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Weston Selectmen Make Change To Proposed Firearms Law

Weston's Board of Selectmen approved a town ordinance governing firearm use in February. They approved a proposed change to the law last Thursday.
Weston's Board of Selectmen approved a town ordinance governing firearm use in February. They approved a proposed change to the law last Thursday. Photo Credit: Melvin Mason (File)

WESTON, Conn. – Weston’s Board of Selectmen made an adjustment to the town’s proposed firearms ordinance, which would ban target practice on residential property.

In February, the board voted to approve a town ordinance to limit the use of firearms in town. The proposed law forbids the use of “machine guns” or “assault weapons” as defined by the state anywhere within town borders. It also bans kids under 16 from shooting any kind of firearm, except for kids between the ages of 12 and 16 at an approved target practice range with adult supervision. Violations would carry a fine of $250.

The ordinance includes exceptions for law enforcement officers and residents using firearms in acts of self-defense. The proposal also originally included a provision for target practice on residential property, if the homeowner obtains a permit from the Weston Police. But based on a Police Commission recommendation in March, the selectmen decided to ban the practice in town altogether.

“That was based on conversations that I had with the [police] chief that not once in all the years that he’s been here had anyone applied for a permit for residential target practice, and there was some concern for the chief’s part and the town attorney’s part regarding liability if we do allow this, and there was a stray bullet,” First Selectman Gayle Weinstein said at the Board of Selectmen meeting last week.

After Weston approved its firearms ordinance, the Connecticut General Assembly passed its own sweeping gun control bill with a much wider scope in response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December. Selectman Dennis Tracey said he does not believe that any part of Weston’s ordinance conflicts with the new state regulations.

“There’s nothing inconsistent here with the new gun control laws,” Tracey said. “I think it’s a good complement to what the state has done.”

The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to accept the changes to the proposed ordinance Thursday evening. The changes will now go to another public hearing, scheduled for June 10. The text is available for review on the town website.

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