An Act Relative to Fair Licensing *NEW* HD.2125 filed by Rep. Todd Smola

This legislation will do away with restrictions and makes the LTC " shall issue" for anyone who is not a prohibited person.


Bill Language:

 

Section 131. All licenses to carry firearms shall be subject to the following conditions:
(a)A license shall entitle a holder thereof of a license for all lawful purposes including but not limited to purchase, rent, lease, borrow, possess and carry:
(i)firearms, including large capacity firearms, and feeding devices and ammunition therefor, for all lawful purposes and
(ii)rifles and shotguns, including large capacity weapons, and feeding devices and ammunition therefor, for all lawful purposes.
(b)A license to carry firearms shall be valid to own, possess, purchase and transfer non-large capacity rifles and shotguns, consistent with the entitlements conferred by a firearm identification card issued under section 129B.
(d)(1) Any person residing or having a place of business within the jurisdiction of the licensing authority or any person residing in an area of exclusive federal jurisdiction located within a city or town may submit to the licensing authority an application for a license to carry, or renewal of the same, which the licensing authority shall issue if it appears that the applicant is not a prohibited person. A prohibited person shall be a person who:

(i)has ever, in a court of the commonwealth, been convicted or adjudicated a youthful offender or delinquent child, or both as defined in section 52 of chapter 119, for the commission of: (A)a felony; (B)a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for more than 2 years; (C)a violent crime as defined in section 121; (D)a violation of any law regulating the use, possession, ownership, transfer, purchase, sale, lease, rental, receipt or transportation of weapons or ammunition for which a term of imprisonment may be imposed; (E)a violation of any law regulating the use, possession or sale of controlled substances, as defined in section 1 of chapter 94C, including, but not limited to, a violation under said chapter 94C; or (F)a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence as defined in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(33); provided, however, that, except for the commission of a felony, a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, a violent crime or a crime involving the trafficking of controlled substances, if the applicant has been so convicted or adjudicated or released from confinement, probation or parole supervision for such conviction or adjudication, whichever occurs last, for 5 or more years immediately preceding such application, then the applicant's right or ability to possess a license to carry firearms shall be deemed restored in the commonwealth with respect to such conviction or adjudication and that conviction or adjudication shall not disqualify the applicant for a firearm identification card;

(ii)has, in any other state or federal jurisdiction, been convicted or adjudicated a youthful offender or delinquent child for the commission of:(A)a felony; (B) a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for more than 2 years; (C)a violent crime as defined in section 121; (D)a violation of any law regulating the use, possession, ownership, transfer, purchase, sale, lease, rental, receipt or transportation of weapons or ammunition for which a term of imprisonment may be imposed; (E)a violation of any law regulating the use, possession or sale of controlled substances, as defined in section 1 of chapter 94C, including, but not limited to, a violation under said chapter 94C; or (F)a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence as defined in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(33); provided, however, that, except for the commission of felony, a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, a violent crime or a crime involving the trafficking of weapons or controlled substances, if the applicant has been so convicted or adjudicated or released from confinement, probation or parole supervision for such conviction or adjudication, whichever occurs last, for 5 or more years immediately preceding such application and the applicant's right or ability to possess a license to carry has been fully restored in the jurisdiction wherein the conviction or adjudication was entered, then the conviction or adjudication shall not disqualify such applicant for a license to carry firearms;

(iii)is or has been: (A)except in the case of a commitment pursuant to sections 35 or 36C of chapter 123, committed to any hospital or institution for mental illness, alcohol or substance abuse, unless after 5 years from the date of the confinement, the applicant submits with the application an affidavit of a licensed physician or clinical psychologist attesting that such physician or psychologist is familiar with the applicant's mental illness, alcohol or substance abuse and that in the physician's or psychologist’s opinion the applicant is not disabled by a mental illness, alcohol or substance abuse in a manner that should prevent the applicant from possessing a firearm, rifle or shotgun; (B)committed by an order of a court to any hospital or institution for mental illness, unless the applicant was granted a petition for relief of the court’s order pursuant to said section 36C of said chapter 123 and submits a copy of the order for relief with the application; (C)subject to an order of the probate court appointing a guardian or conservator for a incapacitated person on the grounds that that applicant lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage affairs, unless the applicant was granted a petition for relief pursuant to section 56C of chapter 215 and submits a copy of the order for relief with the application; or (D)found to be a person with an alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder or both and committed pursuant to said section 35 of said chapter 123, unless the applicant was granted a petition for relief of the court’s order pursuant to said section 35 of said chapter 123 and submits a copy of the order for relief with the application;
(iv)is at the time of the application younger than 14 years of age; provided however that the applicant shall not be issued the card until the applicant reaches the age of 15.
(v)is at the time of the application more than 14 but less than 18 years of age, unless the applicant submits with the application a certificate of a parent or guardian granting the applicant permission to apply for a card;
(vi) is an alien who does not maintain lawful permanent residency;
(vii) is currently subject to: (A)an order for suspension or surrender issued pursuant to section 3B or 3C of chapter 209A or a similar order issued by another jurisdiction; or (B)a permanent or temporary protection order issued pursuant to chapter 209A, a similar order issued by another jurisdiction, including an order described in 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(8);
(viii) is currently the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant in any state or federal jurisdiction;
(ix) has been discharged from the armed forces of the United States under dishonorable conditions;
(x)34is a fugitive from justice; or
(xi) having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced that citizenship.

(1 1/2)(a) Notwithstanding paragraph (1)to the contrary, the licensing authority may file a petition to request that an applicant be denied the issuance or renewal of a license to carry firearms, or to suspend or revoke such a card in the district court of jurisdiction. If the licensing authority files any such petition it shall be accompanied by written notice to the applicant describing the specific evidence in the petition. Such petition shall be founded upon a written statement of the reasons for supporting a finding of unsuitability pursuant to subsection (d).
(b) Upon the filing of a petition to deny the issuance or renewal of a license to carry firearms, the court shall within 90 days hold a hearing to determine if the applicant is unsuitable under subsection (d)of this paragraph. Such a petition shall serve to stay the issuance or renewal of the license to carry firearms pending a judicial determination on such petition.
(c) Upon the filing of a petition to suspend or revoke a firearm identification card, the court shall within 15 days determine whether there is sufficient evidence to support a finding that the applicant is unsuitable. Such petition shall serve to effect the suspension or revocation pending a judicial determination on the sufficiency of evidence. If a court determines that insufficient evidence exists to support a finding of unsuitability, the licensing authority shall not file a petition under this subsection for the same applicant within 75 days of the licensing authority’s previous petition for that applicant. If a court determines that sufficient evidence exists to support a finding of unsuitability, the court shall within 75 days hold a hearing to determine if the applicant is unsuitable under subsection (d); provided, however, that such initial suspension or revocation shall remain in effect pending a judicial determination thereon.
(d) A determination of unsuitability shall be based on a preponderance of evidence that there exists: (i)reliable, articulable, and credible information that the applicant has exhibited or engaged in behavior to suggest the applicant could potentially create a risk to public safety; or (ii)existing factors that suggest that the applicant could potentially create a risk to public safety. If a court enters a judgment that an applicant is unsuitable the court shall notify the applicant in a writing setting forth the specific reasons for such determination.34If a court has not entered a judgment that an applicant is unsuitable under this clause within 90 days for petitions under clause (ii)or within 75 days under clause (iii), the court shall enter a judgment that the applicant is suitable for the purposes of this paragraph.
(e)Within seven days of the receipt of a completed application for a license to carry or possess firearms, or renewal of same, the licensing authority shall forward one copy of the application and one copy of the applicant’s fingerprints to the colonel of state police, who shall within 30 days advise the licensing authority, in writing, of any disqualifying criminal record of the applicant arising from within or without the commonwealth and whether there is reason to believe that the applicant is disqualified for any of the foregoing reasons from possessing a license to carry or possess firearms. In searching for any disqualifying history of the applicant, the colonel shall utilize, or cause to be utilized, files maintained by the department of probation and statewide and nationwide criminal justice, warrant and protection order information systems and files including, but not limited to, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The colonel shall inquire of the commissioner of the department of mental health relative to whether the applicant is disqualified from being so licensed. If the information available to the colonel does not indicate that the possession of a firearm or large capacity firearm by the applicant would be in violation of state or federal law, he shall certify such fact, in writing, to the licensing authority within said 30 day period.
The licensing authority may also make inquiries concerning the applicant to: (i)the commissioner of the department of criminal justice information services relative to any disqualifying condition and records of purchases, sales, rentals, leases and transfers of weapons or ammunition concerning the applicant; (ii)the commissioner of probation relative to any record contained within the department of probation or the statewide domestic violence record keeping system concerning the applicant; and (iii)the commissioner of the department of mental health relative to whether the applicant is a suitable person to possess firearms or is not a suitable person to possess firearms. The director or commissioner to whom the licensing authority makes such inquiry shall provide prompt and full cooperation for that purpose in any investigation of the applicant.
The licensing authority shall, within 40 days from the date of application, either approve the application and issue the license or deny the application and notify the applicant of the reason for such denial in writing; provided, however, that no such license shall be issued unless the colonel has certified, in writing, that the information available to him does not indicate that the possession of a firearm or large capacity firearm by the applicant would be in violation of state or federal law.
The licensing authority shall provide to the applicant a receipt indicating that it received the application. The receipt shall be provided to the applicant within 7 days by mail if the application was received by mail or immediately if the application was made in person; provided, however, that the receipt shall include the applicant’s name and address; current license number and license expiration date, if any; the date the licensing authority received the application; the name, address and telephone number of the licensing authority; the agent of the licensing authority that received the application; the type of application; and whether the application is for a new license or a renewal of an existing license.34The licensing authority shall keep a copy of the receipt for not less than 1 year and shall furnish a copy to the applicant if requested by the applicant.
(f)A license issued under this section shall be revoked or suspended by the licensing authority, or his designee, upon the occurrence of any event that would have disqualified the holder from being issued such license or from having such license renewed. A license may be revoked or suspended by the licensing authority if it appears that the holder is no longer a suitable person to possess such license. Any revocation or suspension of a license shall be in writing and shall state the reasons therefor. Upon revocation or suspension, the licensing authority shall take possession of such license and the person whose license is so revoked or suspended shall take all actions required under the provisions of section 129D. No appeal or post-judgment motion shall operate to stay such revocation or suspension. Notices of revocation and suspension shall be forwarded to the commissioner of the department of criminal justice information services and the commissioner of probation and shall be included in the criminal justice information system. A revoked or suspended license may be reinstated only upon the termination of all disqualifying conditions, if any.
Any applicant or holder aggrieved by a denial, revocation, suspension or restriction placed on a license, unless a hearing has previously been held pursuant to chapter 209A, may, within either 90 days after receiving notice of the denial, revocation or suspension or within 90 days after the expiration of the time limit during which the licensing authority shall respond to the applicant or, in the case of a restriction, any time after a restriction is placed on the license pursuant to this section, file a petition to obtain judicial review in the district court having jurisdiction in the city or town in which the applicant filed the application or in which the license was issued. If after a hearing a justice of the court finds that there was no reasonable ground for denying, suspending, revoking or restricting the license and that the petitioner is not prohibited by law from possessing a license, the justice may order a license to be issued or reinstated to the petitioner or may order the licensing authority to remove certain restrictions placed on the license.
(g)A license shall be in a standard form provided by the commissioner of criminal justice information services in a size and shape equivalent to that of a license to operate motor vehicles issued by the registry of motor vehicles pursuant to section 8 of chapter 90 and shall contain a license number which shall clearly indicate the name, address, photograph, fingerprint, place and date of birth, height, weight, hair color, eye color and signature of the licensee. The license shall be clearly marked “License to Carry Firearms”. The license shall provide in a legible font size and style the phone numbers for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Samaritans Statewide Helpline.
The application for such license shall be made in a standard form provided by the executive director of the criminal history systems board, which form shall require the applicant to affirmatively state under the pains and penalties of perjury that such applicant is not disqualified on any of the grounds enumerated above from being issued such license.
(h)Any person who knowingly files an application containing false information shall be punished by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not less than six months nor more than two years in a house of correction, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(i)A license to carry or possess firearms shall be valid, unless revoked or suspended, for a period of not more than 6 years from the date of issue and shall expire on the anniversary of the licensee's date of birth occurring not less than 5 years nor more than 6 years from the date of issue; provided, however, that, if the licensee applied for renewal before the license expired, the license shall remain valid after its expiration date for all lawful purposes until the application for renewal is approved or denied.34 The form for renewal shall include an affidavit in which the applicant shall verify that the applicant has not lost any firearms or had any firearms stolen from the applicant since the date of the applicant’s last renewal or issuance.
If a licensee is on active duty with the armed forces of the United States on the expiration date of the license, the license shall remain valid until the licensee is released from active duty and for a period not less than 180 days following the release; provided, however, that, if the licensee applied for renewal prior to the end of that period, the license shall remain valid after its expiration date for all lawful purposes until the application for renewal is approved or denied.
Any renewal thereof shall expire on the anniversary of the licensee’s date of birth occurring not less than 5 years but not more than 6 years from the effective date of such license. Any license issued to an applicant born on February 29 shall expire on March 1. The fee for the application shall be $100, which shall be payable to the licensing authority and shall not be prorated or refunded in case of revocation or denial. The licensing authority shall retain $25 of the fee; $50 of the fee shall be deposited into the general fund of the commonwealth and not less than $50,000 of the funds deposited into the General Fund shall be allocated to the Firearm Licensing Review Board, established in section 130B, for its operations and that any funds not expended by said board for its operations shall revert back to the General Fund; and $25 of the fee shall be deposited in the Firearms Fingerprint Identity Verification Trust Fund. For law enforcement officials, or local, state, or federal government entities acting on their behalf, the fee for the application shall be set at $25, which shall be payable to the licensing authority and shall not be prorated or refunded in case of revocation or denial. The licensing authority shall retain $12.50 of the fee, and $12.50 of the fee shall be deposited into the general fund of the commonwealth. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, licensing authorities shall deposit such portion of the license application fee into the Firearms Record Keeping Fund quarterly, not later than January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 of each year. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, licensing authorities shall deposit quarterly such portion of the license application fee as is to be deposited into the General Fund, not later than January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 of each year. For the purposes of section 10 of chapter 269, an expired license to carry firearms shall be deemed to be valid for a period not to exceed 90 days beyond the stated date of expiration, unless such license to carry firearms has been revoked.
Any person over the age of 70 and any law enforcement officer applying for a license to carry firearms through his employing agency shall be exempt from the requirement of paying a renewal fee for a Class A or Class B license to carry.
(j)(1)No license shall be required for the carrying or possession of a firearm known as a detonator and commonly used on vehicles as a signaling and marking device, when carried or possessed for such signaling or marking purposes.
(2)No license to carry shall be required for the possession of an unloaded large capacity rifle or shotgun or an unloaded feeding device therefor by a veteran’s organization chartered by the Congress of the United States, chartered by the commonwealth or recognized as a nonprofit tax-exempt organization by the Internal Revenue Service, or by the members of any such organization when on official parade duty or during ceremonial occasions. For purposes of this subparagraph, an “unloaded large capacity rifle or shotgun” and an “unloaded feeding device therefor” shall include any large capacity rifle, shotgun or feeding device therefore loaded with a blank cartridge or blank cartridges, so-called, which contain no projectile within such blank or blanks or within the bore or chamber of such large capacity rifle or shotgun.
(k)Whoever knowingly issues a license in violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not less than six months nor more than two years in a jail or house of correction, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(l)The executive director of the criminal history systems board shall send electronically or by first class mail to the holder of each such license to carry firearms, a notice of the expiration of such license not less than 90 days prior to such expiration and shall enclose therein a form for the renewal of such license. The taking of fingerprints shall not be required in issuing the renewal of a license if the renewal applicant’s fingerprints are on file with the department of the state police. Any licensee shall notify, in writing, the licensing authority who issued said license, the chief of police into whose jurisdiction the licensee moves and the executive director of the criminal history systems board of any change of address. Such notification shall be made by certified mail within 30 days of its occurrence. Failure to so notify shall be cause for revocation or suspension of said license. The commissioner of criminal justice information services shall provide electronic notice of expiration only upon the request of a cardholder. A request for electronic notice of expiration shall be forwarded to the department on a form furnished by the commissioner. Any electronic address maintained by the department for the purpose of providing electronic notice of expiration shall be considered a firearms record and shall not be disclosed except as provided in section 10 of chapter 66.
(m)Notwithstanding the provisions of section 10 of chapter 269, any person in possession of a firearm, rifle or shotgun whose license issued under this section is invalid for the sole reason that it has expired, meaning after 90 days beyond the stated expiration date on the license, but who shall not be disqualified from renewal upon application therefor under this section, shall be subject to a civil fine of not less than not including licenses that remain valid under paragraph (i)because the licensee applied for renewal before the license expired, but who shall not be disqualified from renewal upon application therefor pursuant to this section, shall be subject to a civil fine of not less than $100 and the provisions of section 10 of chapter 269 shall not apply; provided, however, that the exemption from the provisions of said section 10 of said chapter 269 provided herein shall not apply if: (i)such license has been revoked or suspended, unless such revocation or suspension was caused by failure to give notice of a change of address as required under this section; (ii)revocation or suspension of such license is pending, unless such revocation or suspension was caused by failure to give notice of a change of address as required under this section; or (iii)an application for renewal of such license has been denied. Any law enforcement officer who discovers a person to be in possession of a firearm, rifle or shotgun after such person’s license has expired, meaning after 90 days beyond the stated expiration date on the license, has been revoked or suspended, solely for failure to give notice of a change of address, shall confiscate such firearm, rifle or shotgun and the expired or suspended license then in possession and such officer, shall forward such license to the licensing authority by whom it was issued as soon as practicable. The officer shall, at the time of confiscation, provide to the person whose firearm, rifle or shotgun has been confiscated, a written inventory and receipt for all firearms, rifles or shotguns confiscated and the officer and his employer shall exercise due care in the handling, holding and storage of these items. Any confiscated weapon shall be returned to the owner upon the renewal or reinstatement of such expired or suspended license within one year of such confiscation or may be otherwise disposed of in accordance with the provisions of section 129D. The provisions of this paragraph shall not apply if such person has a valid license to carry firearms issued under section 131F.
(n)Upon issuance of a license to carry or possess firearms under this section, the licensing authority shall forward a copy of such approved application and license to the executive director of the criminal history systems board, who shall inform the licensing authority forthwith of the existence of any disqualifying condition discovered or occurring subsequent to the issuance of a license under this section.
(o)No person shall be issued a license to carry or possess a machine gun in the commonwealth, except that a licensing authority or the colonel of state police may issue a machine gun license to:
(i)a firearm instructor certified by the municipal police training committee for the sole purpose of firearm instruction to police personnel;
(ii)a bona fide collector of firearms upon application or upon application for renewal of such license.
(p)The executive director of the criminal history systems board shall promulgate regulations in accordance with chapter 30A to establish criteria for persons who shall be classified as bona fide collectors of firearms.
(q)Nothing in this section shall authorize the purchase, possession or transfer of any weapon, ammunition or feeding device that is, or in such manner that is, prohibited by state or federal law.
(r)The secretary of the executive office of public safety or his designee may promulgate regulations to carry out the purposes of this section.


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