Richard Duby, who argued before the select board on Monday that the town should not sell the police department’s assault rifles, should be heard with an open mind. The rifles, he said, will end up in the hands of the public even if the police department sells them to a federally approved vendor. The counter argument is that selling to a vendor is safe because it cannot by law sell the guns to Massachusetts residents.
The select board should dig into this issue a lot more before approving the sale of the guns.
Presumably, the vendor that buys them would refurbish them. That evidently is not sufficient for the Falmouth Police Department. Then who or what entity would want them? They are not sufficient for our police; is there a department out there that has lower standards? That does not seem likely.
And an approved vendor may not sell the guns to Massachusetts residents, but could they sell them to, say, residents of Montana or Florida? It would be important to know that too.
Without those answers, Mr. Duby’s concerns are eminently valid.
If the guns are not sufficient for the Falmouth police, even if they are refurbished, they should be destroyed. The sticking point here is that state law requires that surplus municipal property valued over $10,000 must be sold.
The used guns may well be worth more than $10,000. Town Meeting approved $86,000 to buy 38 new guns. That puts them at $2,264 each. They are expensive guns, and it seems likely that they are still valuable in their present condition.
In that case it is time to get our delegation of state legislators on the case and change the law. These are guns at issue, not used DPW trucks or library furniture or used file cabinets from town hall. They are weapons and they should not fall into a general category of surplus equipment.
Unless the select board can definitively determine that these used guns will be put to legitimate use, they should be destroyed. We can’t imagine that there is no way to get that done.