Though Weston initially , Selectman Dennis Tracey proposed the town instead defer the crafting of such laws until seeing what happens on the state and federal levels.
In a letter addressed to his fellow selectmen dated Jan. 13, Tracey said he thought it was wisest for the town to consider revising or adding to its 1990 weapons ordinance after Hartford and Washington acts on the issue. At that time, if the selectmen feel as though Weston's ordinance needs to be strengthened even more, Tracey wrote, they can resume discussions.
The selectmen began their discussion about potentially introducing stricter gun laws in town at their last meeting of 2012.
Some members of the community supported the potential new restrictions, while others expressed their disapproval. Scott Wilson, President of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, said tougher restrictions "will more than likely be met by lawsuits."
The selectmen also discussed potential new ordinances at their last meeting on Jan. 3, agreeing that before anything would potentially be done, the community needed to have its say.
"It was agreed at that meeting that further discussions with members of the community would be conducted to obtain the input of members of the community," Tracey wrote. "Since that time, a significant number of discussions have occurred with many members of the community and a review made of constitutional and legal standards."
Following the conversations and legal review, Tracey offered five conclusions and recommendations to the board:
- The town of Weston is committed to the safety and security of its residents. The Board of Selectmen is charged by state law with the responsibility to “make and enforce police, sanitary or other similar regulations and protect or promote the peace, safety, good government and welfare of the municipality and its inhabitants.”
- The town of Weston is committed to upholding the constitutional rights of its residents under the Second Amendment, and to respecting the rights and privileges of lawful gun owners.
- Consistent with the above principles, the town has had a firearms ordinance since 1990 that provides guidelines for the use of firearms in the town. In the wake of the Newtown incident, the Board of Selectmen began a discussion of whether the existing 1990 ordinance required any revisions in the interests of the safety and security of the Town’s residents.
- There have been a number of inaccurate media reports on the current discussions. It is not, and never has been, the purpose of the ordinance to ban all firearms within the town of Weston.
- Since the outset of the current discussions, the state and federal government have announced initiatives to address gun safety, mental health care and related matters. On Jan. 8, Governor Malloy appointed the members of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, which will address issues of school safety, mental health and gun violence prevention. There have also been discussions at the federal level relating to these issues. In light of the broader discussions taking place, I recommend that the board defer consideration of any revisions to the existing ordinance in order to allow the state and federal governments to consider the issues. Should there be a need after those discussions are concluded for reconsideration of the Weston ordinance, the board can consider doing so at that time.
On Jan. 9, the Weston Democratic Town Committee unanimously passed a resolution supporting "stronger, meaningful federal firearms regulation." The resolution "unequivocally supports new federal firearms regulations with provisions including but not limited to":
- Enacting an updated, comprehensive permanent ban on civilian ownership of assault weapons;
- Strengthening laws requiring background checks and registration of all firearms sales including gun show sales and private sales;
- Limiting the capacity of magazines for both handguns and long guns;
- Regulating ammunition sales for all firearms, including establishing a national database to record all ammunition sales;
- Funding empirical studies of the causes of and ways to reduce gun violence, but not delaying swift enactment of new federal firearms regulations until the outcomes of such studies are known.
The Weston Board of Selectmen is scheduled to meet on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Weston Middle School cafeteria.