A local politician in Swampscott, Massachusetts, recently said residents’ 4th Amendment protections should be explicitly violated if they insist upon exercising 2nd Amendment rights in the town.
Swampscott Selectman Barry Greenfield claimed that because local police “need the ability to enforce the state law” which “requires Massachusetts gun owners to keep their firearms locked away or rendered inoperable,” officers should not be hindered in their ability to walk into local gun owners’ homes unannounced and verify compliance.
If that sounds like a proposal for complete violation of the Bill of Rights, it’s because it was such a proposal.
Commenters on the story about Greenfield’s proposal published in the Swampscott Patch quickly called the Constitutionally-clueless politician out.
“Go ahead show up at my door and ask. you will get a loaded 357mag in your face. I am a law abiding citizen and gun owner. This moron obviously has never heard of the 4 th amendment. You know the one about unwarranted search and seizure,” one commenter wrote.
Another posted, “Frog march this guy down the steps of Town Hall, he’s unAmerican and has no place even being near an American government of any size. And, as I understand the impact of one of the recent SCOTUS decisions, (DC or Illinois?) when the licensed gun owner is at home, the guns do NOT have to be locked up and ‘rendered inoperable’. There is little point of having a gun in your house for self defense if it has to be locked up.”
And another commented: “Have any of you back there ever read or even know what the US Constitution is? Your inspection program would be an infringement on the 2nd Amendment causing a violation of the 4th Amendment. You folks need to remove you head from your lower intestine and get some fresh air.”
The public backlash, both online and, presumably, throughout the town, lead Greenfield to rethink his proposal.
He said in a statement: “I’d like to take a minute to apologize to any individual who believes my intentions were to create any type of procedure that would violate any amendment in the Bill of Rights. I have no interest in having our town seek out the ability to violate the fourth amendment and perform warrantless search and seizure of personal property. If anything I have said or written gave that impression, I apologize.
“My intention was simply to learn more about whether or not an existing law could be enforced within the strict boundaries of the Constitution.
“In regards to those who seek my resignation, I will say this: I have spent every day of my seven years in Swampscott – whether as a parent, teaching volunteer, coach, committee member or selectmen – trying to make this town a better place to live. I will continue all of those efforts for the foreseeable future.”