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November 14, 2013

Selectman's gun comments trigger nasty debate

SWAMPSCOTT — Selectman Barry Greenfield has come under fire for asking during last week’s selectmen meeting if the town has the right to enforce a state law that requires guns to be locked up when stored in a home.

Greenfield’s call to look into the issue has erupted all over the Internet and made the first-term selectman a target for gun-rights supporters from across the country. Since last week’s meeting, Greenfield has been inundated with emails and phone calls, many of them making personal attacks, and petitions calling for his resignation.

Greenfield said yesterday the issue has been blown out of proportion online and his statements at the meeting have been taken out of context.

“If I could do it again, I wouldn’t have brought up the question,” he said in a phone interview. He would not comment further.

While the board agreed to look into Greenfield’s request, Town Administrator Thomas Younger said in a statement yesterday that the town will no longer pursue the issue.

“Upon review by town counsel, the town would need to obtain either the homeowner’s consent or have a valid search warrant based on probable cause,” Younger wrote. “The town will not take any further action regarding this law and further reconfirms their support for the laws of our Commonwealth and the rights under the United States Constitution.”

At the Nov. 6 selectmen’s meeting, Greenfield brought to the board’s attention a state law that requires gun owners to have their weapons locked in a safe or other storage space equipped with a tamper-resistant lock or other safety devices.

“There is currently no way to enforce that law,” he said during the meeting, which was recorded on Swampscott Public Access TV. “If you look at the school shootings over the last few years, whether it’s Newtown or out in Nevada, the guns were taken by parents, and the shootings were done by kids in the town who attended those schools.”

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