SWAMPSCOTT, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) -- A Swampscott selectman started a discussion at a town meeting last week on how the town can enforce gun safety laws and keep guns out of children's hands.
State law in Massachusetts requires gun owners to keep their firearms locked, and "properly engaged so as to render such weapon inoperable by any person other than the owner."
Greenfield said the problem with the law as it's written is that police don't have the authority granted by local rules to enforce the law. He said police should be able to inspect gun safeguards at the homes of the 600 registered gun owners in Swampscott, according to Patch.
"We need the ability to enforce the state law," the selectman said at the meeting.
Some people are worried, however, that what he proposes would impede on their rights. A few days after news of the meeting was published, a number of websites and Facebook picked up on Greenfield's proposal.
"Since Wednesday, a story about me trying to trample on the Fourth and Second amendments has been circulating on the Internet including various pro-gun sites and Facebook. This has led to a very uncivil discussion, primarily through threatening emails and calls," Greenfield wrote in a letter to the editor that was published in the Boston Herald.
"I made this request in the context of school shootings, as the research I have read shows the majority of these shootings are caused by children who have access to their parents' weapons," he stated in the letter.
Some residents also took issue with his proposal.
"I think it's an invasion of privacy. I feel like if you don't have probable cause to enter a home, you shouldn't go into a home just to check things," said Pat Boscoe. "Contacting people and making sure firearms are secure is one thing. But invading privacy, going into somebody's home? I don't think that's right."
Swampcott Police Chief Ron Madigan said the current law is sufficient, pointing to the state's gun permitting process.
"Obviously a safe is the best solution, but I don't think it's our role to go to homes and inspect the manner in which people are keeping their guns secured. The assumption is once they're licensed, that they're lawfully owning their firearms."
Town Administrator Thomas Younger agreed.
"We support the Constitutional rights of all citizens statewide as well as in Swampscott," Younger said.