Town of Lexington Voting To Ban Commonly Owned Firearms & Magazines
Update: April 7, 2016
Article 34 receives a "yes" vote from Lexington Town Meeting Members. Read GOAL's blog about the evening here. Look for more information soon.
Update: March 17, 2016
Article 34's proponent is featured in today's Boston Globe stating that he will present Article 34 as a non-binding resolution at town meeting.
For the record. The basic premise of Rotberg's Article 34 is an insult to all law abiding gun owners. His logic is also flawed in that he insinuates that a gun is inherently "dangerous". A firearm is an inanimate object incapable of doing anything on its own. The only thing that has the potential for being dangerous is the person and there is nothing in any of the versions of Article 34 which addresses this. It's just more bigotry, harassment and blame of lawful gun owners.
For this reason GOAL will ask that our members and the residents of Lexington continue to oppose Article 34..
Update: March 9, 2016
Citizens Take Stand - Protect Freedom - For Now.
Last night was a great first step towards defeating Article 34, Lexington's proposed firearms ban.
Lexington citizens were joined by neighbors from surrounding towns, one after another they spoke out against Article 34 and any attempt at infringing our natural rights. When the last person had given testimony, Lexington's Chief Corr joined with the citizens and spoke out against the article.
Next, the board of selectmen asked Mr. Rotberg what he would like to do, if he would like to continue to submit the article as a bylaw amendment, or as a resolution. Interestingly enough, Mr. Rotberg chose to put the onus on the selectmen, so they spoke out.
One after another they refused to support Article 34 as a bylaw amendment. They followed this by refusing to support Article 34 as a resolution.
Article 34 was handed a resounding defeat last night.
But it's not over.
On April 6th, Lexington residents and town meeting members will renew the debate on Article 34 at the annual town meeting, where they will vote once and for all. The work is not over yet, and we must remain vigilant, until the final vote is cast.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to support our Bill Of Rights last night in Lexington. Captain Parker would be proud. As are we.
If you are a Lexington resident, or a concerned citizen, please #StandWithLexington at town meeting, April 6, 2016. See below for more details and follow the Lexington citizens group LexForLiberty.org for more information.
Update: March 5, 2016
GOAL has learned that the Lexington Board of Selectmen will be meeting Tuesday 3/8/16 at 6:30 PM in Estabrook Hall in the Carey Building to discuss Article 34. This meeting is open to the public and there will be time for commentary (scheduled for 8:00PM).
GOAL urges all Lexington residents to attend this meeting and speak out against Article 34.
Please note, comments should be directed at the article itself, the Lexington BoS has been very helpful during this process. Click here for more information. http://www.lexingtonma.gov/3—4/files/u...08-bos-rev.pdf
Also note, the Article language has been revised, it is now a "non-binding resolution". While this is a positive step we must continue to be vigilant in stopping this nonsense in its entirety.
One final note, GOAL has learned that Article 34 is scheduled for vote on the evening of April 6, 2016. Mark your calendars and look for more information in the days to come.
The town of Lexington will vote on Article 34 at town meeting beginning on April 6, 2016. (the town meeting starts March 21, GOAL has confirmed that Lexington will take up Article 34 on April 6th.)
The article, if passed, will ban many commonly owned firearms and magazines in the town of Lexington. Currently the town of Lexington has over 800 residents who are duly licensed to own firearms. Should this article become law it would affect an untold amount of firearms, which are currently legally owned.
To stop this article from becoming law, it must be voted down by Lexington's town meeting members at the Annual Town Meeting.
- If you are a resident of Lexington, please contact your town meeting representative and urge them to vote NO on Article 34.
- Plan on attending town meeting beginning on March 21, 2016 and speaking out against this attack on our Second Amendment. (Please note, Lexington's town meeting typically runs for 3 nights or more, we hope to confirm the actual date by mid-March)
Learn About The Issue - Why Article 34 Is A Bad Idea!
- The proposal discriminates against people because they choose to own firearms.
- The proposal targets “friends and neighbors” and would force them to sell legally owned property or move.
- MA already has what many consider to be the “nations toughest gun laws” there is no need to go beyond existing law
- The proposal is seeking to solve a problem that does not exist.
- The proposal is an insult to gun owners who have passed numerous background checks, taken mandatory safety training, been fingerprinted, waited for license approval and had to be approved by the Chief, before they could even make a purchase, they then have to go through more background checks to make a purchase.
Across the nation most gun control advocates refer to Massachusetts’ gun law as being among the “nations toughest”.
It is not an easy process for a Lexington resident to obtain the MA firearms license necessary to legally purchase/possess a firearm.
To do so a person:
- Must be 21 years old.
- Must be a U.S. Citizen or resident alien.
- Cannot have been committed for mental health care.
- Cannot be prohibited by state and/or federal law due to criminal conviction.
- Cannot have been involuntarily committed for treatment of drug or alcohol addiction.
- May not have an active restraining order against them.
- Must take a Massachusetts State Police-approved safety course with an average cost of $100.00
- Must apply for the license at the Lexington Police station, which includes writing a letter explaining why the applicant wishes to get the license and written character references from two people.
- Must pay a $100.00 license application fee (non-refundable)
- Must pass a background check including fingerprinting, by the FBI.
- Finally, the applicant after passing all of these criteria must be deemed a “suitable person” by Lexington Police Chief Corr. Chief Corr can deny an applicant for any reason via his discretionary power. The applicant can be denied for any reason, or no reason at all; the chief has full discretionary power over the applicant.
- It should be noted that the licensing process takes from 40 days at minimum to many months before an applicant is approved.
- It should also be noted that a duly licensed MA resident cannot legally purchase a firearm of any type without passing an additional federal & state background check for each purchase.
What does the article seek to ban?
The article seeks to ban any semi automatic rifle or handgun, which has a removable magazine capable of holding 10 or more rounds. It also seeks to ban any magazine, which holds 10 or more rounds.
- The items the ban targets are very common firearms and magazines.
- The article seeks to ban “assault weapons”. There is no such thing as an “assault weapon” it is a term made up by gun prohibitionists as a means of classification. This enabled the prohibitionists to enact a ban on firearms of their choosing.
- The firearms, which are targeted by the ban, are the same commonly owned firearms that were targeted by the federal “assault weapon” ban. The ban was enacted nationally from 1994 to 2004. Many experts have noted that the federal ban had no effect on crime and crime has continued to decline nationally since the ban expired.
- The article would also target many additional firearms and magazines. Currently there are hundreds of millions of semi automatic firearms and magazines that are legally and commonly owned in the United States. We estimate that there are thousands of these types of firearms legally owned in Lexington today by people who have met the above licensing criteria.
About gun ownership and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Gun ownership is a right; it’s not a privilege. The Second Amendment recognizes the crucial right of self-defense. This right is equal to our right to a fair trial, our right to attend the church of our choice, our right to speak out and assemble in public and any other right recognized by our Constitution. Like the others, this right should never be restricted without due process.
The language and what it means.
“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Who did this refer to? Many people today see “militia” and think National Guard or some fringe group of people dressed up in camouflage, running around in the woods. This is not correct. The National Guard did not exist in Colonial America. The “militia” the Second Amendment refers to are regular, normal Americans. The farmers and town people of Lexington who met the British troops on the morning of April 19th, 1776 are a great example of the “militia”, they are everyday Americans like you and I.
Also, many people misunderstand what “well regulated” means; In Colonial America this meant, “well trained and equipped”.
Our framers recognized that the right of self-defense via the best means available was and continues to be critically important to the protection of our safety and security, “the security of a free State”. Most important of all, it insures that the rest of our rights, as outlined in the Constitution are protected.
Modern America and 3 distinct issues.
- Violent crime and recidivism. *For over 30 years Americans have seen a significant reduction of the violent crime rate, including crimes committed by criminals with a firearm. America’s violent crime rate is at a low not seen since 1959. Massachusetts does have a problem with recidivism. This means that violent felons are released from prison without being fully rehabilitated, if at all, and frequently wind up committing another crime, which lands them back in court and ultimately in prison. A recent survey shows that MA has a >40% recidivism rate for violent felons. There is nothing in Mr. Rotberg’s proposal that addresses this.
- Mental health issues. Mental health advocates have stated time and again that people with mental health issues are far more likely to be a victim of violent crime than to enact a crime. MA needs more resources and funding to give better treatment to those in need of mental health treatment. As we noted above, people who have a history of mental health issues are not allowed to acquire a license to own a firearm. Once again, Mr. Rotberg’s proposal does nothing to address the issue of inadequate mental health resources.
- Legally owned firearms
the Second Amendment.There is an estimated 300 million legally owned firearms in the United States and easily thousands in the town of Lexington.33÷4433÷44 These firearms are legally owned property; we have outlined how difficult it is for people to lawfully acquire firearms in Lexington. These are the last people that the citizens of Lexington need to worry about. Regardless, Mr. Rotberg’s proposal is targeted at these fine citizens and their legally owned property. Restricting this right and targeting these individuals because of an unfound prejudice or fear is wrong.
Why the ban is a bad idea - All rights are equal!
Some 240 years ago our forefathers set forth to ensure that America would become a country founded upon the basis of individual liberty. They were very careful to outline what these liberties were and how they should always be protected. These liberties are outlined in our Bill of Rights and are often referred to as our “essential liberties”. They are all equal and they all deserve the same equal protection. We currently have more than enough restrictions placed upon those who wish to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
Placing additional burdens on Lexington’s licensed gun owners and worse, banning their legally owned property, will do nothing to address the many real issues facing the Commonwealth today. It is a solution to a problem that does not exist.
Please do not support Mr. Rotberg’s article, restricting this right is wrong.
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