It is with sadness that we saw the recent legislation proposed by selectman Grant on firearms which attempts to bring nasty national politics into the otherwise peaceable and largely crime-free town of Longmeadow.
Warrants 29, 30, 31 could only succeed in dragging the citizens of Longmeadow into a long, costly and deeply divisive legal fight with the well-resourced gun lobby that will suck taxpayers’ money away from our schools and harm our community. All Grant’s proposed legislation succeeds in doing is criminalizing tax-paying citizens and their families in their own town, while drawing deep divisions in a happy and prosperous community.
There has never been a problem with Longmeadow’s gun owners, who already abide by the strictest rules in America under Massachusetts state law, as well as the police chief who has absolute discretion in issuing permits and who maintains a close relationship with all permit holders.
In fact, the warrants are so poorly drafted they even outlaw our police officers - who do an excellent job keeping us safe from some of the urban crime problems nearby - from carrying service weapons to protect us, let alone introducing confusion. For example, if you return from shooting clays or skeet for example, as between 20 and 40 million Americans do on weekends including President Obama, are you a criminal if you pick up an elderly relative at the Greenwood Center with a shotgun locked in the trunk of your car? Mr Grant will try to make sure that you are.
If Mr Grant was concerned about our residents having firearms why didn’t he simply reach out to his fellow 1000 or so families in town who have permits and start a dialogue on how we can all improve the safety in our schools, protect our children and ensure the town continues to run as it has for decades without problems? In a recent editorial Mr Grant bemoans the paralysis on this issue on a national level while he engages in the same angry politics, trafficking in fear, that causes that deadlock. He has wasted a valuable opportunity to achieve what no national political leader has done: forge a partnership with gun-owning and non-gun owning citizens alike for the better of the community. Many permit holders have small children in the schools here, and many moved here for the crime-free nature of Longmeadow. We feel just as strongly as Mr Grant that the safety of our children is paramount, true of every parent whether you are a gun owner or not.
But, instead of using that opportunity, he has mounted an aggressive political campaign acting independently of his elected select board role, forgoing the endorsement and advice of the police, while alienating all gun owners who comprise both Democrats and Republicans, business owners, doctors, lawyers, veterans and other members of our community and their families, along with non gun owners appalled at the infringement of their civil liberties.
In a ‘challenge’ to Longmeadow Citizens for Liberty he suggested a debate likened to the Lincoln vs Douglas debates on slavery. But Mr Grant is no crusading leader fighting for social justice instead he’s hijacking the town’s strained budget for his own personal agenda. Long after Mr Grant has left office his toxic legacy to Longmeadow will be to draw our town into a long, rancorous and ever-expensive litigation with groups like the NRA, which taxpayers will underwrite and which the town will lose because of constitutional guarantee and recent Supreme Court cases like District of Colombia vs. Heller.
Don’t fall for it. Reject his self-serving agenda on May 10th so that we can raise our children and work for our families in peace.
Walter Lamon/ Longmeadow Town Resident