WESTON, Conn. – A few hundred firearms advocates and gun-control supporters showed up at Weston Town Hall Thursday night to debate the town’s proposed gun ordinance with officials.
First Selectman Gayle Weinstein opened the meeting with a reference to the Newtown school shooting, asking, “How many more people have to be massacred before we act?”
Local residents as well as out-of-towners, including members of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, which supports the rights of gun owners, expressed strong opinions on the proposal as the selectmen attempt to fashion new regulations to update a 1990 town ordinance.
Selectman David Muller said the fact that 32 gun murders take place in the United States every day is reason for new regulations, but he said the town won’t violate citizen’s Second Amendment rights. “We want to sustain the protection of gun ownership with the prevention of gun violence,” Muller said.
Selectman Dennis Tracey said, “We don’t have a gun problem in Weston, but we won’t wait until there is a problem.”
Resident comments veered from support of proposed gun regulations to their condemnation. Dawn Egan, who is affiliated with the March For Change rally in Hartford set for Feb. 14, said 300 Weston residents are prepared to support gun control. But Bob Ferguson said the selectmen “are overreaching on the issue, which should be left to the state and federal governments.”
Other residents said the selectmen should focus on school safety instead of gun control by hiring additional police officers and installing bulletproof glass.
After many residents and a few nonresidents spoke, the selectmen discussed the specifics of a proposed ordinance. They decided to avoid seeking gun registration requirements, “which are onerous and could violate privacy rights,” Weinstein said.
They also decided not to attempt to restrict magazine capacity until the state addresses the issue. But they were determined to enact storage requirements, “which will make Weston residents safer and may have been able to prevent the Newtown shootings,” Weinstein said.
The selectmen will prepare a new draft of the ordinance. They will present it at their next meeting and set a time for a public hearing.