Boston City Councilor Proposes More Gun Laws
In early November, the Boston City Council proposed more gun laws that it will obviously never use to deter crime or punish criminals. Councilor Michael Flaherty has proposed two new “Home Rule Petitions” for the city of Boston.
The first is entitled “Possession of Armor-Piercing Ammunition in the City of Boston.” The proposal would mirror the federal definition of “armor piercing ammunition” already in place. The proposal would provide the standard exemptions for possession to government entities and ammunition manufacturers. The petition then proposes stiff penalties for possession that include a possible $10,000 in fines and ten years in prison.
The second proposed new law is entitled “Possession of a Firearm in a Place of Residence or at a Place of Business Without a License in the City of Boston.” This petition intends to do away with the state exemption for possession of an “unlicensed” firearm in the home or place of business. These exemptions have remained in place because of the state’s abysmal licensing system and confounding laws that very few citizens can even understand.
In general, to people who do not own firearms or know much about firearm law in Massachusetts these proposals might sound reasonable. That in itself is one of the major problems with the firearms laws in this state, they are written and passed by people who do not own firearms or know much about the current laws and the problems surrounding such laws.
Unfortunately, this law would equally punish the new resident who wasn’t able to obtain a license in a timely manner due to state bureaucracy and the drug dealer with a gun. This proposal would treat the same an elderly widow who inherited guns – and didn’t know she needed to get a license – and a fifteen year old gang member with a lengthy criminal record. Americans should not enact laws trusting that they will be only selectively enforced against the criminal element, but instead create laws that target only criminals.
During this past year, GOAL fought a bill that would have banned lead ammunition on the state level. Now members of the Boston City Council are proposing to ban non-lead ammunition. Although GOAL supports the intent of the current federal law on armor piercing ammunition, we cannot help but look at these two policies proposed in the same year and foresee a problem for law abiding gun owners in the future. If both were passed, would all ammunition be banned in Boston?
The first glaring error in these proposals is the statement “…to strengthen policies aimed at getting dangerous weapons and ammunition off the streets of Boston…” Once again, government officials are fixated on blaming things and not people. Perhaps, the City Council should be concerned about getting the dangerous people off of the streets, but then again that might be too much to ask.
Let us remember that in the summer of 2007 we were struck by the tragic news that young Liquarry Jefferson was accidentally killed by an even younger relative. The young relative got a hold of a loaded handgun that was illegally obtained, illegally possessed and illegally stored by Liquarry’s older brother Jayquan McConnico. When the news of the tragedy broke, the mother misled police by telling them the boy was shot by someone from outside the home.
In the days and weeks to follow, Boston city officials including Mayor Menino, couldn’t wait to get in front of a microphone and blame lawful gun owners for the death of this young man. The abhorrent misplaced allegation was said to be that this occurred because the NRA and other pro-civil rights groups were blocking “reasonable” laws that would stop such tragedies.
In early October of 2008, the criminal responsible for providing the illegally obtained, illegally possessed and illegally stored loaded handgun that killed Liquarry Jefferson was brought before the Boston Juvenile Court. Reports state that the young man faced thirty years in prison for his actions. We know that the violation of Massachusetts storage laws alone (Chapter 140; Section 131L) could have brought him over ten years in prison. This latest action was also complicated by his recorded criminal past. However, the results were that the court remanded him to Department of Youth Services custody, a nine year concurrent probation and a two year suspended sentence for misleading police. The court also ordered that the defendant get a high school diploma and a job. This is the results of a city and state that continually pushes for tougher and tougher laws and berates the rest of the nation for not following their lead on tough gun laws?
It is quite evident from this example that there are laws in place to punish criminals and get dangerous people off of the streets of Boston, but the government simply isn’t willing to do it. Of course this doesn’t stop the very same city that is trying to put a licensed firearm retailer out of business and in jail for a supposed license renewal glitch caused by the very city seeking the prosecution of a lawful citizen.
GOAL urges all of its Boston members to contact the City Council and ask them to reject these new Home Rule Petitions. We would also urge our members to ask their City Councilors when they are going to begin to get the dangerous PEOPLE off of the streets of Boston using the laws that are already in place.
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GOAL is the Official State Association of the National Rifle Association