WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB)– State Police stopped a Chevy Malibu on Route 5 in West Springfield because the driver wasn’t staying in his lane. During the stop, police found what they initially called a fully automatic machine gun/pistol in a subsequent press release.
Donald Christie, a firearms instructor at Second Amendment Firearms Training, disagreed with the description and after Abc40 double checked with state police, police said it wasn’t a machine gun after all. They changed the description to a “semi automatic pistol.”
Donald explained why it was so important to know the difference. He said, “They read the thing once and do people follow up with the story? No. They think there’s fully automatic assault pistols floating around the streets with teenagers!”
“There is a difference. An assault weapon is a full automatic military weapon designed for warfare. A semi automatic is a civilian rifle. One squeeze of the trigger fires a bullet.”
Semi-automatic guns often get confused for fully automatic guns but even though the gun police found wasn’t a fully automatic machine gun, it still had no business being in the state.
“It’s illegal in Massachusetts. Also, these kids were under the age of 21 so they’re not allowed to have it anyway,” added Christie.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno was just testifying before the state legislature about needing stricter penalties for having illegal guns. That’s something that’s been happening more in Western Massachusetts.
Sarno testified, “We need the court system to really step it up when it comes to being held on bail or the sentences that are given out. We need high bails, we need incarceration, we need the sentences to stick.”
Christie agrees, “If the laws that are currently in place are enforced, then they’ll work. They’re currently not enforced.”
And having stricter penalties is something both sides agree on.
The driver, Jose Espinosa-DeJesus, 26, of Holyoke was taken into custody with his four passengers. Two were unnamed 17 year old juveniles; one from Holyoke and one from Philadelphia. Winston Meijas, 19, and Alexander Cirino, 18, were also from Philadelphia.
All five are being held for arraignment in Chicopee District Court and are charged with multiple firearm violations. The driver was also charged with a marked lanes violation.