Gun Control, the Common Enemy
June 3, 2010
There are currently two groups of people in Massachusetts that share a common enemy. The first group consists of the victims of violent crimes and their families. The second group is the law abiding citizens who are simply trying to exercise their civil rights. It should be clear to all that we cannot compare the tragic loss of life on our city streets due to violent crimes to the burdensome oppressive laws regarding lawful firearm ownership. Still, it should be equally clear that both groups share a common enemy and its name is “gun control”.
In 1998 the Massachusetts legislature passed the Gun Control Act, more commonly referred to as “Chapter 180”. Those of us who fought the battle against this misguided new social experiment called gun control can still hear the echoes of the false promises made by its proponents. Remember the press conferences where they claimed we would be leading the nation in common sense gun control legislation while still respecting the rights of lawful gun owners?
More than a decade later criminal violence with firearms has risen at an alarming rate in Massachusetts. At the same time, licensed gun ownership has been decreased by nearly 85%. Those few left that are legally able to own a gun live under a set of laws, regulations and policies that are incomprehensible. One thing that should be abundantly clear to everyone is that the Commonwealth has over a decade of evidence that proves beyond any doubt that gun control is a failure.
Just yesterday the Governor of the Commonwealth said this: Governor Deval Patrick on NECN Broadside June 2, 2010: “We haven’t got any tools in place in terms of how we control the flow of illegal guns, how we deal with these dangerousness hearings, which is something we have proposed, for people who commit crimes using a gun…and the gun lobby is so prominent, so present up on Beacon Hill that we can’t even have a conversation about it, a serious debate in the legislature about it and that bothers me…”
So after a decade of living under one of the most oppressive set of gun laws in the nation the Governor is telling us that there are no laws that deal with illegal gun trafficking? If this is the case, then what were the 79 sections of laws about passed in 1998? We’ve gone through all of this for nothing? The answer is yes we have. Lawful gun owners and victims of criminal violence have known that from the start. The shame of it all is that certain political leaders are just starting to figure it out. Perhaps even more shameful is that those who are finally realizing that gun control hasn’t worked are actually calling for more of it.
As for having a conversation or serious debate on the issue, quite frankly the Governor is the only one not involved. Ever since he took office nearly four years ago the Governor’s office has refused every request for a meeting. We have even tried to meet with the Lt. Governor if the Governor didn’t want to meet with us and we never even got the courtesy of a response.
The lack of communication is so bad with his office that when first elected, I approached his legislative office to introduce myself and establish communication with his administration. It has been the only time in my career that I had my business card handed back to me and was told we had nothing to talk about.
The Governor’s mention of the dangerousness hearings is a clear example of the lack of communication from the current administration. Actually what his proposal does is put citizens in prison and hold them without bail until trial for simple unlicensed possession of a firearm. A proposal, by the way, that is in violation of a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling. One could understand that he might not know that since he isn’t involved in the conversation. In fact, just last week the Massachusetts House of Representatives rejected this proposal. They were involved in the conversation and debate and as a result understood the issue very well.
Ever since Gun Owners’ Action League drafted H.2259 The Civil Rights and Public Safety Act we have been traveling the state having discussions, meetings and seminars about how we can address the problems of both affected parties. Our legislation takes a major leap forward by statutorily separating the issues of lawful firearm possession and the criminal enforcement needs. Everyone who has been in the conversation understands that and has been educating themselves on how to best approach our bill.
Everyone who has taken part in the conversation about The Civil Rights and Public Safety Act has come to the same understanding that we did when we drafted it. It is about separating the two issues, lawful firearm possession and criminal enforcement, and addressing them appropriately. GOAL’s legislation will actually provide what the proponents of Chapter 180 of 1998 falsely promised. Our legislation will provide for concise, understandable laws dealing with the lawful possession of firearms. It will also provide clear tough tools for law enforcement and the courts to get the human criminal element off the streets.
The fact is lawful gun owners of Massachusetts care about both issues. We care about treating lawful citizens with respect and dignity and we care about lawful citizens being killed by criminals on the city streets. We also realize the common enemy is gun control and calls for more of it. That is why we are offering up real solutions, not more of the same. That is why people IN the conversation understand.
In case he missed it last time, we don’t lobby for guns, we lobby for people to protect their civil rights and improve public safety. Perhaps the Governor would know that too if he was involved in the conversation.
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