In Massachusetts, things aren’t looking very rosy for civil liberties. Already suffering under a “high capacity” magazine ban and other draconian firearms restrictions, some lawmakers don’t feel they haven’t gone far enough toward preventing another Newtown. While there’s already a “safe storage” law on the books, Swampscott Selectman Barry Greenfield believes police should go door-to-door to inspect the gun collections of his town’s residents—to see if they’re in compliance with the law. Apparently Barry isn’t familiar with the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Or maybe he feels like when it comes to guns, the word “unreasonable” has a much less strict interpretation, as evinced by his proposed implementation plans . . .
From the Swampscott Patch:
The selectman said state law requires Massachusetts gun owners to keep their firearms locked away or rendered inoperable.
The problem, he said, is that police do not have the authority, granted by a local ordinance, to enforce the law and inspect the safeguarding of guns at the homes of the 600 registered gun owners in town.
The selectman said he has spoken with Swampscott Police Chief Ron Madigan about this.
“We need the ability to enforce the state law,” the selectman said.
The latest interpretation of the Fourth Amendment is that any search of a dwelling requires a warrant to be issued with supporting documentation as to whether there is a high probability that a crime is being committed. It keeps law enforcement officers from barging into your home whenever they feel like it and is an effective check on the propensity for police to over-step their bounds.
Barry apparently wants to lower the bar required for a warrant to be issued to something along the line of “because they own a gun, and gun owners are inherently dangerous individuals who don’t follow the law and need to be monitored.”
After being called out on his statements, Barry threw the gear shift into reverse and gunned it.
[T]he entire discussion about whether or not MGL 140 s131L (which states weapons must be stored in a safe or locked capacity only accessible by the owner) could be enforced was asked in reference to school shootings. The research I have read states that 65% or more of school shootings are caused by kids having access to their parents guns. It would be great to avoid another situation like that.
I know most gun owners are incredibly responsible with their weapons. I also am not trying to take away anyone’s rights or guns.
I’m simply asking the question of whether an existing law can be enforced. I’m not trying to add any laws. I asked our board of selectmen whether we could look into potential methods of enforcement. Can the police conduct a investigation with due notice, similar to a building permit inspection or a fire inspection when you want to sell your home? If not, fine.
Or, in other words, “I was just asking a question! It’s not like I actually wanted to do it, even though it’s a great idea that I came up with!”
I’m in favor of enforcement of existing laws, so long as they comply with the Constitution and the enforcement is similarly carried out within the confines of that handy-dandy document. But in this case I get the feeling that the only way to enforce this law would be random spot checks, which is definitely leading down the path to a Stasi-style police state.
Freedom is scary. There is no guarantee of safety with a free society. Then again, the guarantee of safety with an Orwellian police state has historically been shown to be a false promise that usually ends in a trip on a cattle car or to Siberia for those who disagree with the ruling class. People like Barry Greenfield seem to forget that historical lesson and wants us to condemn us to repeat it. No thanks.