August 19, 2014

Information from DCJIS regarding changes in MA laws.

Changes to the law regarding firearms licensing and gun sales in Massachusetts

Notice to MA firearms dealers regarding changes in law.

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August 13, 2014

Governor Patrick Signs H.4376, now known as "the Acts of 2014 - Chapter 284"

Click here to read the bill, or read below for more information.

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August 6, 2014

(Note: at the time of this writing the bill is awaiting Governor Patrick’s signature so it is yet to become law)

H.4376 – A Critical Look. 

Preface:  The heinous crime committed at Sandy Hook elementary emboldened and then enabled the legislature of New York and Connecticut to swiftly pass draconian new gun control legislation, dreadfully abusive of our Second Amendment rights. 

Massachusetts, with a legislative body that has historically shared a very similar outlook, make up and philosophy with New York and Connecticut seemed sure to follow.  While the sentiment towards the Second Amendment in the legislature has changed, there are still legislators who would love to enact laws that would severely restrict our Second Amendment rights.  Sure enough, they were ready and waiting, quickly filing bills which included one gun a month, an outright ban on semi automatic firearms, mandatory insurance and more.

An interesting thing happened though.  Silence.

We all waited for it, the emergency sessions, the late night bill – insta restriction, it never materialized.  What we did get was an announcement from Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo that he would be forming a special committee to study what should be done legislatively.

As to what transpired over the next year plus, we’ve covered that in detail on numerous occasions.  There were public hearings, and then a committee report and more hearings and rallies and various bills filed on, voted on, amended and finally passed as H.4376, which now awaits the governor’s signature.

A new chapter: During the above-mentioned months of legislative process and hearings an interesting thing happened.  Actually, two interesting things happened.  First it became pretty clear that the MA Legislature was going to take a much more deliberate process than our neighboring states did.  Second, for the first time ever we had a tectonic shift in terms of what happened when MA legislators began discussing further restricting our rights.  Simply put, our membership sent a loud and clear message.  An unprecedented flood of communications overwhelmed the email system, tied up phone lines, filled up mail boxes and ran fax machines out of paper.  We were heard and they backed down.

The legislation: Changes are numerous, see below.

Positive changes:

Juniors: Critical training language correction for juniors, this now allows trainers to provide firearms to junior shooters and hunters with parental consent.  Juniors are now able to apply for their FID card a year early (age 14) and receive their card at 15.

Pepper Spray:  Person over the age of 18 will no longer need an FID card to purchase pepper spray.  15-17 year olds can still possess – but must have an FID card

FID:  Chiefs must first petition the court to deny someone his/her FID card.   Because it is in the courts, it gives GOAL and others the ability to track what Chiefs are doing.  The language also includes defined time limits, if there is no decision rendered in the prescribed amount of time, the license will be issued.

LTC: The Class B License was eliminated; going forward there is only one License to Carry. (LTC).  Chiefs now have to put denials in writing so that the burden of proof is on the police chief to defend the denial or restriction in District Court.  Also, for the first time gun owners can appeal their LTC restrictions in District Court.

Both licenses: The term "prohibited person" is now being used for both licenses – instead of "unsuitable".  This change in the language provides a much-needed change in framework around who is prohibited.  Also the 90-day grace period - license renewal issue was fixed. Gun owners will now receive a receipt upon renewal, which makes the license valid until the new license is received.

Mental Health:  Language was added protecting people who voluntary seek mental health help preventing them from being listed as a prohibited person.  This also gives protection to people who voluntarily seek help for drug and alcohol abuse issues.

Olympic-style Handguns:  There will be exemptions for the dealer transfer of Olympic-style handguns in the Commonwealth.  These were previously not legal to transfer by licensed dealers in the Commonwealth.

Curios and Relic Collectors:  01 FFL’s can now legally transfer C&R handguns and firearms to licensed C&R dealers. (03 FFL)

Online portal: Created online portal for face-to-face transfers, preserving private sales
  
Confiscation: We added language-providing protection of property for firearms owners.  Now, if firearms are confiscated, the licensing authority is required, at that time, to inform the person in writing of their ability to transfer their firearms to an independent licensed individual

Lost & Stolen Firearms: GOAL added language so that a person who, in good faith, reports lost or stolen firearms will have protection, so that the licensing authority cannot consider them a prohibited person.

Military Personnel: We extended the time period an active duty military member has to become licensed, or renew their license from 90 to 180 days.  We exempted active duty military members from having to take the mandatory gun safety training classes.

Here’s what was stopped that was part of the various bills that became H.4376.

  • The original bill would have criminalized private sales of firearms between licensed individuals.  This section was struck and private sales remain legal.
  • The original bill would have applied a “suitability” clause to the issuance of FID cards.  This was modified so that the licensing authority now has to prove in court that the applicant is unsuitable.  For the first time ever in MA, the burden of proof is upon the licensing authority.
  • The original bill would have made an FID applicant list a “reason” for applying.  This was struck from the legislation.
  • The original bill would have given the licensing authority the ability to place restrictions on FID cards.  This was struck from the legislation.
  • The original bill had very onerous language regarding confiscated/seized firearms.  We were successful in getting that removed.
  • The original bill would have penalized licensees for not renewing early.  We were able to remove this language.
  • During Senate debate anti Second Amendment legislators tried to add restrictive amendments including one gun a month.  These were all stopped.

The down side – what we didn’t like.

  • MA Police Chiefs now have more power over license applicants via applying suitability to FID cards. 
  • Increased penalties for violating storage laws.
  • Increased penalties for being in possession of a firearm on school grounds.

Neutral issues:  There are also sections, which deal with NICS compliance (GOAL worked hard to ensure that the language met federal standards), “safe and supportive schools” (interesting that one of the things implemented was the NRA’s idea of adding armed police to schools) and increased fines for criminal acts involving firearms.

Conclusion: The scope of this bill is very large; in order to get an accurate assessment one needs to step back and exam it as a whole, what was gained, what was lost and what was stopped.  We certainly didn’t wind up receiving letters forcing us to register our rifles and turn in our magazines.  We also didn’t wind up with laws mirroring those of Vermont or Montana.  We do feel that we made strides in a positive direction.  Through the hard work of our members and their relentless efforts we were able to begin the process of regaining ground in what began as a very unfriendly environment for Second Amendment restoration.  That speaks volumes as to what is possible for the future.

We have laid out the road map to successful restoration, lets continue to follow it and together we will succeed.

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8/1/14 Update:

 

H.4376 One Step From Becoming Law.

 

Bill awaits Governor Patrick’s Signature.

 

Dear Members,

 

First off, we would like to thank you for all of the unprecedented hard work in communicating a strong and clear message to our legislature.  Over the last 10 weeks we have overwhelmed state house phone lines, emails and mailboxes and we were heard.  In a rapidly evolving legislative climate you did an amazing job staying current and on message.

 

Going back to the genesis of this fight, Speaker DeLeo’s H.4121, the bill we faced on May 27, 2014 was drastically different from what was passed yesterday.  It literally went from being a gun control bill to being a crime control bill.  Some of the many anti Second Amendment provisions that we stopped included a renewed ban on modern sporting rifles and one gun a month legislation.  There are no new magazine or gun bans passed in this legislation.

 

We were also able to pass many good provisions including a fix of the 90-day grace period in regard to license renewals, elimination of LTC B’s, and legalization of pepper spray.

 

We were successful in stopping many negative and onerous articles and amendments.

  • The original bill would have criminalized private sales of firearms between licensed individuals. This section was struck and private sales remain legal.
  • The original bill would have applied a “suitability” clause to the issuance of FID cards.  This was modified so that the licensing authority now has to prove in court that the applicant is unsuitable.  For the first time ever in MA, the burden of proof is upon the licensing authority.
  • The original bill would have made an FID applicant list a “reason” for applying.  This was struck from the legislation.
  • The original bill would have given the licensing authority the ability to place restrictions on FID cards.  This was struck from the legislation.
  • The original bill had very onerous language regarding confiscated/seized firearms.  We were successful in getting that removed.
  • The original bill would have granted even more power to the MA Chiefs of Police and EOPSS to determine what unsuitability is.  We were successful in removing this language
  • The original bill would have penalized licensees for not renewing early.  We were able to remove this language.
  • The original bill would have given the MA Attorney General unprecedented power over which firearms can be purchased in MA. (EOPSS list).  We were successful in removing this language.
  • The original bill would have given the Colonel of the State Police power to define the curriculum for firearms safety training programs and to determine suitability of trained instructors.  We were successful in removing this language.
  • The original bill would have forced hunter’s safety courses and firearms safety courses to include a module on suicide prevention.  This was amended so that the state will now provide hand out materials for the teachers.
  • We were able to defeat a Senate amendment which would have added one gun a month legislation.
  • We were able to defeat a Senate amendment which would have added a renewed AWB ban

H.4376 Accomplished many positive things for Massachusetts gun owners including:

Juniors:

  • Critical training language correction for juniors, this now allows trainers to provide firearms to junior shooters and hunters with parental consent
  • Allow juniors to apply for their FID card a year early (age 14) and receive their card at 15.

Pepper Spray:

  • Person over the age of 18 will no longer need an FID card to purchase pepper spray
  • 15-17 year old can still possess – but must have an FID card

FID:

  • Chiefs must first petition the court to deny someone his/her FID card.
  • Because it is in the courts, it gives GOAL and others the ability to track what Chiefs are doing

Both licenses:

  • The term "prohibited person" is now being used for both licenses – instead of "suitable"
  • This change in the language provides a much need change in framework around whom is prohibited
  • The 90 day grace period - license renewal issue was fixed. Gun owners will now receive a receipt upon renewal, which makes the license valid until the new license is received.

Mental Health:

  • Added language so that people who voluntary seek mental health help will not be listed as a prohibited person

Olympic-style Handguns:

  • There will be exemptions for the sale of Olympic-style handguns in the Commonwealth
  • They were previously not legal to transfer by licensed dealers in the Commonwealth.

Curios and Relic Collectors:

  • Collectors can now purchase handguns and firearms that may not comply with the approved firearms roster

Online portal:

  • Created online portal for face-to-face transfers, preserving private sales

LTC:

  • The Class B License was eliminated; going forward there is only one License to Carry. (LTC).
  • Chiefs now have to put denials in writing
  • For the first time, gun owners can appeal their LTC restrictions in District Court  - now the burden of proof is on the police chief to defend the denial or restriction in District Court and in writing

Confiscation:

  • We added language that if your firearms get confiscated that the licensing authority shall at that time inform the person in writing of their ability to transfer their firearms to an independent licensed individual

Lost & Stolen Firearm:

  • GOAL put in language so that a person who, in good faith, reports their firearm as lost or stolen – this shall not make them considered a prohibited person – period.

Military Personnel:

  • We extended the time period an active duty military member has to become licensed, or renew their license from 90 to 180 days.
  • We exempted active duty military members from having to take the mandatory gun safety training classes

Once again, we would like to thank all of you for all of the hard work.  With your help we changed the tenor of the bill away from being an all out assault on lawful gun owners.

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7/31/14 Update:

 

Dear Members: Please contact your legislator today and ask that they support H.4376, released last night by the conference committee.

 

Never before has our Legislature concurred on a bill concerning gun trafficking and public safety that is supported so widely by so many-including Gun Owners' Action League (GOAL).

 

You might have heard a lot of things in regard to this bill, to set the record straight; this bill is a net gain for licensed gun owners.

 

Gains for gun owners include:

 

Juniors:

• Critical training language correction for juniors, this now allows trainers to provide firearms to junior shooters and hunters with parental consent

• Allows juniors to apply for their FID card a year early (age 14) and receive their card at 15.

 

Pepper Spray:

• Person over the age of 18 will no longer need an FID card to purchase pepper spray

• 15-17 year old can still possess – but must have an FID card

 

FID:

• Chiefs must first petition the court to deny someone his/her FID card.

• Because it is in the courts, it gives GOAL and others the ability to track what Chiefs are doing

 

Both licenses:

• The term "prohibited person" is now being used for both licenses – instead of "suitable"

• This change in the language provides a much need change in framework around whom is prohibited

• The 90 day grace period - license renewal issue was fixed. Gun owners will now receive a receipt upon renewal, which makes the license valid until the new license is received.

 

Mental Health:

• Added language so that people who voluntary seek mental health help will not be listed as a prohibited person

 

Olympic-style Handguns:

• There will be exemptions for the sale of Olympic-style handguns in the Commonwealth

• They were previously not legal to transfer by licensed retailers in the Commonwealth.

 

Curios and Relic Collectors:

• Collectors can now purchase handguns and firearms that may not comply with the approved firearms roster

 

Online portal:

• Created online portal for face-to-face transfers; preserving private sales

 

LTC:

• The Class B License was eliminated; going foward there is only one License to Carry. (LTC)

• We shifted the burden for LTC denials to police chiefs

• Chiefs now have to put denials in writing

• For the first time, gun owners can appeal their LTC restrictions in District Court

• Now the burden of proof is on the police chief to defend the denial or restriction in District Court and in writing

 

Confiscation:

• We added language that if your firearms get confiscated that the licensing authority shall at that time inform the person in writing of their ability to transfer their firearms to an independent licensed individual

 

Lost & Stolen Firearm:

• GOAL put in language so that a person who, in good faith, reports their firearm as lost or stolen – this shall not make them considered a prohibited person – period.

 

Military Personnel:

• We extended the time period an active duty military member has to become licensed, or renew their license from 90 to 180 days.

• We exempted active duty military members from having to take the mandatory gun safety training classes

 

Please call your legislator today and ask that they support H.4376.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Jim Wallace

 

Executive Director

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7/25/14 Update:

Select members of the House and Senate are in conference committee trying to reach an agreement on which version of the bill should go forward.

 

The Senate version of the bill, S.2284 is the legislation that GOAL has asked our members to support.  The House version, H.4285 has the anti Second Amendment language which would grant chiefs of police more power over the rights of Massachusetts residents. 

 

The House has named Rep. Ronald Mariano, Rep. Garrett Bradley and Rep. George Peterson to the Conference Committee. 

 

The Senate has named Senator James Timilty, Senator Bruce Tarr and Senator Anthony Petruccelli to the conference committee.

 

GOAL Executive Director Jim Wallace has been at the State House all week and will continue to be available to any legislator who wishes to discuss this important legislation.

 

We will update with information and action alerts as necessary.  If you've not already, please contact your MA Senator and Representative, ask them to urge the conference committee to respect our rights by supporting the Senate version of the bill. (S.2284)

 

Here is some information on what the Conference Committee can, and cannot do:

 

Conference Committee
When a stalemate develops between branches over an amended Bill, a Conference Committee is estab- lished to try to resolve the disagreement. A Conference Committee is made up of three legislators from each branch, chosen by the Speaker of the House and the Senate President. Two of the mem- bers are chosen from the majority party; the remaining member is selected from a minority party. Usually the Chairperson of the Committee where the Bill originated from is selected as the Chairperson of the Conference Committee. This selection is often made to acknowledge the Chairperson's expertise and knowledge of the subject area.

Conference Committee members are expected to uphold the position of their prospective branches. However, each Conference Committee is responsible for working out a compromise that both branch- es can agree upon. Once a majority of Conference Committee members reach an agreement a Conference Report is sent to the floor from which the Bill originated. A Conference Report cannot be amended; it can be only accepted or rejected by this branch and sent to the other branch for accep- tance or rejection. Conference Reports that are accepted by both branches are sent to the Governor for signature or veto. Rejected Conference Reports are sent back to the Conference Committee for further negotiations.
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7/18/14 Update - ACTION ALERT

Senate Votes for Second Amendment – GOAL Asks Membership to Support Bill – Contact State Representative.

The Massachusetts State Senate voted yesterday for the Second Amendment.  The Senate, voting on 63 amendments to the latest version of Majority Leader DeLeo’s “gun violence” bill voted to protect our rights via a 28-10 majority vote on the focus of the day, amendment #6.

The adopted version of the bill from the House, known as S.2265 featured a section that GOAL members were completely opposed to.  This section, had it passed would apply the “suitability” language to the issuance of FID cards and would have grossly abused our Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Amendment #6 corrected the bill to prevent the suitability clause from being applied to FID cards.  The Senate saved this amendment for last, after hours of debate on the other 62 amendments a roll call vote was taken and the amendment passed by a 28-10 vote.  (see results below) (also, please note the amendment # was changed to 63.1)

There are many people to thank for this vote, our members for the incredibly hard work in contacting their senator(s), the 28 Senators who voted to protect our rights and especially Senator Richard Moore, Senator Mike Moore, Senator James Timilty, Senator Stephen Brewer and Senator Bruce Tarr.

The bill, in its current form is vastly different from where we started in early June, with the original incarnation known as H.4121. 

Action Alert:  As GOAL feels this legislation is a positive step forward, please contact your State Representative today, ask that they support this bill via a positive vote when it comes up for concurrence.

Click here to get your State Representatives Contact Information

 

Please see our listing of positive changes and more information about the legislation below.

  • The original bill would have criminalized private sales of firearms between licensed individuals.  This section was struck and private sales remain legal.
  • The original bill would have applied a “suitability” clause to the issuance of FID cards.  This was defeated and FID cards are still “shall issue”.
  • The original bill would have made an FID applicant list a “reason” for applying.  This was struck from the legislation.
  • The original bill would have given the licensing authority the ability to place restrictions on FID cards.  This was struck from the legislation.
  • We were successful in modifying the age limit for applying for FID cards so that 14 year olds can apply.
  • We were successful in streamlining LTC licenses to one license, going forward there will be no more LTC “B” licenses.
  • We were successful in fixing the 90 day grace period issue.  Going forward the licensing authority will issue a receipt upon renewal.  This receipt will validate the license for all lawful purposes until the new license is received.
  • We were able to add language which requires that a licensing authority who denies the issuance of an LTC to an individual because of “unsuitability” be required to list the reason(s) in a letter of denial.
  • We were successful in clarifying language, which applies to junior training.
  • We were successful in ensuring that the application of the NICS process uses the federal definitions.
  • The original bill had very onerous language regarding confiscated/seized firearms.  We were successful in getting that removed.
  • We were successful in ensuring that School Resource Officers were provided protection under C269 10j
  • We were successful in adding the term “prohibited person” to the license issuing language in C140 s131 & s129B.  This legal definition clarifies who should not be licensed and places the burden of proof for denial upon the licensing authority.
  • The original bill would have granted even more power to the MA Chiefs of Police and EOPSS to determine what unsuitability is.  We were successful in removing this language
  • We ensured that the definition of prohibited person would not include people who sought voluntary treatment for substance abuse, alcohol, or mental health issues.
  • We were successful in legalizing the purchase and possession of self defense sprays for anyone over 18 years of age.
  • We were successful in striking the language which would have given the MA Attorney General unprecedented power over which firearms can be purchased in MA. (EOPSS list)
  • We were successful in striking the language which would have given the Colonel of the State Police power to define the primer for firearms safety training programs.
  • The original bill had language which would have forced hunters safety courses and firearms safety courses to include a module on suicide prevention.  This was amended so that the state will now provide hand out materials for the teachers.
  • We were successful in creating a criminal firearms trafficking division to help combat illegal sales.
  • We were successful in including language which requires the Colonel of the State Police to offer Public Service Announcements on firearms safety, storage, transportation, education, etc.
  • We were successful in adding language giving active duty servicemen a 180 day grace period to get an LTC/FID.
  • The original bill had a poorly written section regarding increased penalties for carrying while intoxicated.  We were successful in getting this removed as the definition of intoxicated was too vague.
  • With thanks to some of our members who put in extra effort on the issue, we were able to add language which would allow “off the list” transfers of C&R firearms by 01 FFL’s.

Going forward, the legislation will return to the House for a concurrence vote. (Basically they will have to agree with the Senate vote and amendments and vote to reflect that agreement).

If the house disagrees and votes to reflect that they don't like the bill (concurrence is rejected), a bi-partisan conference committee of three members from each branch is appointed to craft a new compromise bill that will be sent to both legislative branches for a final vote.

The conference committee’s report recommending the compromise bill is not subject to amendment.

At this time GOAL would like to ask that our members support this legislation and contact your State Representative today.  Please ask that they vote in concurrence to this legislation.

Thank you again to everyone for your hard work and please contact your State Representative, encourage them to support this bill!

Final note, over the last month plus, we received many questions about a line on the original bills summary which would have required a licensee to list the firearms in their possession upon every renewal.  This language never made it to any form of any bill and is not in play.  Also please note, at the time of this writing a final version of this legislation has not been posted online for viewing.

Click here to review the Senate Vote - Did YOUR Senator Vote to Protect Your Rights?

 

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Yesterday the State Senate, voted in formal session on 63 amendments to S.2265. GOAL was very pleased with the vote and will have more information later today.

 

This is what's in store for the bill in the future:

 

S.2265 will return to the House for a concurrence vote (basically they will have to agree with the Senate vote and amendments and vote to reflect that agreement).

If the house disagrees and votes to reflect that they don't like the bill (concurrence is rejected), a bi-partisan conference committee of three members from each branch is appointed to craft a new compromise bill that will be sent to both legislative branches for a final vote.

The conference committee’s report recommending the compromise bill is not subject to amendment.

S.2265 still has a ways to go and we will continue to update as action is needed.

 

Thank you again to everyone for your hard work, we still have a way to go, be ready!

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7/17/14 Alert Update:

 

GOAL would like to thank all of the members of the Senate that stood with us and for our Second Amendment civil rights.

S.2265 Was just passed by the Senate.  It will now return to the House for a concurrence vote. 

We are very pleased that amendment #6, regarding the issuance of FID cards was adopted.  This amendment stops MA Chiefs of Police from being able to use an arbitrary and oft abused "suitability" decision to prevent a law abiding citizen with a clean criminal and mental health record from obtaining an FID card.   Had this passed it would have grossly abused our Second Amendment civil right to Keep and Bear Arms.

GOAL would like to thank all of the members of the Senate that stood with us and for our Second Amendment civil rights.

We will have more on this tomorrow. 

 

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7/17/14 Alert:

 

The State Senate will be debating and voting on S.2265 today at 1:00 PM. It is vitally important that you call your State Senator this morning and let them know that we are watching and that today's actions will be remembered in November. Watch the debate/vote webcast here starting at 1:00 PM

 

Urge your State Senator to support amendment #6 - Currently the MA FID card is issued to anybody that is not a federally prohibited person. If #6 is passed your Chief of Police will be able to arbitrarily deny your civil rights simply because he or she wants to. This is not acceptable, especially considering how widely abused this system is in the issuance of our LTC licenses.

 

Urge your State Senator to support amendment #56 which will fix the language in sections 39-43 regarding firearms seized by the police.

 

Amendments to vote down: Please ask your State Senator to vote no on amendment #s: 3, 4, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 25, 28, 40, 46, 48, 57, 59, and 60.

 

For more info on the amendments please see yesterday's alert below.

 

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7/16/14 Alert:

 

GOAL S.2265 Alert Update.

 

GOAL has received the full list of amendments made to S.2265, please see below:

 

Please support - Call your State Senator TODAY and ask them to sign onto and support amendment #'s 6 & 56.

 

#6 - Removes the FID Suitability clause - Ask Your Senator to sign on and support.


#56 – Fixes the language in sections 39-43 regarding seized firearms – Ask your Senator to sign on and support.

 

 

Opposed amendments to note:


There are many amendments that we strongly oppose, some of the most egregious include #11 & #20 which would criminalize the private sale of firearms, #57 which is, among other things a one gun a month bill and #60 which would increase fines for possession of many common use firearms and magazines. 

 

Other opposed amendments:

 

There are many other amendments that we oppose, please call your State Senator today and ask that they oppose amendment #s: 3, 4, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 25, 28, 40, 46, 48, 57, 59, and 60. 

 

Click here for the chart of all amendments with GOAL’s position.

 

Contact your State Senator here.

 

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7/15/14 Alert:

 

Our State Senate has until 5:00 PM today to amend S.2265. Please call YOUR State Senator TODAY and urge them to remove or amend the sections outlined below!

 

Remove or Amend the Sections Discussing Expansion of Suitability to the Issuance of FID cards. Currently there is no evidence that the suitability clause does anything to prevent or reduce crime. Giving MA chiefs of police more power over an already widely abused law is not acceptable.

 

Remove or Amend the Sections Discussing Pepper Spray Language as written. This language is very convoluted and needlessly restrictive. Pepper Spray/Mace shouldn't be regulated any more than common Wasp/Bee insect repellant sprays are. GOAL is currently working with the Senate to replace the current language with Rep. Kim Ferguson's H.4038. Please encourage your Senator to support this change! Reminder: MA is the ONLY state in the country that requires a license to purchase/possess pepper spray/mace.

 

Remove or Amend the Sections Discussing Changes to MA Firearms Seizure laws (MGL c140 - s129D). The proposal would now deny a person who has his/her firearms seized the ability to have the firearms (personal property) transferred within 10 days to a lawfully licensed individual of their designation. Instead the seizing authority would keep them, sell them after a year and profit from the sale! This is a gross violation of property rights as enumerated in the Fourth Amendment. For more on the current law, see GOAL's page here.

 

Contact your State Senator here.

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7/14/14 Alert:

 

GOAL has learned that a new version of the gun bill is being fast tracked through the Massachusetts State Senate.

The bill is now known as S.2265 and will be on the Senate floor for debate/vote this Thursday, July 17th.

Please call your State Senator TODAY and ask them to oppose this legislation as written.

The current version of the bill now has 105 sections, it has become a behemoth!

In particular we are opposed to multiple sections regarding suitability for FID cards, egregious changes to C140 s129D regarding seized firearms, and poorly written language regarding the legalization of Pepper Spray/Mace.

Talking points:

 

Oppose - Expansion of suitability to the issuance of FID cards. Currently there is no evidence that the suitability clause does anything to prevent or reduce crime. Giving MA chiefs of police more power over an already widely abused law is not acceptable.

 

Oppose - Pepper Spray Language as written. This language is very convoluted and needlessly restrictive. Pepper Spray/Mace shouldn't be regulated any more than common Wasp/Bee insect repellant sprays are. GOAL is currently working with the Senate to replace the current language with Rep. Kim Ferguson's H.4038. Please encourage your Senator to support this change! Reminder: MA is the ONLY state in the country that requires a license to purchase/possess pepper spray/mace.

 

Oppose - Changes to MA Firearms Firearms Seizure laws (MGL c140 - s129D). The proposal would now deny a person who has his/her firearms seized the ability to have the firearms (personal property) transferred within 10 days to a lawfully licensed individual of their designation. Instead the seizing authority would keep them, sell them after a year and profit from the sale! For more on the current law, see GOAL's page here.

Please note that amendments are due before 5:00 pm tomorrow, so please encourage your Senator to input changes ASAP.

Contact your State Senator here.

 

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6/26/14 Alert:

 

Please contact your house representative today and urge them to focus on two major sticking points:

  • Oppose - Expansion of suitability to the issuance of FID cards. Currently there is no evidence that the suitability clause does anything to prevent or reduce crime. Giving MA chiefs of police more power over an already widely abused law is not acceptable.
  • Oppose - Empowering the Attorney General's office to have input over the Approved Firearms Roster. Rather than providing a solution this would only further complicate an already convoluted web of laws & regulations regarding the legal sale of common use firearms. It could also lead to the reduction of available quality firearms for purchase at Massachusetts retailers.

Please ask your representative to oppose the two above sections of H.4121.

 

Please ask your representative to contact Speaker DeLeo's office about these sections, ask them to tell Speaker DeLeo that these sections need to be cut from the bill or re-written.

 

Also, please note, there are other sections which we oppose and have been discussing with the legislature, for now we want to focus on the above two points. Look for more info on the other opposed sections soon.

 

Final note, the overwhelming volume on phone calls, faxes, emails and letters has had a tremendous impact within the walls of the State House. Your hard work has been noticed, please keep the pressure up for a few more weeks, let's finish this process!

 

Click here to find your state representative.

 

 

6/17/14 Update: Alert! Please contact members of the House Ways & Means Committee today and urge them to vote "ought not to pass" on H.4121. Scroll down this page for talking points as to why this legislation must be stopped!

 

6/12/14 Update: The bill has moved to House Ways & Means.

 

Urgent Alert 6/10/14 Update!

 

GOAL Rally and Lobby Day against H.4121. Stand with GOAL against this unconstitutional attack on the Second Amendment! Click here for details.

 

6/9/14 Updates:

 

4:45 PM Update: Here's the vote information by the Public Safety Committee on H.4121:
House lawmakers who voted in favor of DeLeo’s bill, aside from Naughton, included Reps. Alan Silvia (D-Fall River), Brian Ashe (D-Longmeadow), Michael Brady (D-Brockton), Linda Campbell (D-Methuen), and Sean Curran (D-Springfield). They were joined by Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Jamaica Plain).

House lawmakers who voted against the bill included Reps. Cleon Turner (D-Dennis), David Vieira (R-East Falmouth), and Nicholas Boldyga (R-Southwick). They were joined by Sens. Timilty, Michael Moore (D-Millbury) and James Welch (D-West Springfield).

Three lawmakers reserved their rights: Reps. James Dwyer (D-Woburn), Brian Mannal (D-Barnstable) and Sen. Richard Ross (R-Wrentham).

A motion to reconsider the bill, made by Rep. Boldyga, failed on a 6-10 vote. The six who voted for reconsideration were Boldyga, Turner, Vieira, Moore, Timilty and Ross.

 

2:30 PM Update: H.4121 will not be moved today. GOAL has learned that 3 of the committee members abstained from voting, we do not have a roll call yet, but will publish it when and if it is made available.

Look for more news on this legislation tomorrow as well as a call to take action once we know where the bill is.

 

GOAL Exec. Director Jim Wallace just reported that H.4121 has been favorably voted on (released) by only one vote - by The Joint Committee on Public Safety & Homeland Security.

 

Working on getting roll call now and where the bill goes. Stay tuned.

 

 

6/6/14 Update:

 

**URGENT ALERT** We have just received word that the Joint Committee on Public Safety & Homeland Security will be voting on H.4121 AS CURRENTLY WRITTEN before 12:00 PM tomorrow. Please call EVERY member of the Joint Committee immediately and urge them to vote "ought not to pass".

 

Click here for contact info for the Joint Committee on Public Safety & Homeland Security


 

See GOAL's Section by Section report and response to the legislation here.


Once again anti civil rights legislators are attempting to restrict your civil rights in the name of “public safety”. Please read below for information on how YOU can help stop H.4121

 

Please contact your legislator today and discuss some or all of the questions below with them.  (Find your legislators contact information here).  Even if you've called them already, call them again and discuss the points below.

 

Please Contact the Joint Committee on Public Safety & Homeland Security and House Speaker DeLeo's office:

 

House Speaker Robert DeLeo
State House
Room 356
Boston, MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-2500
Fax: 617-722-2008
Email: Robert.DeLeo@mahouse.gov

 

Click here for contact info for the Joint Committee on Public Safety & Homeland Security

 

Click here for the oppose H.4121 fax - Print it out and fax it to your legislators today!

 

Here are some great points to discuss with your legislator:

 

•It's time to throw away the term "unsuitable" in our legislation.  Work with GOAL and use the "prohibited person" language - it is unconscionable to restrict the civil rights of an individual based on "suitability" - the burden of proof for denial should always be on the government.  Denial based on an arbitrary "suitability" decision is discrimination at it's finest.
•Changing the issuance of FID cards from "shall issue" to "may issue" - this would give MA Chiefs of Police final say over who can legally own firearms even if the person has a perfect record! Possession of a shotgun or bolt-action rifle could be illegal!
•Banning the private sale of firearms from licensed individual to licensed individual is ridiculous at best.  MA residents who are issued FID/LTC permits are among the most highly vetted individuals in the Commonwealth.  There is no reason to change the already restrictive laws regarding private sales.
•Granting the Attorney General even more power over which common use firearms can be legally transferred in MA is nothing but harassment of law abiding gun owners in MA.  Those that deal in illegal arms sales do not pay attention to the list!
•Expanding the list of automatic disqualifiers and giving the issuing authority ability to deny a firearms license to individuals with minor misdemeanor convictions of up to 1 year is ridiculous, please see Representative Beaton's testimony from Tuesday's hearing regarding this issue.

More points to discuss:

 

1. Police are supposed to enforce the law, not define it. How can you defend the Mass Chiefs of Police Association designing a standard for suitability that they themselves will enforce? What about separation of powers?

 

2. Why are legislators blaming me and the things that I own for the actions of a deranged individual? Aren't I presumed innocent until proven otherwise?

 

3. What about my private property rights to sell or transfer my firearm(s) to friends and family?

 

4. How can you justify further infringement of my civil rights when the existing policies have seen murder by firearm rise from 63 in 1998 to 118 in 2010 - according to MA Health and Human Services and FBI/CDC Data?  Clearly the "Nations Toughest Gun Laws" of 1998 did not reduce violent crime, why are we even considering repeating the same mistake?

 

5. If we are making the licensing requirements even more extreme and invasive, why continue to limit what these highly vetted licensed individuals can buy and possess? How can you still be afraid of law abiding gun owners when you have so forcibly reduced their ranks to the most background checked individuals in the state?

 

6. How can you justify non-violent offenses such as storage and transportation becoming life-time bans for firearm ownership?

 

7. What is being done to stop abuse of the suitability system?
a. Why shouldn't the state have to prove I am unsuitable rather than "the applicant must prove they are suitable" if I am denied?
b. Shouldn't there be a means of clearing one's record if a restraining order of revocation is shown to be invalid in the courts?

 

Note, we will release a section by section analysis of the legislation soon, the points above should give you more than enough to discuss with your legislators.

 

Click here to read Speaker DeLeo's summary.
Click here to read the full text of Speaker DeLeo's bill.

 

We recommend reading the summary and bill simultaneously, read the summary first then the actual language - go through it section by section, it makes easier to understand.

 

Work With Your Club - Today!
Do you belong to a Rod & Gun Club? If you do and your are reading this, you can help us immeasurably by organizing a phone tree this weekend with the members of your club.

It is vitally important to reach out to and inform the many gun owners who are not online.

Work with your club leadership - Make it happen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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