Monthly Archives: March 2016

Article 34 Final Motions

As an addendum to the previous Town Meeting post, please find below the final motion of Article 34 as well as a proposed amendment thereof:

FINAL MOTIONS
The following are the final motions to be offered under Article 34:
Robert Rotberg’s MAIN MOTION:
RESOLVED that Town Meeting requests the Board of Selectmen to inform the Great and General Court of its concern that existing Massachusetts laws regarding assault weapons (M.G.L. c. 140, § 131M) may not sufficiently protect citizens of the Commonwealth, and Lexington. Town Meeting asks the Selectmen to initiate a town-wide discussion about assault weapons and gun violence that would lead to fully considered proposals (to be conveyed to the Great and General Court) for a strengthening of those laws.
Gang Chen’s MOTION TO AMEND THE MAIN MOTION:
I move to replace the words “sufficiently protect citizens of the Commonwealth, and Lexington” with the words “be sufficiently enforced” and further replace the word “violence” with the word “safety”.

Important Information on April 6 Town Meeting

To all those who are planning to use their 1st Amendment Rights to protect their Second, please be aware of the following:

At the Town Meeting on April 6.

1) The Chief of Police has asked for no concealed or open carry, regardless of license , and will not admit anyone who is.  They will use metal detectors and bag checks.  Please avoid incident and respect the Chiefs’ authority, even if you disagree with it.
2) People should dress as you would for a traditional business meeting.  Range attire and/or clothing with political/firearm themed messages will not help articulate the arguments against the Resolution.
3) If you speak, don’t use accusatory or intimidating language.  Stick to the facts.  You will have a better chance of speaking if you “pre-register” with Moderator Brown before the meeting, who will call on you (see below).
4) Clapping and cheering and otherwise being overly vocal will work against the effort, whereas calm, quiet presence, acknowledged by those who speak, will be much more effective than loud obnoxiousness.

Our main focus is defeating Article 34 at the Town Meeting on April 6.  However, mark your calendars and stay tuned for details of a “Protest Town Meeting Passage of Article 34” rally planned for Apr. 9 should that be necessary.

Enclosed:  Note on logistics/process from Moderator Brown (campbrown@gmail.com)

Helpful information as you prepare for April 6:

* Public safety:  The Lexington Police Chief has requested that no weapons be brought to the meeting.  He and his staff will provide screening (metal detectors and bag check) at the entrance, so please leave all bags in in your vehicle to help speed up this process.

* We meet in Battin Hall in Cary Memorial Building (next to the police station on Mass Ave).  The seating on the main floor is reserved for our 189 elected Town Meeting members.  There is a seating in the balcony for residents and other visitors who are not elected Town Meeting members.  There will be public microphones there for your use.

* Only Town Meeting members may offer a motion, ask a question, or vote on a motion.  However, you may, when recognized by the Moderator, present your remarks for or against the motion under discussion.

* In addition to the public microphones in the balcony, you will notice we have three microphones on the main floor for the exclusive use of Town Meeting members.  These are the YES, NO, and QUESTION microphones.  During debate, I will alternate among all four (including public) so we can hear a variety of viewpoints and so members can have a chance to ask questions.  If there is a long line at the question microphone, I may visit that microphone twice in my rotation.

* Once I recognize you, please speak directly into the microphone and first give your name and address.  You may then proceed with your remarks.

* You will have the same 3-minute time limit for your remarks as Town Meeting members at the YES or NO microphone.  Please practice accordingly!

* We do not allow any demonstrations of approval or disapproval – cheers, clapping, etc.  It takes too much time and I want as many people as possible to get a chance to speak.

* Town Meeting members may, after a period of time, decide that they’ve heard enough debate and “call the question.”  If a member makes this motion, we will immediately take a vote to see if the majority of members agree that they’ve heard enough debate and are ready to vote on the main motion.  Sometimes when this occurs, there are still Town Meeting members or other visitors standing in line to speak.  Please don’t take it personally if this happens.  This sometimes occurs when debate has gone on for some time and speakers start to repeat the same arguments that have already been expressed.

UPDATE:  Meeting time is 7:30 PM, although you might wish to arrive a bit early due to screening, etc.

 

Perspective

Deaths in Lexington due to opioids, 2012 – 2014:  Three.

Deaths in Lexington from guns, 2012 – 2014:  Zero.

Guess which one we’re spending all of our time and energy on?

Good News from the High Court!

The Supreme Court delivered a unanimous smackdown to Massachusetts’ stun gun ban on Second Amendment grounds.  In particular, you know that tired, weak argument that the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to modern weapons that the founders could not have foreseen?   Yeah, well, not even Ruth Bager Ginsberg is buying that.

The Court has held that “the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding,” District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U. S. 570, 582 (2008), and that this “Second Amendment right is fully applicable to the States,”McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U. S. 742, 750 (2010).

Reminder: Article 34 Meeting is April 6

We have had some questions about the beginning of Town Meeting tonight. Just to clarify, Article 34 will not come up for discussion until April 6.  Please plan accordingly.

Setting the Record Straight Re: the NRA

When I listen to the pro-34 people in town, including handful on the LexTMMA forums, it is clear that a number of folks are indulging in the fantasy that they are engaged in a pitched battle against the Goliath of the gun lobby, the NRA, and all of the financial and political might it represents.

The NRA is always a convenient bogeyman for anti-gun types, but as someone who has been integrally involved with the opposition to Article 34 from Day One, I would like to set the record straight about a few things.

For starters, the sum total of financial assistance that our organization has received from the NRA is exactly zero.  The sum total of material support we have received from the NRA is zero.  None of the founding members of LexForLiberty have been in contact with the organization regarding this issue, or vice versa.

The closest the NRA has come to involvement in this local matter was in publishing this story in a magazine that is circulated only among a subset of active NRA members.  The facts in the piece were compiled from other media accounts rather than from primary sources, and it was good for a chuckle, but that’s about it.

So while I’m sure it’s gratifying to envision oneself as struggling heroically against the titans of the gun lobby, that’s not who you’re really fighting. In reality, you are fighting your friends and neighbors, the law-abiding gun owners of Lexington, who are already among the most vetted and scrutinized in the nation.

And it’s not just gun owners.  There are members of our organization who have never owned a gun in their lives (I spoke with one yesterday, while delivering a yard sign.)  They are merely concerned citizens who are opposed to the further infringement of our constitutional liberties.

You’re fighting the guy whose kid plays soccer with yours.  You’re fighting with your neighbor from down the street, although you probably don’t even know it. Our group includes doctors, lawyers, dentists, attorneys, businessmen, bankers, mechanics, and members of our armed services, both past and present. We are a highly diverse lot, in terms of background, ethnicity and political ideology.  Some of us have almost nothing in common at all, except for a love of this town and a desire to defend our Second Amendment rights — and, of course, the fact that we are not rich and powerful lobbyists.

Article 34, Latest Revision

We’ve had several requests to post the latest version of the proposed by-law change for Article 34.  Here is the most recent version, as posted online by Rotberg himself on March 10.

The Fight Goes On!

This past week saw the Board of Selectmen, the Lexington Police Department, and Lexington Town Counsel all unanimously oppose Article 34.  To be sure, it was a good week by any measure.

Nonetheless it is crucially important that we keep up the fight, and that we keep our foot on the gas until we can finish this once and for all on April 6.

Despite the overwhelmingly negative reception Rotberg received on Tuesday night, he has signaled, in another lengthy screed on the LexTMM forums, that he intends to soldier on with this ill-advised measure.  He is soliciting buy-in from other Town Meeting Members, and, in some cases, receiving it.

From the small sampling of opinions on the LexTMM forums, it is difficult to determine exactly how much support Rotberg has.  You can be sure, however, that so long as he believes he has a chance, he will persevere.

The fight is far from over.  It is more important than ever to let your Town Meeting members know where you stand, and to be present for the Town Meeting on April 6.

(Note:  Per Police Chief Corr, no firearms will be allowed on April 6, and attendees will be screened accordingly.  Please come unarmed.)

Watch the Board of Selectmen Meeting

In case you weren’t able to attend last night’s Board of Selectmen meeting (or even if you were there!) you can now watch the entire proceeding here, courtesy of LexMedia.

Citizens’ comments begin at the 30:00 minute mark.  The opinions of Police Chief Corr and the Selectmen themselves begin at 86:00.  Enjoy.

Town Counsel’s Report

The Town Counsel’s report on Article 34 is now available, and it’s well worth a read.  If you don’t want to take the time to read the whole thing, I’ll just quote from the conclusion:

Although on its face an assault weapons ban would likely be permissible under the Second Amendment, the proposed bylaw would likely be disapproved by the Attorney General or by a court as preempted by the comprehensive Firearms Act.

Beyond the strictly legal issues raised by the proposed bylaw, this suggested ban has already generated a large amount of attention from gun advocates. If passed and approved by the Attorney General, the bylaw is almost certain to generate significant litigation. Given the similarities between the proposed bylaw and the Massachusetts AWB, the potential state preemption issues raised above, and the potential for the state-level AWB to actually be weakened with implementation of the proposed bylaw’s penalty provision, the benefits of the bylaw would likely not justify its cost.