The Boston Globe reports that 82 local police departments in Massachusetts have obtained more than 1,000 weapons over the last 15 years under a federal program that distributes surplus guns from the US military. The Globe reveals that the weapons, including M-16 rifles and grenade launchers, went to both small towns and bigger cities.
The Globe said most departments did not notify their community of the acquisitions, and it found inconsistencies in how the program is monitored, including cases in which communities received more guns than allowed. In one suburban town, Belmont, people who live and work there were surprised to learn of the presence of six M-14s. “Is this a war zone?” said Kevin M. Mullins, 25, who works at a Belmont bookshop. “For what logical purpose do they need semiautomatic rifles in Belmont?”