2017 - 2018 Legislation
An Act Relative to Gun Free Zones
This important bill, filed by Representative John C. Velis will order that a commission be established to review current and future policies regarding "gun free" zones. The commission will be tasked with reviewing current policies within the Commonwealth regarding facilities, properties, and areas where lawful citizens are not allowed to carry items for self-defense including, but not limited to, firearms, defensive sprays and knives. The commission shall work to identify potential unsafe areas within the Commonwealth and provide suggestions for increasing the safety of citizens in these areas. Click here for more information on this bill.
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. Click Here for more information on this bill.
An Act Relative to Firearm Owners Protection
On the federal level there is some legal protection for lawful gun owners traveling across the country. It is commonly referred to as FOPA, the Firearms Owners Protection Act. Basically this law allows citizens who are legal where they are starting from and going to transport firearms as long as they are unloaded and stored in the trunk or locked container. Sadly some states are causing problems with this federal protection. Because of these issues GOAL has found it prudent to file similar legislation on the state level. This bill would expand protection for people who have unexpectedly experienced travel delays Click here for more information
An Act Relative to a Technical Correction of Chapter 284 of the Acts of 2014
This is a simple technical correction piece concerning licensed collectors. In 2014's Chapter 284, the section granting certain exemptions was incorrectly set to take affect in 2021. This correction would change that to 2017. Click here for more information
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. Click here for more information on this bill
An Act Relative to Suppressors
Section 10A of Chapter 269 of the Massachusetts General Laws bans the use of suppressors in Massachusetts unless the individual is a federally licensed manufacturer or law enforcement officer. This bill does away with the state prohibition. It also puts in place the federal definition for suppressor and creates severe penalties for the criminal use of such devices. Click here for more information on this bill
An Act Relative to Unloaded Rifles or Shotguns
When the 1998 Gun Control Act was passed into law there was an obvious attempt to paint gun ownership as socially unacceptable. 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. Click here for more information on this bill
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. 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. Click here for more information
An Act Relative to Change of Address for Firearm Licensing
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. Click here for more information
An Act Relative to Tax Exemptions on Gun Safes and Trigger Locks
This bill would exempt gun safes and trigger locks from Massachusetts sales tax. Click here for more information
An Act Relative to Gun Safe Tax 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. Click here for more information
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.
An Act Relative to Non-Resident Firearm License Fees
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. Click here for more information
FISH and WILDLIFE RELATED
An Act Relative to Outdoor Heritage
Section1. The current ATV laws under Chapter 90B of the general laws require that any gun be unloaded and enclosed in a case. Many hunters who utilize recreational vehicles are not aware of this law. There is also no exemption for lawful citizens who ride these vehicles and carry firearms for defense reasons. This language does away with the need for a cased gun as that part of the law serves no purpose. It also provides rightful exemptions for carrying defense arms.
Sections 2. Would allow the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to establish Sunday as a lawful hunting day as it sees fit.
Section 3. GOAL has received many stories about a new increase in hunter harassment. These include property damage, threats of violence and posting of land that was not so authorized by the owner. This update to the hunter harassment law addressed these new issues and provides for stiff penalties for property damage and injuries caused by vandalism.
Section 4. Since the infamous passage of Question 1 in 1996 certain wildlife populations have increased dramatically. One of those species is the black bear. This is caused in part because the species adapts very well to our suburban settings. It is also caused in part because the use of bait and dogs was banned under Question 1. As this species encroaches on more urban areas it will become crucial to manage the population through safe and proven methods. One such method that will be vital is baiting. Hunting over bait in more heavily human populated areas will allow the hunter to put the animal in exactly the place need for a safe and successful harvest. This language would strike the statutory prohibition on such baiting.
Sections 5 & 6. Part of the language necessary to remove the prohibition on crossbow hunting.
Section 7 & 8. This language strikes the confusing current law dealing with hunting ammunition restrictions and replaces it with simplified language that allows the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to regulate as needed. This also prevents the need for constant law changes as ammunition technology advances.
Section 9. Would allow the use of artificial lights for the hunting of coyote at night.
Section 10. Part of the language necessary to remove the prohibition on crossbow hunting.
Section 11. Under current law there is a prohibition for the use of dogs during the modern gun season for deer. There is one exemption for waterfowl hunter in the coastal zone only. This language would remove the statutory prohibitions and allow the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to regulate the use of dogs for upland and waterfowl hunting should the seasons overlap.
Section 12. Would remove the statutory prohibition on moose hunting.Section 13. Would remove the requirement that guns must be enclosed on a public way. This is a very troublesome law for hunters that are not aware of the requirement as they traverse through hunting areas. Furthermore, there is no safety issues that justify this particular legal requirement. GOAL also argues that the only reasoning behind it is to force us to hide who we are. No other sector of society would ever have to face such a requirement.
An Act Relative to the Use of Crossbows
Massachusetts hunting laws prohibit the use of crossbows under section 69 of chapter 131 “…by any person other than a person who is permanently disabled such that the person cannot operate a conventional bow and arrow, as certified by a licensed physician.” With the advancement of crossbow technology over the last two decades, many state are allowing their use for many types of hunting. This bill would simply do away with the statutory prohibition and allow the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to regulate their use as they do with standard archery equipment. Click here for more information
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