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Boston Police Commissioner: I Say Who Needs a Gun!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Writing for a majority of the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller, which recognized an individual right under the Second Amendment to possess firearms for self-defense, Justice Scalia observed:The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government … the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon.”   

Nevertheless, Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans expressed his support this week for a provision in the House version of a Massachusetts gun control bill that would give local law enforcement officials discretionary power to decide who may acquire licenses to own shotguns and rifles. This provision was stripped from the State Senate version of the bill. Under current law, local law enforcement officials already have discretion over who is issued a license to own a handgun.

In an interview Boston Public Radio, Evans stated:

For the most part, nobody in the city needs a shotgun, nobody needs a rifle, and I don’t know a lot of people who are into hunting who, being lifelong residents, would actually want that who lives in the city, but, especially here in the city I want to have discretion over who’s getting any type of gun because public safety is my main concern and as you know it’s an uphill battle taking as many guns off the street right now without pumping more into the system.

Unfortunately, Evans is not alone in his failure to comprehend that constitutional rights limit, rather than depend upon, the discretion of government functionaries. On Tuesday, several Massachusetts police chiefs gathered at the statehouse to protest the discretion provision having been stripped from the senate’s bill. Among those participating were Evans, Chief Terrence Cunningham of Wellesley, Chief Erik Blake of Oaks Bluff, and former Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis. The Boston Globe additionally reported that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick supports the House bill.

Executive Director Jim Wallace of NRA’s Massachusetts state affiliate, Gun Owner’s Action League, explained to Fox News that the discretion the chiefs have to issue handgun permits is already being misused.

Massachusetts police chiefs have had discretionary ability [to issue handgun permits] for decades here and the system has been pretty widely abused as far as suitability goes because it’s left up to the chief to decide… Some chiefs say they just don’t hand out those licenses, or some are granted for target and hunting purposes only.

Earlier this year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recognized that a California regulatory scheme that effectively granted local sheriffs the discretion to decide who had “good cause” to carry firearms in public was unconstitutional. That case, like nearly all successful Second Amendment litigation, was made possible by local officials who, though having sworn an oath to the Constitution, insisted they had a better grasp of human nature and public welfare than the framers of the Bill of Rights.

We therefore suggest some remedial reading and a dose of humility for Commissioner Davis and his likeminded colleagues. Some of the rights these officials now find so inconvenient arose from the overreaching of their predecessors in authority.

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Maine: Firearm Seizure Bill Heads To Judiciary Committee

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Maine: Firearm Seizure Bill Heads To Judiciary Committee

On April 22nd, the Maine Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Legislative Document 1312, which would allow for firearms to be seized and Second Amendment rights to be suspended without due process. 

Idaho: Governor Signs Important Self-Defense Legislation into Law

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Idaho: Governor Signs Important Self-Defense Legislation into Law

Yesterday, Governor Brad Little signed important self-defense legislation, House Bill 206, into law.

NRA Statement on New York City's Desperate Attempt to Avoid Supreme Court Review

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Friday, April 12, 2019

NRA Statement on New York City's Desperate Attempt to Avoid Supreme Court Review

NRA reacts to New York City's attempt to avoid having the NRA-supported Supreme Court case N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Association, et al. v. City of N.Y., et al heard in DC. 

Another Day, Another Hearing with Anti-Gun Democrats Grandstanding on Firearms

News  

Friday, April 12, 2019

Another Day, Another Hearing with Anti-Gun Democrats Grandstanding on Firearms

On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing it called, “Holding Megabanks Accountable: A Review of Global Systemically Important Banks 10 years after the Financial Crisis.” If you are wondering what that could ...

Texas: House to Consider Reform Measure Protecting the Right-to-Carry During Emergencies

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Texas: House to Consider Reform Measure Protecting the Right-to-Carry During Emergencies

Tomorrow, the Texas House is scheduled to vote on House Bill 1177, NRA-backed legislation sponsored by Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), which protects citizens from being charged with a crime for carrying a handgun without a License To ...

Swiss to Vote on Implementation of EU Gun Controls

News  

Friday, April 12, 2019

Swiss to Vote on Implementation of EU Gun Controls

On May 19, Swiss citizens will go to the polls to vote in a referendum that will determine whether the peaceful mountain nation will acquiesce to the mandates of the European Firearms Directive. The Swiss have a proud ...

Get the Hect Outta Here: Police Chief Suspended After Students Complain About Pro-Gun "Likes"

News  

Friday, April 12, 2019

Get the Hect Outta Here: Police Chief Suspended After Students Complain About Pro-Gun "Likes"

Smith and Mount Holyoke Colleges are two liberal arts institutions for women in the western part of Massachusetts. Both share a campus police department that until recently was overseen by Chief Daniel Hect, who took command ...

Oregon: Gun Control Package Sent To Another Committee

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Oregon: Gun Control Package Sent To Another Committee

Thanks to NRA members and Second Amendment supporters who contacted their state Senators in opposition, Senate Bill 978 has been sent to the Oregon Senate Committee on Rules instead of directly to the Senate floor ...

Texas: Another Gun Control Bill up in House Committee on Wednesday!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Texas: Another Gun Control Bill up in House Committee on Wednesday!

House Bill 1713, by Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos (D-Dallas), would require persons convicted of certain offenses -- including some Class C violations punishable by just a fine

Canadian Senate Committee Rejects Handgun Ban Amendment; Issues Bill C-71 Report

News  

Friday, April 12, 2019

Canadian Senate Committee Rejects Handgun Ban Amendment; Issues Bill C-71 Report

Early this week, Canada’s Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence (SECD) met to review and vote on Bill C-71, the Liberal Government’s gun control measure, section by section. This review follows several days of testimony ...

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.