Al Prescott, Westford Pro 2A
Westford Pro 2A is a grassroots organization that represents the lawful firearms owners in Westford. For as long as virtually every current Westford resident has been alive, there have been 2 sportsmen’s clubs, and the potential for an unlimited number of retail firearms businesses. Some say despite this (I say “because” of this) we are one of the safest communities in Massachusetts.
One of the other reasons we are so safe? Almost one out of every 3 households has a firearms owner in it. If a criminal were standing on ANY street corner in Westford, where he or she could see 3-6 houses, 1-2 of them would house a lawful firearm owner. What would that criminal likely do? Go to Lowell, as the crime statistics show.
Despite this, one group of residents remains completely obstinate and intolerant of firearms, so much so that they are unable to compromise or even be honest about facts.
Me and several other WP2A members met with this group recently. WP2A readily negotiated in good faith. Keeping in mind we have lived with ZERO limits or restrictions to date, WP2A said we were willing to compromise on the following:
- 500 foot setbacks between firearms businesses
- 500 foot setbacks to churches
- 500 foot setbacks to schools
- 500 foot setbacks to daycare’s
- And a cap of no more that 5 businesses (remembering we have NEVER limited them before).
We were firm in wanting to get rid of the proposed 500 foot setback from “places were children under 18 generally congregate.” This is too vague for us. And later, we negotiated down to 4 special permits. The other side NEVER moved. That is not a negotiation. Unlike your previous letter writer’s assertion, I never heard them say “that all the other types of businesses would be eliminated from our buffer list if they agreed to 2 shops.” Never heard it.
It is impossible to seriously negotiate with someone who continually twists facts. More cases in point:
Guns are NOT the Number One Cause of Childhood Death!
From ages 0 to 15 firearms aren’t even in the top 5. Its not until you include 18 and 19 year old ADULTS where gang related homicides drive numbers that firearms creep up to the top. But they are still only the 6th leading cause of unintentional death behind motor vehicles, poisonings, drownings and more. Do not take my word for it, look it up yourself here: https://wisqars.cdc.gov/data/
Don’t rely on ABC, NBC, or CNN to tell you the truth, they won’t.
The Firearms Businesses were NOT Engaged in Illegal Activity in Littleton!
For the 80 FFLs that were there and for the decades they were there, how many ever ran afoul of the law? ONE. And it was on a straw purchase where someone who was legally able to buy a gun, deceived the shop owner and gave it to a prohibited person. 1 in 80 out of years of business makes them look like saints compared to Westford liquor stores and tobacco sellers.
And the other side insists on including two not-for-profit social organizations into their counts for firearms businesses. Leave them out of this.
The reality is that rather than a bylaw, what Westford really needs is a good old fashion sit down round-table and Q&A. WP2A has sponsored these before. This is what our town Boards should have organized to help bring people together. They chose to drive us apart. I openly offer to meet, discuss, debate, and talk in a civilized manner with any chosen member of the other side, live on WestfordCAT any time.
I’ll also throw out an olive branch. Westford Pro 2A will seriously consider 3 special permits for “commercial firearms sales”, if the other side agrees to remove the setbacks from Churches, and Places where “children under 18 congregate”, and exempt all other types of firearms businesses, like gunsmiths, for profit ranges, instruction, and ammo sales.
So, are you ready to REALLY negotiate? I’m looking forward to the call.
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