybody good with THAT?
Bob Canning February 13, 2013 at 08:27 PM
So sad that within 5 miles of where the BOS sit and meet, Our Country's Independence began with those first shots fired at the British who, were on the way to confiscate cannon balls, powder and muskets. What has this once fine and Constitutionally guided state become?
Raoul Duke February 13, 2013 at 08:47 PM
Bob, not only that but with Colonel John Robinson of Westford second in command at Concord. This entire fiasco is a dishonor to the memory of that American hero (amongst others). Both the U.S. and MA Constitutions clearly allow for citizens to defend both their home and their democratic freedom.
CCR February 13, 2013 at 09:16 PM
Just a quick correction on the content if article 30. It states above 'ban assault weapons' but those are already banned. This article will ban most firearms, those used for sporting, hunting, self defense, and competition. A small handgun falls under this, for example a Ruger SR 22 and other common firearms. Anything that accepts a magazine, regardless of the magazine being used. This is not an ban on assault weapons. It's a ban on most firearms.
KSimons February 13, 2013 at 09:31 PM
Where can I find the wording on the article 30? I read the petition and all it says is refer to MA Law Chapter 140, section 121. https://dms.westfordma.gov/imageapi.php?docid=Qmx1ZVJpdmU4MDM1NnItU3lzdGVtcyAxNyA1
Mike February 13, 2013 at 09:34 PM
Bob Canning February 13, 2013 at 09:37 PM
For anyone wanting to exercise their God given right to defend themselves, as defined In The Bill of Rights, before that right is made illegal... there is a Basic Pistol Course being offered this Saturday. Contact me for details: bocan3@Aol.com
Mike February 13, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Bob, God is not mentioned anywhere in the Bill of Rights: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html
Bob Canning February 13, 2013 at 10:08 PM
Hi Mike, The use of the word God in my post, was to express that there is a higher power, an inherent natural instinct, imbued within us, all of us, as much as reflexes are, as humans, to defend ourselves, our family, our loved ones and our property. That no one can take that from us. People say this "right" is given to us, in the Bill of Rights. That is incorrect, it is merely "defined" in the Bill of Rights.
Bob Canning February 13, 2013 at 10:18 PM
CCR, The wording and the definition of "assault weapons", continues to be intentionally deceptive, especially when politicians are "telling" people these terms in public forum. In a recent address to the Natick Town Meeting, I heard Rep. David Linsky, (intentionally), misdefine "assault weapon", by omitting the second line of the dictionary's definition where it states "...and also capable of select fire operation." (meaning semi-automatic fire mode.) He "informed", the crowd, about the need to ban "machine guns"(perhaps not realizing that they are already banned/restricted heavily.) For a person who introduced himself to the crowd as having been, and still active in legal enforcement of the law as a lawyer, especially in regards to firearms law, he clearly omitted some salient facts in his "presentation" to the meeting.
Raoul Duke February 14, 2013 at 12:04 AM
Mike, the Framers were heavily influenced by natural rights philosophers like Locke and Montesquieu. They believed and thus legislated based upon the idea that God provides us, upon birth, with certain rights of life, liberty, and property (see Jefferson's D of I) that should not be taken away. So, in a sense, according to the authors of the Bill of Rights, God did indeed give us these rights and the government agreed to abide by these rights or we the citizens never would have agreed to forming the government in the first place- it was called ratification and you can find the debates, and the Framers views on gun rights for example, in the Federalist Papers.
Bob Canning February 14, 2013 at 12:12 AM
I believe the time is upon us good citizens to remove from office, those who no longer care for, or act in accordance with, The Constitution.
Martin Luther February 14, 2013 at 01:01 AM
Are you aware that Westford has a recall provision in its charter. All 5 School Committee members and 3 Selectmen who are not up for election can be recalled on 30 April along with the incumbents up for election. After cleaning house with SC and BoS, the next step is for the new BoS and SC to fire the Town Manager, Town Clerk, Town Counsel, and School Superintendent. Democracy in action.
Ghost February 14, 2013 at 01:08 AM
Recall on Harkness and Keele, send Town manager and School Superintendent packing? Looks like my cowboy buddy is making some sound sense for once! Long live democracy, Change is in the air, let's let the clowns know we have had enough song and dance
Bob Canning February 14, 2013 at 02:20 AM
Ghost & Jesse James, "Long live the representative Republic", the US is not a Democracy. Good for your town to be able to recall such anti-American officials! There seems to a universal ignorance of the fact that following firearms registration comes firearms confiscation and then comes...(Does ANYBODY remember history anymore?)
Amber February 14, 2013 at 03:32 AM
Bob: I do. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=507274009310840&set=a.112478365457075.7231.107705785934333&type=1&relevant_count=1
R Gagnon February 14, 2013 at 10:20 PM
I do remember history. I know that the British troops were marching on Concord to sieze weapons burried in Colonel Barrett's field. The citizen militia stood their ground and drove the British troops back. Just as the residents of Westford need to drive the current BoS out. Westford has to set an example for any other small town tyrants like Jefferies who think they can disarm the citizens. We don't have to spend one thin dime in legal fees to fight this. All we need to do is defy it with any and all means available. The second amendment defines our God given right to do so. If Jefferies thinks we do not have a right to bear arms, let him be the first to come and get them.
Ghost February 14, 2013 at 11:24 PM
Moses has awakened a sleeping giant! I guess Westford has money to burn on legal fees
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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