What happens now with all these gun bills? Are they still waiting to get voted on?
H.3266: An Act Relative to Constitutional Rights
This legislation creates a new section of law that provides a presumption that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual civil right. For many years the courts and law enforcement entities have been confused due to the state’s poorly written laws. With a clearly defined presumption of rights, lawful citizens will be saved unnecessary harassment. Likewise the courts and law enforcement will no longer waste time and resources on lawful citizens simply exercising their civil rights.
It also provides protections against other government entities in the state from passing laws and regulations restricting that right. This will avoid a potential patchwork of laws across the Commonwealth that causes confusion.
H.3267: An Act Relative to an Unloaded Rifle or Shotgun
When the 1998 Gun Control Act was passed into law there was an obvious attempt to paint gun ownership as socially inacceptable. One specific law was put in place that forced lawful gun owners to hide who they are. Section 12D of Chapter 269 makes it mandatory to hide our guns when on a public way. It also imposes very severe penalties for failure to do so, up to ten years in prison! How is it possible that a free and open state like Massachusetts could impose such punishments on lawful citizens who possess legal products? How is it possible that the same government would force a group of people to hide who they are? This bill simply removes this very insulting law.
H.3268: An Act Relative to Equitable Firearm License Fees
In 2003 the fee for a Firearms Identification Card or a License to Carry was $25. That year the fee was quadrupled to $100. This is more than double any other New England State. The cost of the license is a hurdle some citizens can simply not afford. The exorbitant fee also does not reflect the service provided by the state or local licensing authorities. When this was written, citizens were waiting up to six months for a license renewal that by law is to only take 40 days.
While no citizen should ever have to pay to exercise a civil right, this bill reduces the current license fees to a far more equitable level at $40. $20 goes to the state and $20 goes to the city/town.
H.3269: An Act Relative to Fair Licensing
For many years the laws regarding a License to Carry have been abused by certain local licensing authorities. The poorly written statutes grant those authorities the power to deny or restrict one’s license for little or no reason and without due process. Some local municipalities have blanket policies and will only issue restricted licenses. Citizens who are not prohibited persons should not have their civil rights arbitrarily denied or restricted. This bill creates a “shall issue” LTC and removes restriction language.
H.3270: An Act Relative to Firearm License Disqualifiers
Over the past few years GOAL has been receiving a growing number of complaints regarding disqualifications for Firearm Identification Cards or License to Carry. The problem lies in determining if an applicant truly is a prohibited person. The issue is that some authorities are using new penalties for old convictions. I.E.— An applicant with a simple assault conviction that happened thirty years ago may have only been punishable by a fine then is now punishable by more than two years in jail. This bill provides language in the FID and LTC laws that when determining the status of a prohibited person in regards to convictions, the determination shall only be made using the potential penalties and sentences in place at the time of conviction.
H.3271: An Act Relative to Non-resident Second Amendment Civil Rights
Currently a non-resident that wishes to exercise their Second Amendment rights in the Commonwealth must obtain a one year temporary license at a cost of $100. Under the current administration those applicants must submit to an interview and are often restricted without cause.
This bill cleans up the non-resident LTC language making it a “shall issue”, extending the license to six years, establishing a prohibited person, etc.
H.2181: An Act Relative to the Lawful Sale of Ammunition
Several years ago Attorney General Tom Reilly ruled that companies outside of Massachusetts could no longer sell ammunition or ammunition components through the mail to lawfully licensed citizens unless. Since the residents of the Commonwealth go through an extensive licensing process there is no reason why such transactions should not take place. This bill would make it clear that such transactions are lawful and all shipments require the signature of the licensee or adult agent.
H. 2182: An Act Relative to the Lawful Sale of Handguns
Currently in Massachusetts we have two separate schemes that control the manufacture and sale of handguns in Massachusetts.
The first is the Attorney General’s regulations 940 CMR 16.00 that was originally initiated by Scott Harshbarger in an attempt to ban handguns without the consent of the legislature. The so-called authority to do so was predicated on the use of Chapter 93A “Consumer Protection Laws”. The Attorney General’s office could not find a single case of a consumer being harmed by a poorly manufactured handgun. Nonetheless the regulations were enacted.
The second scheme was passed into law with the 1998 Gun Control Act. The law is currently laid out in Section 123 of Chapter 140. This section provides testing and performance standards, how they were drafted no one seems to know. However, with these standards a manufacturer can submit their product for independent testing. Should the product meet the requirements they are then added to a roster of approved firearms.
The conflict now arises due to the fact that the Attorney General’s office does not formally recognize the official roster of approved firearms and warns licensed retailers of possible conflicts. Essentially what we have is a situation where two government entities from the same government are using different schemes to enforce their authority over lawful products.
This bill simply removes the Attorney General’s authority to regulate weapons and repeals the previous regulations.
H.3272: An Act Relative to the Term of Firearms Licenses
Over the last several decades GOAL has had to file emergency legislation several times granting grace periods to citizens who are having trouble renewing their FID Card or LTC. In 2004 the wait time for renewals grew to over a year. Currently wait times are now again growing past six months. What is clear is that the state is not capable of handling the licensing system in place. To finally alleviate the problem this bill would remove the term of an FID or LTC and make them valid until revoked or suspended.
H.3273: An Act Relative to Youth Firearm Training and Competition
The current law Section 130, Chapter 140 regarding furnishing youth with firearms is very confusing to coaches and trainers. The section deals with legal aliens as well as resident youth.
This bill simply breaks up the current Section 130 and creates two separate sections of law. The first would deal with legal aliens and the new separate section would clean up the language concerning furnishing a minor a “weapon” for all lawful purposes under the supervision of a card or license holder.
H.2183: An Act Relative to Youth Hunting Programs
Youth hunters that turn 15 years of age must possess a valid FID Card if they wish to hunt with a rifle or shotgun. The problem is that the current law does not allow them to even apply for the card until they are 15. This often causes a serious lag time in obtaining the card and many youths actually miss hunting season entirely. This bill would simply allow junior hunters and shooters to begin the process before the card is actually needed and apply for their FID at age 14 so they can receive it when they turn 15.
H. 2184: An Act Removing Change of Address Civil Rights Penalties
Under current law a Massachusetts resident who possesses an FID Card or License to Carry who moves must within 30 days notify by certified mail the issuing authority, the local authority to where they are moving and the state. Failure to provide such notifications is cause for revocation or suspension of license. There is no logical reason for such an extreme penalty. This bill removes the harsh penalties for failure to file change of address.
H.3274: An Act Repealing the Ban on Modern Sporting Rifles
In the 1990s there was a campaign conducted by anti-civil rights organizations to rename the modern sporting arms. This campaign was successful in convincing the public that these firearms were “Assault Weapons” and that only the military should have such weapons. Thankfully after a decade the public saw the ruse behind this effort and allowed the federal prohibition on modern sporting arms to sunset. Unfortunately, Massachusetts passed its own version in 1998 that did not include a sunset provision.
The laws in Massachusetts (Chapter 140, Section 131) provide very harsh penalties for mere possession of a modern sporting arm or large capacity magazine. These penalties include up to ten years in prison for merely possessing a product that is legal in the vast majority of the United States. This bill simply repeals the law banning these products and thereby restoring some common sense back to Massachusetts gun laws.
H.2145: An Act Relative to the Issuance of Licenses for the Use of Chemical Mace
To our knowledge Massachusetts is the only state that wastes precious law enforcement time and resources to issue licenses for defensive sprays. In the vast majority of other states these are over the counter products. This bill simply removes the licensing requirements for so-called pepper spray and creates a new section of law and definition allowing residents and non-residents aged 18 or older to possess, purchase, etc.
H.3275: An Act Relative to Sales Tax Exemptions for Gun Safes and Trigger Locks
This bill would exempt gun safes and trigger locks from Massachusetts sales tax.
H.3276: An Act Relative to Gun Safe Deductions
This bill would encourage citizens to purchase gun safes by allowing them to deduct up to $2,000 from their state income tax returns.