When Duane Galbi moved from Cambridge 20 miles west to the town of Wayland, he got a house with a white picket fence and a backyard that abuts miles of undeveloped land. Only the sound of geese disturbed the quiet on a recent morning, but Galbi said it’s not uncommon to hear a more jarring sound in his neighborhood: gunfire.
Just up the street, the Wayland Rod and Gun Club is tucked into 15 wooded acres. It’s the only gun range in town. And Galbi wants to keep it that way.
“We’re trying to limit the use of guns in Wayland,” said Galbi.
He has gathered enough signatures to get an article he wrote onto the town meeting agenda. If approved, it would make it harder in Wayland to legally fire a gun than just about anywhere else in the state. Galbi’s article cites the Parkland, Sandy Hook and Las Vegas shootings as having “profound affects on many people.”
“This article ends up being a little symbolism, that Wayland is standing up against this violence,” said Galbi. “We can’t affect the whole country, but we can limit it in our town.”
State law bans gunfire within 500 feet of a building. Galbi’s measure would double the distance to 1000 feet - of a property line.
“I would say the initial reaction was sympathy for his concern about national gun violence,” said Lea Anderson, chair of the Wayland board of selectmen.
Even so, selectmen voted unanimously to recommend residents reject the proposed shooting restrictions.
“I can’t believe I’m arguing in favor of some gun usage,” said Anderson.
She pointed out there are people in town who hunt, mostly on private property. The proposed gunfire restrictions would essentially eliminate hunting. They’d also prevent police from building a shooting range.
“We’re talking about 10 days a year for the convenience of training in your own town, not having to spend money,” she said, “so that resonated with the board of selectmen.”
Police could potentially use the Wayland Rod and Gun Club for target practice. “But they can’t do everything because we don’t allow people to move and shoot,” said gun club president Steve Garanin.
The club would be exempt from the proposed shooting restrictions, but even so Garanin sees the effort as misguided: an attempt to link sports shooting with gun violence.
“If you have a gun, you’re already seen as a bad person,” said Garanin. “I enjoy the challenge of hitting the target and doing it accurately, but other people, I understand, they don’t see the need for or use of firearms. Okay. It’s a sport. It’s an Olympic sport.”
But Duane Galbi figures the fewer people firing guns in town, the better.
“I have a lot of friends that are gun owners, that hunt, but if you invite all that into your town, your chance of inviting a bad apple increases,” he said. “We don’t want bad apples.”
Wayland residents are expected to take up Galbi’s gun fire restriction proposal at town meeting, November 13.