Proposal To Allow Law Enforcement to Search Homes To Ensure Proper Gun Storage Turned Down By Council

| by Dominic Kelly

Recently, one lawmaker in a Massachusetts town suggested that the law should allow police to search people’s homes and see whether or not they are properly storing their guns.

Opposing Views reported last week that Swampscott Selectman Barry Greenfield made the suggestion in an effort to prevent another shooting like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut last year. Now, according to new reports, a council vote has vetoed the idea.

“At the November 6th, 2013 Board of Selectmen’s meeting, it was requested by Selectman Vice-Chairman Barry Greenfield, through the Board of Selectmen, to Town Counsel that he review the enforceability of Massachusetts General Law Chapter 140, Section 131L regarding the storage of firearms in homes within a locked container, by mechanical lock or safety device based on the concern of children accessing them,” said Swampscott Town Administrator Tom Younger in a statement. “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.  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.”

The idea from Greenfield stemmed from the fact that many school shootings have occurred because the shooter has gotten his or her hands on a parent’s gun that wasn’t stored properly, as was the case in the Sandy Hook massacre. Greenfield said that his idea would allow law enforcement to make sure that gun owners were being responsible with their weapons at home.

“I asked our board of selectmen whether we could look into potential methods of enforcement,” said Greenfield. “Can the police conduct an investigation with due notice, similar to a building permit inspection or a fire inspection when you want to sell your home?”

His idea didn’t hold up in front of the town council, though, and it has now officially being nixed.