A Massachusetts policy maker has proposed handing police the authorization to search registered gun owners’ homes in order to ensure proper gun storage practices.
According to Swampscott Selectman Barry Greenfield, police are currently unable to enforce state law which demands the town’s 600 registered gun owners to have all weapons “inoperable” or behind lock and key while in the home. In order to remedy what Greenfield sees as a school shooting waiting to happen, police must be given the ability to enter the homes of gun owners at will.
“We need the ability to enforce the state law,” Greenfield said.
Although no direct action has been taken at this time, Greenfield briefly shared his idea with Swampscott Police Chief Ron Madigan, noting his interest in holding a discussion on the matter.
As word of Greenfield’s proposal spread to residents, several grassroots call-in campaigns began to flood Greenfield’s office with questions over his apparent confusion on the Second and Fourth Amendment.
In a reply letter to Bob Owens of Bearingarms.com, Greenfield attempted to defend his position, saying he wasn’t trying to take away anyone’s rights or guns while alluding that the remote possibility of a school shooting warranted regular home searches by police.
“I asked our board of selectmen whether we could look into potential methods of enforcement. Can the police conduct a investigation with due notice, similar to a building permit inspection or a fire inspection when you want to sell your home?” Greenfield said.
Many Swampscott residents were less than thrilled, pointing to the constitutional danger of allowing forced home searches without probable cause.
“If authorities can enter your home for this reason, then they can enter to enforce any law without a warrant or probable cause. Totally unconstitutional!” Susan Mercier said.
Others pointed to much bigger statistical dangers facing children on a daily basis, asking if police would begin inspections on everyday mundane items.
“Given that drowning is 4x more likely than a firearms accident, shouldn’t police be inspecting pools? But wait, poisoning is 10x more likely than drowning – how about police check under our sinks?” Steve L said.
While no one doubts Greenfield’s concern over children’s safety, many residents fear his willingness to give up essential liberty in order to provide the illusion of safety is far more dangerous.
Contrary to what is usually heard from the media, school shootings are not actually on the rise, with overall gun murder down 49 percent since 1993. Despite these trends, law-abiding gun owners have continued to face increased persecution.
Earlier this year, Washington state Democrats unsuccessfully attempted to pass an “assault weapons ban” that included yearly home inspections by police as well. According to one of the bill’s primary sponsors Sen. Adam Kline (D), the legislation wasn’t read closely enough before being signed, introduced and promoted.