Sudbury Resident: Gunfire Too Close to Sudbury Schools

Jim Cavanaugh is bringing a warrant to Annual Town Meeting to add an amendment to buffer zones around schools and playgrounds.

When Jim Cavanaugh heard Sudbury children could hear automatic gunfire while playing at Nixon and Noyes elementary schools, he knew something had to be done about that.

The Codman Drive resident and others are bringing a warrant article to Annual Town Meeting in May to change the bylaw that allows the use of guns as close as 500 feet of dwellings, and have in include an amendment in relation to schools and playgrounds.

"Over the last few years, there's been occasional gunfire around town," he said. "Kids at playgrounds have heard it. And I'm wondering how is it possible there is shooting so close to our schools?"

The amendment would set a half-mile buffer zone around schools, temples and playgrounds, he said.

Cavanaugh said the push to create this amendment is not about the national gun control debate, nor is it about the tragedy in Newtown, Conn.

"This wouldn’t have prevented that," he said about the Connecticut elementary school shooting.

To assure himself this amendment wouldn't infringe on someone's Second Amendment right to bear arms, Cavanaugh said he asked a friend who is a recreational shooter what he thought about the article.

"He shoots locally here and said he never shot within half mile of a school, knowing how far a bullet can travel," Cavanaugh said. "I asked him if he thought it infringed his right, and he supported it."

Cavanaugh said this effort is to support responsible gun use in town and protect children.

Jim Cavanaugh May 04, 2013 at 07:59 PM
(cont.) Nothing in this bylaw shall be construed in such a way as to prohibit the lawful use of any of the above named guns weapons in the defense of life or property, including but not limited to removal of a rabid animal, or on any range as defined in Section 9 or in any other manner in accordance with the General Laws of the Commonwealth limited by the discharge limits set forth herein concerning discharge of a weapon near a residence. This section shall not apply to the discharge of historic or reproduction muskets and other weapons, including cannons, fired by organizations or partnerships for theatrical, athletic, educational, ceremonial or other purposes as licensed or authorized by the General Laws. . Violation of this section shall be subject to a penalty of $300.
Jim Cavanaugh May 04, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Again, the only real change from the current bylaw would be that people can’t shoot “rifles and pistols” within ½ mile of schools, playgrounds, churches with daycare, etc. NOTHING changes relative to the use of all other weapons (e.g. shotguns, BB guns, air rifles, cannons).
Tele Gram May 05, 2013 at 01:22 AM
So, you would take away the CIVIL RIGHTS of ALL of the citizens of town, so one or two people won't get all nervous because of some noise? Are you banning loud cars and motorcycles as well? Has Sudbury fallen THIS FAR?
R. Dubey May 06, 2013 at 01:41 PM
Delete R. Dubey 9:31 am on Monday, May 6, 2013 Pathetic that a place that has a zipcode of 01776 because at one time it had a huge standing of minutemen who were there to defent the rights of people who were getting their rights trampled on is now a bastion of libtard knee jerk fear over tools the don't like or understand. Oh and Jim: No you didn't. "I've talked with many residents, gun owners, and U.S. military veterans, and their overall sentiment was that there's no need to shoot deadly weapons so close to children in homes and schools." What you did talk to, if those were veterans and gun owners, and they did indeed say that, are the equveleant of Jews that helped the Nazis to save their own asses. Any veteran or gun owner that would spout such a rediculous statement is a traitor of the highest caliber (no pun intended). I find your justification, or the attempted justification invoking the words of supposed veterans and gun owners kind of repugnant. This is simply people who don't like guns, and have no use for guns, (essentially the kind of idiot that thinks putting up a "Gun Free Zone" sign keeps ANYONE safe) to take them away from those who have done nothing wrong with them; using a tragety as fuel for their foolishness. Reply
Publius May 06, 2013 at 02:14 PM
Tele Gram, Yes, it is a protected civil right, but it is certainly not absolute. Massachusetts state law has a distance from a dwelling requirement (500 ft) and the direction in which you fire certaimatters. I am not free, from my own property to shoot in the direction of my neighbor's house , and I would be responsible for any damage done on adjacent property.
Tele Gram May 06, 2013 at 02:35 PM
@Publius: Why additional laws when existing already cover this?
Tele Gram May 06, 2013 at 02:36 PM
@Jim Cavanaugh: Current law is plenty. In fact, even current law is overbearing. Let's not make it worse.
Tele Gram May 06, 2013 at 02:38 PM
This idea is pure horse-hockey. I think this is basically Jim C. and a few others trying to force their ideas and project their fears onto others. I think the Town of Sudbury is smarter than that, and will reject this idea soundly.
In the Name of the Children May 06, 2013 at 05:22 PM
Robert Fucci, if you're trying to be a journalist, your article is a failure. First, it reeks of a bias: "...he knew something needed to be done." That's a big assumption! Second, you have one source: one guy's opinion. There's no mention of his obvious ulterior motives or any dissenting perspectives. The support this bylaw based on 1) JCs opinion, & 2) JCs claim that someone agreed with him. Are you kidding me?! Lazy journalism is a tragedy. For your sake, I hope you're just tragic. I really hope Cavenaugh isn't a political hack, because then you'd be a bootlicker. Jim Cavanaugh, your crusade to "save the children" is insulting. The loose connection between a person's right to shoot on their property and proximity to schools/etc. reeks of assault weapons ban scare tactics. You know that kids are *not* hearing "automatic weapons". You also know that nobody's shooting rounds wildly or with a clear shot toward people. This bylaw is an attempt to solve a petty neighborhood dispute. Basically, you don't like the sounds of guns going off near your McMansion. You're inciting dramatic people with scare tactics. You only care about your property value, a quiet back yard, and attracting more people like you to Sudbury. I recognize the names of some of the posters here as Sudbury townies - these people disagree with you. They've been here for generations. They're not political hacks or rich-boys. Who the heck are you? - Former Sudbury resident
AK EastCoast May 06, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Wow... as a resident of neighboring Lincoln I can't believe what I'm reading about here. This area is supposed to be one of the most educated in the country and yet these days it seems that it's full of nothing but activists with diminished IQs and an undying quest to destroy the rights and quality of life of their own neighborhoods and communities. Please leave the phony politics in D.C. and keep them out of our local towns ok?
AK EastCoast May 06, 2013 at 06:12 PM
I hope Sudbury is smarter than that too.
In the Name of the Children May 06, 2013 at 07:29 PM
This has nothing to do with high-IQ or Washington politics. Let me get on your level and explain this... What you see are normal people getting pissed when one guy (Jim) evokes fear from an unrelated tragedy to push his personal agenda. Jim and his neighbors want to protect their $1M property values. This is not about "protecting the children" or anti-gun action. He and a few neighbors complained of noise back in Dec '12. They said they were scared about people shooting irresponsibly near their houses/kids. A previous Patch article covered this (irresponsibly). It was clearly explained and verified as responsible and legal use. Let's assume Jim works from home & got a gaudy McMansion at the peak of the real estate boom. Like many, he probably did this to get his kid into Sudbury's schools. These ostentatious homes are wedged between a set of railroad tracks and two of the busiest roads in Sudbury. I used to party on those tracks as a kid. There's a massively busy park ("Featherland") across from his house and a church in his backyard. He and his neighbors don't like to hear loud noises. Fine. They're ignorant about guns too. Okay. The real problem is they are too arrogant and fearful to have a real, diplomatic conversation with the owners directly about the noise of their lawful use of land. He did the same thing when a church did a renovation in 2004...straight to the zoning board meetings to whine and posture.
Publius May 06, 2013 at 07:37 PM
I agree there is no need for a change in the law. That distance is too much. The 500 feet works sufficiently. I was mostly responding to Billy Blinks who was talking about how safe ranges are. This isn't in a range, so there is more risk that requires the gun owner to exercise safety.
Jason G May 06, 2013 at 08:51 PM
A church! within 1/2 mile of a home? Do you know how much noise those church bells make. Then there is all the traffic that gets generate. We really need to do something about that. Its for the safety of our children.
Jason G May 06, 2013 at 08:56 PM
Slightly more serious note. I noticed that the article needs just a majority to pass. Why is the default a 2/3's majority and this one is just greater than 1/2?
Frugal Fannie May 06, 2013 at 09:07 PM
If residents want help fighting this I would suggest you contact myself on facebook. I formed Westford Pro 2A and we got the gun ban proposal removed from the town warrant and we were able to replace the selectman who proposed the ban in town elections last week.
Jen May 06, 2013 at 11:25 PM
Wow, I'm shocked that so many people are opposed to this. A legal gun range is one thing, but shooting rifles in your backyard when you live in a populated area is a totally different story. Kudos to you, Jim for taking this on. I hope you don't let these vocal few dissuade you. I'll be there to support your cause when this comes for a vote.
R. Dubey May 06, 2013 at 11:32 PM
Well be shocked stupid. Its called a right, not a need for a reason. You are the kind of dimwit that will applaud what you dont understand. If you set up a safe place to shoot on your own property there is no issue as long as it conforms to existing laws that were put into effect for a reason. Please shut up about the kids the kids, that gets old after a while. You are just a bunch of ignorant anti gun people and nothing can be said to change your minds. Even though no one has ever even almost been injured in that town. We arent a vocal few you dolt. Unless you believe that 90% drivel that even the FBI say isnt true.
Tele Gram May 06, 2013 at 11:56 PM
It is not about kids. It is not about safety. Amen to R. Dubey for saying it the way it is. My kids shoot, and I would like them to have a safe place to do so close to home. It would be ideal in my own yard, but I choose not to due to proximity to neighbors in all directions. If someone in this case CAN do so in safety, then leave them alone. The state already has enough OVERBEARING laws as it is. Heck, the 500 foot rule is a bit much. Then again, if Massachusetts were to allow silencers, this would certainly be a non-problem. Why isn't Jim campaigning for THAT????
Jen May 07, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Actually, I think I have a pretty good understanding of the issue. I grew up in rural upstate NY, in an area where pretty much everyone was a member of a gun club. We always knew when hunting season started (gotta love that 6am gunfire wake-up). BUT, we had common sense laws on the books regarding where you could fire weapons, and where you couldn't. In fact, our bylaws were very similar to those that Jim is proposing. Specifically, there was a minimum distance to populated areas required. You're entitled to your opinion, Dubey. You can rant and rave and use your thesaurus to come up with all sorts of ways to insult my intelligence. But I pay taxes in this town and therefore I have the right to vote in support of this when the time comes. And, assuming you are a Sudbury resident, you can vote against it.
R. Dubey May 07, 2013 at 03:20 AM
I don't need a thesaurus to talk down to you because you're a fool.
Billy Blinks May 07, 2013 at 04:04 AM
Jen-- If a safe and effective backstop can be designed, created, and maintained--HOW is your position in any way "reasonable"? You are depriving someone else of their rightful liberty without cause. Is there any reason you feel you are (somehow) entitled to do this? Because you "pay taxes"? What? You don't just get to make up laws which infringe (does that word sound familiar to you--infringe?) on other people's Constitutional RIGHTS. Are you NOT aware of that?
In the Name of the Children May 07, 2013 at 06:29 AM
When, Julie, was someone wounded, maimed or killed on conservation land by a hunter? Please, tell me when this happened. Look in the town records at Goodnow Library...350 years of history right at your fingertips. These residents' objection is to a property owner allowing people to legally shoot legal guns on their property, at a legal distance (>500 feet) from any other houses. They inform the police whenever they shoot. Obviously, you have not been around guns much, but this sort of target shooting is common, especially in private property out in the woods. The "residential area" near this location is a group of five or six $1M mid-90s McMansions that some greedy real-estate developer stuffed near a super-busy intersection and across from Featherland. This bylaw crusade and tacky Sandy Hook fear-mongering is the consequence of a town disagreeing with the type of folks who would inhabit such ostentatious, ridiculously-placed houses.
In the Name of the Children May 07, 2013 at 06:41 AM
Jim, they're shooting into a hillside, surrounded by trees, on their property. There is no direct, unobstructed line of fire toward any human being, unless someone decides to walk on to their property and stand in between the people and the hill that they are shooting into. Nobody cares what you believe is responsible or necessary. You're dropping "deadly weapon" and "schools" in sentences that have zero context. You epitomize what I've grown to hate about Sudbury...a preachy, self-righteous bore who tries to get his way by any means possible. Sure, those characteristics made you professionally successful enough to afford your tacky overpriced house, but why should a town change it's laws just to keep you happy? You can't even have a reasonable dialogue with your neighbors...you just whine to the cops and when they tell you what you don't want to hear, you form a neighborhood coalition and waste taxpayer money with town meeting antics. Get over yourself and stop the fear-mongering.
In the Name of the Children May 07, 2013 at 06:45 AM
They're not firing guns near a neighborhood, public trails or schools. This guy Jim is trying to protect his property value and muscle his neighbors into not target-shooting on their property. They are shooting into a hill, at targets, not into the air or at a school or at a trail. Please, look under the hood of this jalopy.
In the Name of the Children May 07, 2013 at 06:57 AM
You're proposing a near-complete town ban on discharging rifles or pistols. I counted 24 schools and daycares in Sudbury...let's assume there are a good 30 places of worship speckled around town too. Draw a 0.5 mile radius around all 55 of these places and the town is basically covered.
In the Name of the Children May 07, 2013 at 07:04 AM
You have not been around guns much. Controlled, safe target shooting is legal and common in remote, wooded, private property. They notify police and they shoot into a hillside at targets on a short range in the woods, far away from any houses. No rounds fly off in random or unsafe directions. There is not unobstructed line of sight to any people or homes/schools/churches/etc. This is just a NIMBY crusade by one guy.
In the Name of the Children May 07, 2013 at 07:18 AM
Careful, "Common Sense" is a misnomer; What you believe makes perfect sense is rarely common. Were *you* a member of a gun club Jen? No, you weren't. You heard the guns and your parents made a sour face...that's how you knew it was hunting season. FYI, there are laws on the books here too. Check your ex-town's bylaws and you will be surprised that safe, legal use >500 ft from neighbors is common in NY and all of New England. No rifles/pistols within 1/2 mile of any school/church/daycare/etc. is ridiculous because that would cover the entire town. Fine, you're a taxpayer, so yes, you are entitled to your opinion. Remember that you are a recent taxpayer. You moved to town recently and there's large group of people who have a greater stake and richer history in your new town. I'd suggest you be more careful about your assumptions on what is "common sense" for the population of an entire town. Also I believe the people who disagree with you deserve your respect; your words imply that they are either uncommon or lack sense.
In the Name of the Children May 07, 2013 at 07:23 AM
No Billy, Jen has never seen an outdoor range. She learned that guns are for hunting, which is something that the hillbillies did in Upstate NY. She can think of no good reason that guns should be discharged in any other context. Because she can't think of a good reason, than neither can you. She pays taxes Billy, so perhaps she earned the right to make the rules in her town work for her.
Billy Blinks May 07, 2013 at 12:57 PM
I recall when "liberalism" was about freedom. But something changed in the late 1980's--I think it was the ironic lack of tolerance and innate Stalinist bent of "Political Correctness"--but classic liberalism began a descent into condescending, deluded, and self-righteous totalitarianism. You need ot take hard look at yourselves and consider carefully whether you are in fact Americans. The Founding Fathers would have suggested you catch a boat to somewhere else--because the notion of freedom was foreign to your souls. Liberals today seem to think it is an appropriate function of government to keep us "safe" from sugar and salt by passing laws about what size sodas we can drink, and that their fellow citizens are all functional incompetents who need to be protected from themselves by the wise and benevolent hand of a trustworthy and benevolent State Authority. Horsesh*t.


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