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Falmouth residents frustrated with town's response to reselling high-powered police rifles

AR-15-style rifles
Public Domain
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AR-15-style rifles

Falmouth residents pushing the town to destroy old AR-15s used by the local police department say they aren’t satisfied with a response from elected officials.

The town’s select board issued a statement last week saying they have a contract to sell Hyannis gun shop Powderhorn Outfitters about 20 of the high-powered rifles, and that their legal counsel says that can’t buy the guns back to destroy them.

That's after months of review of a new gun policy, with residents calling on the town to destroy the guns. Last month, a petition signed by more than 400 residents calling for the guns to be destroyed was submitted to the town.

Reverend Will Mebane with the St. Barnabas Church in Falmouth spoke out against the board's decision at a recent meeting.

Mebane says he doesn't understand the select board's response that they are legally bound to turn the guns in. He says the town should re-negotiate the contract, especially in light of another mass shooting outside Chicago where 7 people were killed with a high-powered rifle and many more were injured.

"One thing is clear, there is a large group – maybe a majority of people in Falmouth – that want the town to destroy the weapons. So if that is the will of the people, why isn’t the select board acting accordingly?" he tells CAI. "It’s a missed opportunity. But I’m hoping there's even the slightest possibility the weapons will be returned to the town, so they’re taken off the street and won’t be used in a murder or a suicide."

Some residents are pushing for a new town policy that would require the town to destroy rifles used by the police department, rather than trading them in for resale.

Sam Houghton has been with the station since the summer of 2017. Before that, he worked at the Falmouth Enterprise, where he covered local politics.