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Board of Health Releases Response Regarding Question of Health Impact of Firearms Businesses

Post Date: 09/23/2019 7:45 PM

The Board of Selectmen referred to the Board of Health the general issue of firearms businesses and their health impact on communities, including the question of whether proximity to schools, parks and the like is implicated.

Neither the Board of Health nor Town Counsel is aware of any other community that has regulated firearms businesses using a Board of Health regulation.  Firearms regulation is a complex issue and the subject of long term significant legislative and community attention throughout the country. 

The Board of Health, therefore, in accord with its broad authority to protect the public health, is conducting appropriately diligent and thorough research.  While the Board may adopt reasonable regulations to protect the public health, the Board must first satisfy itself that the matter constitutes a public health issue, and, further that reasonable regulation of the matter will protect the public health.  This is a complicated and cutting edge issue, particularly when balanced against other types of rights. 

The Board understands that the matter is being reviewed in various contexts, and will work to ensure that its review does not disrupt or take away from the public processes that are ongoing.  For that reason, following the Fall Annual Town Meeting at which zoning amendments will be addressed, the Board of Health intends to schedule a listening session to consider these matters from the public health perspective.

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