Falmouth To Have Surplus Police Guns Destroyed Instead of Trading Them In For Discount On New Guns

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2024/04/04/falmouth-to-have-surplus-police-guns-destroyed-instead-of-trading-them-in-for-discount-on-new-guns/

Falmouth town manager Michael Renshaw has announced that the police department’s surplus of 26 shotguns will be destroyed rather than used as trade-ins for future guns.

Renshaw made the announcement during a selectmen’s meeting Monday, April 1.

The shotguns have a trade-in value of $4,125, but instead of trading them in the town’s police department will give them to the Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory in Maynard, which will destroy them at no charge to the town, Renshaw told selectmen.

Renshaw said he is following a revised policy of the town for disposing surplus police firearms. He had the fair market value of the shotguns posted on the town manager’s landing page of the town’s web site:

“Well done, Mr. Renshaw,” board chairman Nancy Taylor said.

Selectmen previously discussed the idea during a board meeting February 12.

The Falmouth Gun Safety Coalition led the push to destroy the shotguns instead of trading them in. Nan Logan, president of the Falmouth Gun Safety Coalition, addressed the board February 12. Organization members say they worry the guns could end up in the wrong hands and be used to commit violence.

Logan acknowledged that destroying old police guns won’t stop violence in Falmouth.

“However, such disposition will guarantee that the weapons in question will never be used in a school shooting, a suicide, domestic abuse, robbery, or a hate crime,” Logan said.

Logan sponsored a petition warrant article at Falmouth’s Representative Town Meeting in November 2022 seeking to create a town bylaw requiring that police “assault weapons” deemed surplus “be destroyed in a safe and appropriate manner.” Voters at Representative Town Meeting approved the measure on a voice vote. But the bylaw didn’t take effect because the state Attorney General office in May 2023 disapproved it, saying that the proposed bylaw conflicted with state law. The proposed local bylaw didn’t make a distinction based on the value of the guns, but a state statute “requires that surplus property over $10,000 must be disposed of by competitive sealed bids, public auction, or established markets,” the state Attorney General’s office said in a letter to the town.

Logan was joined at the February 2024 selectmen’s meeting by several other supporters, including Reverend Deborah Warner, who served as rector of Church of the Messiah, an Episcopal church in Woods Hole, from 2005 to 2022. A woman representing Reverend Nell Fields, minister of Waquoit Congregational Church in Falmouth, read a letter from Fields also supporting the proposal.

Two Falmouth residents spoke against it.

“The people here are very well-meaning, and I understand that. But the reality is — and you can check it out — one of the most law-abiding demographics in the United States are licensed gun owners,” said Marc Finneran.

He cited a saying to the effect that “Nothing is better to stop a bad guy with a gun than a good guy with a gun.”

“I don’t mean to criticize anybody, but this really is a solution in search of problem,” Finneran said.

The Cape Cod Times in March reported on the proposal to destroy police guns during the February selectmen’s meeting and also reported the announcement this week by the town manager that the guns will be destroyed.

In 2015, the city of Honolulu in Hawaii opted to destroy more than $500,000 worth of police guns instead of trading them in, according to Hawaii News Now.

City officials there said they did not want the guns “to be sold to the general public and end up on the streets of Honolulu.”

Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, called the decision “the height of anti-gun stupidity.”


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