A Massachusetts politician has put forth a proposal to allow local police to enter homes without a warrant in order to inspect whether gun owners are properly storing their firearms.
The idea was floated by Swampsott Selectman Barry Greenfield, who expressed frustration about the Newtown school massacre in the neighboring state of Connecticut and in other cases where people have obtained their parents’ guns to carry out shootings.
“We need the ability to enforce the state law,” Greenfield said, according to the Swampscott Patch.
The town of Swampscott reportedly has about 600 gun owners. Under Massachusetts law, it is “unlawful to store or keep any firearm … in any place unless such weapon is secured in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device, properly engaged so as to render such weapon inoperable by any person other than the owner or other lawfully authorized user.”
Greenfield said he spoke with Swampscott Police Chief Ron Madigan about inspecting homes for proper gun storage.
But Selectman Glenn Kessler said there are questions about the constitutionality of the proposal and wants input from law enforcement, legal counsel and town residents. There will likely be a meeting to solicit town input, the Patch reported.
Washington state considered a similar law earlier this year, according to Boston Herald columnist Michael Graham.
“Then some lawyer heard a rumor about some ‘Second Amendment thingy’ and it went away,” Graham wrote.
“This isn’t a Second Amendment issue. It’s a Fourth Amendment one — unreasonable search and seizure,” Graham continued. “If Swampscott residents who don’t own guns sit back and allow this to happen, they’ll be playing their role in the famous parable of Martin Niemoller: “First they came for the gun owners, but I didn’t own a gun …”