Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Massachusetts Legislature Breaks New Ground in Gun Control

Friday, August 1, 2014

Last night, in the waning hours of Massachusetts’ legislative session, its House and Senate passed H.4376.  Seemingly out of definable categories of persons to deny the right to arms, this bill would make Massachusetts the first state in which an individual’s right to acquire any type of firearm would be subject to the discretion of a government official.  The bill went through numerous versions, some better and some worse than H.4376.  At one hopeful point, the discretionary provision was removed from the Senate version of the bill.  After lobbying by several current and former Massachusetts police chiefs -- the very sorts of officials whose authority over individual rights would be expanded under the bill -- a “compromise” was reached by a committee of the House and Senate. The new provision would allow issuing officials to deny the mandatory license needed to obtain a firearm on any basis of risk they could think of, subject to a court’s determination they had proven their case by a preponderance of evidence (a far lesser standard than required for conviction of a crime).

If there is any question of how some officials view the authority they expect to gain from the bill, Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans made it clear how a discretionary provision would be used in Boston.  As we reported last week, in an interview with Boston Public Radio, Commissioner Evans claimed that “[f]or the most part, nobody in the city needs a shotgun, nobody needs a rifle, . . . 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.” 

Just what sort of theories licensing officials will come up with to exercise their discretion under the bill is anybody’s guess.  A past version of the bill would have expanded the automatic “prohibited person” categories to cover many new misdemeanors.  This was eliminated from the final version of the bill, but the discretionary provision could be used to deny applicants licenses based not just on convictions but on mere arrests or police contacts that never led to judgments by a court.  Another provision of H.4376 seems to make clear that the intent of the discretionary provision is to significantly expand who would be prohibited from possessing firearms.  That provision would require the collection and reporting of convictions of a number of misdemeanor crimes that are not prohibiting under federal or Massachusetts law.  Clearly, somebody thinks this information will be considered relevant in who does and does not “deserve” a firearm.   

While H.4376 did contain some beneficial provisions for gun owners, leaving the mere exercise of the right to arms up to the discretion of government officials was a deal-breaking and unprecedented overreach by the legislature. Yet this is far from the bill’s only problem. It also imposes increased penalties for violations of so-called “lost or stolen” and “safe-storage” laws, the creation of new crimes that might be used to prosecute those who use their firearms defensively, and a provision that encourages doctors to intrude on their patients’ privacy to discuss firearm ownership.  The bill has not yet been signed into law, but Governor Deval Patrick has already signaled his support.  H.4376 is yet another example of the importance of electing representatives who will support the Second Amendment.

TRENDING NOW
U.S. Politicians Cheer New Zealand Gun Confiscation

News  

Friday, March 22, 2019

U.S. Politicians Cheer New Zealand Gun Confiscation

American gun owners have once again been reminded that the ultimate goal of U.S. gun control advocates is firearms bans and confiscation. Since the heinous terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, American anti-gun politicians, activists, ...

Iowa: House Passes Bill to Improve Hunting Opportunities

Hunting  

Friday, March 22, 2019

Iowa: House Passes Bill to Improve Hunting Opportunities

On March 20th, the Iowa state House of Representatives voted 57-40 to pass House File 716 to improve hunting opportunities in Iowa by expanding the types of cartridges that may be used for hunting.  HF 716 will ...

Governor Bevin Signs NRA-backed Constitutional Carry

News  

Monday, March 11, 2019

Governor Bevin Signs NRA-backed Constitutional Carry

The NRA applauds Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin for signing Senate Bill 150 into law, an NRA-backed bill that fully recognizes the constitutional right of law-abiding gun owners to carry a concealed firearm.

NRA Praises Vermont Superior Court Decision on Magazine Bans

News  

Thursday, March 21, 2019

NRA Praises Vermont Superior Court Decision on Magazine Bans

NRA applauds the Vermont Superior Court for allowing a lawsuit challenging the State's ban on standard capacity magazines to proceed. 

Legacy Media Push New Zealand Gun Confiscation Using Lies about Australian Ban

News  

Friday, March 22, 2019

Legacy Media Push New Zealand Gun Confiscation Using Lies about Australian Ban

The ongoing cheerleading effort by the international press in furtherance of the New Zealand government’s gun confiscation plans is enough to make any journalist with even a shred of objectivity blush. Worse, some outlets have ...

Illinois Court Throws Out Deerfield Gun Ban

News  

Friday, March 22, 2019

Illinois Court Throws Out Deerfield Gun Ban

NRA applauds Illinois court ruling throwing out Village of Deerfield's ban on commonly owned firearms and magazines.

Alaska State Commission for Human Rights Director Attacks Human’s Rights

News  

Friday, March 22, 2019

Alaska State Commission for Human Rights Director Attacks Human’s Rights

The Last Frontier is also one of the last places one expects to find rights-trampling government officials. The state’s strong libertarian streak is one of the reasons a recent report regarding the authoritarian behavior of an official ...

Pro-Gun Senators Introduce Bill to Prohibit Discrimination in Financial Services

News  

Friday, March 22, 2019

Pro-Gun Senators Introduce Bill to Prohibit Discrimination in Financial Services

On March 14, pro-gun Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and John Kennedy (R-LA) introduced S. 821 the Freedom Financing Act, a bill to prohibit discrimination against the firearms industry in the provision of financial services.

Activist Court Turns the Law Designed to Protect the Firearm Industry from Frivolous Lawsuits on its Head

News  

Friday, March 15, 2019

Activist Court Turns the Law Designed to Protect the Firearm Industry from Frivolous Lawsuits on its Head

On Thursday, the Connecticut Supreme Court created a dangerous new exception to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), a strong safeguard for our right to keep and bear arms.  

Utah: Self-Defense Bill Heads to the Governor’s Desk as Multiple Gun Control Bills Fail at the End of Session

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Utah: Self-Defense Bill Heads to the Governor’s Desk as Multiple Gun Control Bills Fail at the End of Session

The Utah Legislature has adjourned from its 2019 Legislative session.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

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.