Massachusetts town trying to force gun stores out of old mill

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Recently, I wrote about an old mill in Littleton, Massachusetts that housed dozens of gun stores and firearm makers. I basically said it was an embodiment of the Second Amendment spirit, and I really think it is.

Unfortunately, the story that I quoted in that piece from the Boston Globe apparently created the proverbial firestorm in town.

Now, activists are trying to shut the whole thing down.

Outraged residents of Littleton are calling for a crackdown on the town’s burgeoning gun industry after they learned from a Globe story that an old elastic mill near the center of town is home to the largest cluster of federally licensed gun manufacturers and dealers in the nation. The vendors include dozens who were exploiting loopholes and gray areas in the law to sell military-style firearms and other firearms forbidden by the state.

Town officials said they’ve never been so inundated by concern about an issue, with many residents calling for the 80-plus gun tenants in the building to be forced out.

“Dozens have reached out to me through e-mail, Facebook, or personal conversations,” said Matthew Nordhaus, the town’s Select Board chair. “It’s been unanimously concerned and opposed to the shops.”

On Monday morning, the Select Board held a closed-door meeting to discuss purchasing the privately owned building so the board could control its fate. That evening, the Planning Board considered drafting a zoning ordinance to strictly limit new gun dealers in town. The select board plans to hold a meeting this week to respond to resident concerns about the Globe’s findings.

Now, let’s understand one important thing. No one is claiming that any of these stores have done anything illegal. They’re making no accusations that the stores are failing to adhere to either local, state, or federal firearm laws in any way, shape, or form.

Folks there just want to force all these gun stores and manufacturers out simply because they, personally, don’t approve of the lawful business they’re engaged in.

It’s nothing more than their personal animosity toward guns and the Second Amendment.

Yet we also need to understand that within the right to keep and bear arms is an implication that the right to purchase firearms must also be protected. Without the ability to find a source for arms, then we cannot keep and bear them.

Meanwhile, those who obtain firearms unlawfully aren’t going to be bothered by any of this. They’re not going to the old mill to get a gun from any of the 80 gun stores or makers there. They’re getting it from some guy on a street corner who snagged it during a burglary.

So forcing these gun stores out won’t make the community safer.

In fact, making it harder for good guys to get guns will do the opposite.

And why? Because some people don’t like guns? These are the same people who say, “If you don’t like abortion, don’t get one,” but then completely freak out about a bunch of gun stores they didn’t even know existed until two weeks ago?

This reaction is absolutely pathetic.