Information about GOAL's Current Legislative Efforts & How You Can Help
GOAL's 2017 - 2018 Legislation
An Act Clarifying Firearms Oversight *New* S.1326
This bill removes regulatory authority from the attorney general via consumer protection laws. Click here for more information on this bill
An Act Relative to the Sale of Firearms *New* S.1316
This bill does away with the terms "copies & duplicates" in the definition of "assault weapon" laws. Click here for more information on this bill
An Act Relative to Defensive Electric Devices *New*
This legislation will repeal the statutory prohibition on stun guns. Click here for more information on this bill
An Act Relative to Return of Property *New*
Ever since the infamous promulgation of the Attorney General's handgun regulations nearly twenty years ago there have been problems with licensed retailers, bonded warehouses, gunsmiths, etc. being able to return lawfully owned property. This problem has now been extremely exacerbated with the new interpretations covering so-called assault weapons from the current Massachusetts Attorney General. This piece of legislation merely seeks to clarify that it is lawful to return a citizens property from these various licensed entities. Click here for more information on this bill
An Act Relative to Violent Protection Order Violations *New*
There has been a long-standing problem with the safety of those who obtain legitimate protections orders, being mostly that the paper does nothing to protect those people. This legislation would require the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to publish materials regarding lawful self-defense opportunities. These materials would explain a citizens options and how to obtain those options. The bill would also establish legal protections for those, having obtained a protection order, should they have to use some type of force to defend themselves. Click here for more information on this bill
An Act Relative to Non-Resident Firearm Licensing
Lawful citizens who are not technically a resident of Massachusetts face many restrictions placed on their civil rights in the Commonwealth even after they obtain a non-resident license to carry. This bill begins to address some of those issues by allowing people who own property or businesses in the Commonwealth to apply for a "resident" firearm license. Click here for more information on this bill
An Act Relative to Previously Licensed Gun Owners
In 1998 the MA legislature passed one of the most oppressive anti-civil rights laws in modern history, nearly one million previously licensed gun owners had their Second Amendment civil rights stripped away. This was predominately done by retroactively applying minor misdemeanors to the prohibited person status. This bill would simply allow citizens to obtain firearm licenses they previously held (essentially grandfathering) providing they have not committed any prohibiting acts since the passage of the law. Click here for more information on this bill
An Act Relative to Fair Licensing
This legislation will do away with LTC restrictions and makes the license " shall issue" for anyone who is not a prohibited person. Click here for more information on this bill.
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 S.1322
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
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
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 S.1321
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
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.3Ú4 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 S.1541
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 S.1540
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
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.
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 S.437
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.
Alerts - Action Center
During any two year legislative session it's normal to have legislation "in play" that we ask our members to take action on.
This can include legislation that we support and are advocating for, or legislation that seeks to suppress our Second Amendment civil rights in one way or another.
We have a dedicated "Action Center" page that we urge our members to bookmark and check regularly, it includes any and all legislation and other issues which need to be discussed with your legislative representatives.
GOAL At The State House
GOAL employs a registered lobbyist who maintains a close watch on firearms and sporting related legislation pending before the Massachusetts General Court. GOAL offers testimony at public hearings and communicates our position in writing to the members of the legislature. GOAL sponsors bills each legislative session to make necessary improvements to our state's firearms laws.
Recognizing that the GOAL staff cannot make changes to the laws by themselves, however, we work closely with our members to see that they take an active part in the legislative process. We keep in constant communication with our members through our website, social media outlets, Friday News weekly e-mail, and via email alerts.
GOAL encourages its members to take an active interest in the legislative process. We work with affiliated clubs through our Club Representative program. We also organize members in various grassroots campaigns for legislative reform with themes such as letter writing, phone calls and legislative contact in the community.
GOAL members often take an active interest in the legislative and political processes. We provide our members with information on candidates for office and their views on firearms related policies.
We ask any person seeking elected office to fill out our candidate questionnaire. We use this information to grade new candidates, this information is shared on our different candidate ratings pages.
We also grade current legislators on their voting record and which legislation they support (and how they supported it).
Legislators who seek endorsement from GOAL should contact GOAL Executive Director Jim Wallace.
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