The calls to “re-imagine policing” in Cambridge, Massachusetts has led to the city’s police chief to push for the removal and destruction of dozens of semi-automatic firearms from the department. Cambridge Police Commissioner Dr. Granville Bard says he decided on the move after conversations with a local activist who’s questioned the need for the department to equip officers with “high powered rifles” and other items.
According to Wicked Local, the push to partially disarm the Cambridge police, began last July, when the department released an inventory of equipment for the public to examine. Lauren Crowe, an Army veteran who spent two years in Afghanistan, drew attention to the list of weapons, which includes several dozen Colt M-4 rifles, and eventually had several discussions with Bard that led to the commissioner’s decision to “retire” about 20-percent of the firearms owned by the Cambridge police.
As a result of the conversations, Bard decided to eliminate camouflage uniforms, which are perceived as militaristic, and reviewed CPD’s weapons inventory. Bard has already identified 20% of the department’s high-power weapons – i.e. long guns like sniper rifles, M4s and shotguns — that could be removed and is going to reduce less-than-lethal inventory, like certain out-of-date shotguns and rubber rounds, by 30%.
The department is currently in the process of retiring these weapons.
“Statute requires me to auction them off, but the object is for the guns not to end up back on the street,” Bard said. “What I’m going to have to do is engage the city solicitor to try to seek an exemption so we can destroy the guns as opposed to auction them. So you may hear me use language like ‘retire’ or ‘reduce’ as opposed to ‘get rid of’ because I’m not sure I can right away until I follow some procedures to be able to destroy the weapons.”
If Bard wants to get rid of some of the firearms in the Cambridge PD’s inventory, that’s his decision. Going around state law and destroying these firearms rather than see them end up in the hands of legal gun owners, on the other hand, shouldn’t be left up to him or the city solicitor. If the law requires that they be auctioned off, then that’s what needs to happen.
Of course, this is Massachusetts we’re talking about, so I’m sure that Bard will get his exemption and the guns he wants to be rid of will be destroyed instead of auctioned off. That won’t do anything to make Cambridge residents any safer, but it’s the type of feel-good measure that gun control supporters love.
Cambridge has long been hostile to the right to keep and bear arms, so Bard’s declaration of destruction isn’t exactly shocking. The city requires all those applying for a gun license to fork over a non-refundable $100 fee, and applicants must submit character references in addition to all of the other paperwork required by the state. Even then, applicants can be denied for any reason, as long as the department feels that they’re not “suitable” to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
With that anti-gun mindset embedded in Cambridge, it looks to me like Bard’s decision is based entirely on politics and not public safety. He’s scrapping a few guns that he thinks the department doesn’t need, while keeping enough rifles and shotguns around that officers likely won’t even notice the depleted inventory. The public and the press will hail Bard for his progressive outlook on policing, but officers will still have access to the type of firepower that the commissioner would rather see destroyed than end up in the possession of legal gun owners.