James Winder, Westford Resident
Over the last few days, I’ve read all manner of misinformation about Article 9, including that the article will impact the operations of Westford’s shooting ranges (it will not), or infringe residents’ right to bear arms (it will not). Today, the town has zero gun shops at which the well-regulated militia can arm itself. The article makes accommodations for two. I encourage readers on either side of the issue to read the actual implications for themselves.
A previous contributor also made a claim that measures like these impact law-abiding gun owners, while actual gun violence is driven by unincarcerated offenders, out-of-control immigration, or a lack of care for people going through mental health crises. This may or may not be true, but it assumes that the two groups can be neatly and reliably distinguished. They cannot. The mass shootings that lurk in the darkest corners of every parent’s mind are often perpetrated by people who are not in violation of gun laws. Salvador Ramos (Uvalde), and Payton Gendron (Buffalo) were enjoying their Second Amendment rights under the laws of their respective states. Right up until they started murdering people.
The availability of weapons is a relevant and important variable in the conversation about reducing gun violence.
Rationally, I know that these horror shows are not how most gun deaths happen. Statistics show that young men involved in urban violence with handguns account for most gun-related deaths in the US. But as a parent, a resident of Westford, and a human being, I want to be able to say that I did everything I could to prevent a tragedy from being visited upon this town before one occurs.
So yes, I will be the first to acknowledge that Article 9 has its flaws in both what it aims to do, and how it aims to do it. But it is, at least, an attempt. It’s an attempt to show that Westford did something instead of throwing up our hands and pretending that the proliferation of firearms and random gun violence is just something you have to live with in America.
Thoughts and prayers are futile gestures of people who did nothing. I don’t want to be looking back wishing I’d taken a stand when I had the chance.
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