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
Beto Going All-In on Confiscation

News  

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Beto Going All-In on Confiscation

Democrat Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke continues to struggle to gain any sort of traction for his campaign. With some polls putting him in 10th place, and his average sitting around 7th, some might say that it is desperation ...

Tell Your Lawmakers: No Semi-Auto and Magazine Ban!

News  

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Tell Your Lawmakers: No Semi-Auto and Magazine Ban!

The Democrat Party is now so aligned with gun control that every major candidate running for its 2020 presidential nomination recently appeared in a propaganda video produced by one of the nation’s most active firearm prohibition groups. ...

House Democrats Continue Unprecedented Push for More Gun Control

News  

Sunday, September 15, 2019

House Democrats Continue Unprecedented Push for More Gun Control

As was continually threatened while Congress was on its six-week Summer break, House Democrats hastily convened a hearing on Tuesday to promote their latest batch of anti-gun bills.  The House Judiciary Committee’s markup of three bills, ...

NRA Files Suit Against San Francisco for Violating First Amendment

News  

Sunday, September 15, 2019

NRA Files Suit Against San Francisco for Violating First Amendment

On September 3, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors smeared millions of law-abiding Americans by unanimously adopting a resolution that designated NRA a “domestic terrorist organization.” Less than one week later, on September 9, NRA filed a federal lawsuit ...

Playing Games with Numbers

News  

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Playing Games with Numbers

Stanford Law Professor John Donohue and Theodora Boulouta, a Stanford undergrad, wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times that claims their new research shows the 1994 “assault weapons” ban really did work.  Their finding is ...

NASCAR Takes a Hard Left

News  

Friday, August 30, 2019

NASCAR Takes a Hard Left

After decades of NASCAR drivers literally turning left for hours every race day (road course races excluded, of course), the governing body appears to be taking a figurative left turn, politically. K-Var, a retailer in outdoor and ...

New Hampshire: House to Vote on Gov. Sununu's Vetoes of Anti-Gun Bills

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

New Hampshire: House to Vote on Gov. Sununu's Vetoes of Anti-Gun Bills

On Wednesday, September 18th, the New Hampshire House of Representatives will vote on Governor Chris Sununu's vetoes of three anti-gun bills sent to his desk by the General Court.  Anti-gun Representatives who remain stubbornly committed to ...

California: 2019 Legislative Session Adjourns

Sunday, September 15, 2019

California: 2019 Legislative Session Adjourns

The California Legislature has adjourned the 2019 session resulting in the final passage of AB 12, AB 61, AB 879, AB 893, AB 1254, AB 1297, AB 1669, SB 61 and SB 172 which are now eligible ...

California: Carson City Council to Hear Unconstitutional Resolution Targeting Lawful Firearm Possession and Sales

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

California: Carson City Council to Hear Unconstitutional Resolution Targeting Lawful Firearm Possession and Sales

Today, September 17 at 5pm PST, the Carson City Council will be considering a late addition to this evening’s City Council meeting, Resolution 19-1693.  ​The resolution is being pushed by Mayor Albert Robles in an effort to prohibit firearm ...

Monday, August 19, 2019

Florida Alert! "Assault Weapons" Ban Amendment Bans ALL SEMIAUTOMATIC RIFLES AND SHOTGUNS

The so-called "assault weapons" ban that is proposed for a constitutional amendment to be on the 2020 Election Ballot bans the possession of: “any semiautomatic rifle or shotgun CAPABLE of holding more than ten (10) rounds ...

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.