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Massachusetts Lawmakers Crafting Unprecedented State Powers Into New Gun Control Bill

June 26, 2014 by  

Massachusetts Lawmakers Crafting Unprecedented State Powers Into New Gun Control Bill
THINKSTOCK

A bill that could ban private gun sales, set a high threshold of qualification for owning a gun and grant law enforcement broad discretion in issuing permits even for long guns is making its way through the committee process of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

The bill, HB 4121, would place a host of new hurdles in the path of potential gun owners in a State that’s not known for its lawmakers’ restraint in leaving the 2nd Amendment as it is. Gun owners both inside the State, as well as those throughout the Nation concerned about the general erosion of the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, are calling the measure extreme and dangerous.

“This egregious bill would empower police chiefs with discretion in licensing owners for shotguns and rifles, ban the private sale of firearms except through a licensed gun dealer, and create new firearm possession qualifications that could ban firearm ownership for thousands of hunters and gun enthusiasts across the Commonwealth,” warns the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA):

HB 4121 is dangerous legislation that seeks to further strip away your Second Amendment rights in Massachusetts. As anyone who has gone through the process to legally obtain a firearm in Massachusetts knows, there is no dearth of existing state laws that regulate the sale, purchase and transfer of firearms. State legislators on Beacon Hill should be repealing gun control laws, NOT enacting more to further restrict your Second Amendment rights.

The NRA-ILA is imploring Massachusetts residents to contact their State representatives and “urge them to vote against this dangerous anti-gun bill.” Even law enforcement within the State has come out against the bill; the Massachusetts Coalition of Police (MASS C.O.P.) — the State’s largest law enforcement union — has issued an official statement opposing the gun grab:

The Massachusetts Coalition of Police submitted written testimony to the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security in opposition of House Bill 4121 An Act Relative to the Reduction of Gun Violence. Our reasoning is that we do not agree with the change in what can disqualify you for a license to carry a firearm in this bill. In the current legislation, if you are convicted of a misdemeanor that carries a punishment of two years or more, you are disqualified. In this bill it reduces that time to one year. This could negatively impact some of our members who had previously qualified and had no issues in the past. In some cases it could potentially terminate employment. This is the one issue within the bill that has an effect on our membership’s employment. There may be other issues that you do not agree with, or agree with in the bill. In any case, you should call your local State Representative and let them know that you are not in favor of this bill.

The Massachusetts Gun Owners Action League (GOAL) is keeping a running tab on the bill as it moves through the Legislature (it’s currently before the House Ways and Means committee); you can view its progress and find legislative contact information here.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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