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Law Threatens Battle Reenactment

February 1, 1999

LEXINGTON, Mass. (AP) _ This Revolutionary War town is planning a big bash for the 225th anniversary of the Battle of Lexington next year, but organizers say the state’s new gun control law is threatening the event’s authenticity.

It’s the latest celebration slated to go gunless under the law passed last year. During Gov. Paul Cellucci’s recent inauguration, the Lexington Minute Men attended _ yet went without their traditional muskets because of new weapon storage requirements.

In this historic town, up to a quarter of a million visitors are expected for the three-day anniversary extravaganza in April 2000, along with 1,000 to 1,500 re-enactors of the battle itself.

Hayward Gardner, chairman of Lexington Commission 2000, says the party may go up in smoke unless the state amends its new gun law to exempt antique weapons from storage and trigger-lock requirements and to free re-enactors from having to get licenses.

Sen. Susan Fargo, D-Lincoln, and state Rep. Jay Kaufman, D-Lexington, are talking to Cellucci and legislative leaders about amendments that would exempt muskets manufactured during or before 1899 from the trigger lock and storage requirements mandated by the state’s assault weapons law passed last year.

Most gun lockers don’t fit the extra-long length of antique muskets, and the orange trigger locks available for them would stand out against the tone of a Revolutionary War re-enactment, Fargo said.

Without the amendments, the proposed Patriots Day 2000 bash also may be canceled. State lawmakers also have been working to amend the law to allow veterans to carry guns at Veterans Day parades.

``These amendments will allow us to balance the need for responsible gun control legislation while not detracting from events which celebrate our historic and cultural identity,″ Fargo said.

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