In response to the school shooting tragedy in Newtown, town officials in Darien are exploring the possibility of hosting the town's first-ever gun buyback program.
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson aired the proposal during Monday's Board of Selectmen meeting, following a discussion on school security.
Darien Police Chief Duane Lovello said he supported the idea of the police department organizing an event at which residents could have their guns — old, new, registered or otherwise — purchased for full value.
Stevenson said the town would need to fund the buyback, adding that it was unknown how many weapons would be turned in.
Selectman David Bayne said even if the buyback program only yields a handful of weapons, it would be worth it. He said while school shootings are rare, research shows that a high percentage of shootings during domestic incidents resulted simply because "a weapon happened to be there, in the house."
"Residents should at least know that if they have weapons they don't want or need… they can get rid of them," Bayne said.
Stevenson, who recently joined the gun control lobby group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, said she was in support of stricter gun legislation, however she said she was somewhat unclear on which specific measures she would support due to conflicting information, for example, "how do you define what an assault weapon is?"
Bayne urged the board to adopt a blanket resolution indicating its support for "sensible gun legislation reform," however Stevenson said she was opposed to the idea, since the crafting of gun control legislation was not in board's purview.
Selectman John Lundeen said he too wanted to see the board adopt a resolution representing its stance on the issue.
"I see no harm in the board making a unified statement… on the little bit we agree on…," Lundeen said.
Bayne said even though the state General Assembly in Hartford and Congress were working on their own legislation, he saw no reason why local municipalities couldn't lend their voices in support of stricter gun control.
"I think all 169 towns in Connecticut should do it," he said, adding "this debate, after all, is raging on in Washington and Hartford…"
Stevenson countered that in her view the board was stepping into something that was outside of its role. "We have to know what we're talking about before we adopt a statement like that," she said.
Stevenson said she was open to discussing the proposal further, "in about a month," and said she would get it on the board's agenda.