EOPS Advisory Alert!
Once again, the EOPS letter regarding the possession and purchasing of so-called "assault weapons" is causing more confusion.
GOAL has been made aware that some Massachusetts police chiefs have ordered their officers to sell or transfer their privately owned post-ban assault weapons. We have been told that these orders are a direct result of the “Advisory Letter” from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.
GOAL believes there are two major issues regarding these orders.
First, we don’t believe that Massachusetts police chiefs have the authority to tell anyone they must sell their private property.
Secondly, if said post-ban firearms and/or assault weapons are “illegal” for the officers to own, officers may be placing themselves in jeopardy by conducting an unlawful transfer depending upon how the items are sold. In order to protect themselves, GOAL would urge law enforcement officers to seek legal counsel before making any such transfers.
In order to protect citizens, including law enforcement officers, GOAL will be filing legislation to repeal the onerous laws regarding so-called “assault weapons”.
It is time Massachusetts followed the lead of the vast majority of the nation and began repealing laws that persecute lawful citizens and start prosecuting criminals. We urge all Massachusetts citizens, including law enforcement officers, to contact their legislators and urge them to support GOAL’s reform bills to end this insanity. More information on the legislation to repeal these laws will be available shortly.
For more about the mis-information on the EOPS advisory letter please read below.
EOPS/FRB Sends out bad information.
GOAL would like to thank Representative Anne Gobi for working with us in trying to straighten this mess out, here is her letter to Secretary Heffernan asking for resolution. Please take a moment to email her a note of thanks!
July 1, 2011
Mary Elizabeth Heffernan, Secretary
Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
One Ashburton Place, Room 1301
Boston, MA 02108
Dear Secretary Heffernan,
It has been brought to my attention, by a large number of constituents and law enforcement officials, that the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security has released a letter regarding the Massachusetts Assault Weapons Ban. While this letter is undated and unsigned, it has raised the concern of individuals, officials and businesses throughout my district.
The letter in question presents itself as an “Advisory to Massachusetts Licensed Firearms Dealers”. However, this letter erroneously leads individuals to believe that they are in violation of law if they are in possession of certain firearms. Among the incorrect statements made in the letter, it has led many law enforcement officials to believe that they are in violation of law, and that they are exposing themselves to prosecution. As the State Representative for many rural communities, where law enforcement officials must purchase their own firearms, I am especially concerned that such incorrect information is being propagated as a result of this letter. I am sure this was not your intent.
Regardless, citizens and businesses alike are altering their habits based on incorrect information obtained from this letter. For the sake of our law enforcement officials, businesses and citizens, I ask that you please release a statement clarifying Massachusetts laws on firearm possession, especially on those firearms designated as “assault weapons”.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 617-722-2210. Thank you.
Anne M. Gobi
GOAL has been in communication with Representative Harold Naughton, House Chair of the Committee on Public Safety. He has called for a meeting with the Secretary of EOPS to explain the discrepancies in the letter. As soon as we are alerted to any legislative or agency response we will immediately notify our members.
The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security letter is also causing confusion with law enforcement officers.
The letter states that "There is no exception allowing the sale or transfer for assault weapons or large capacity feeding devices to any person, including police officers. A police officer may not purchase an assault weapon or large capacity feeding device by presenting police identification or an agency letter or by signing a form or waiver supplied by a dealer or by any other means."
This, coupled with the rest of the letter seems to ban law enforcement from purchasing pre and post ban assault weapons and large capacity magazines for on or off duty use.
Previously, when GOAL contacted EOPS, they said they were conducting an internal review of the letter.
We will continue to press them to remedy this issue, seeing as the letter is full of non-factual information.
If any law enforcement officers have any questions or concerns, please call the GOAL office.
Earlier this week Gun Owners’ Action League was alerted by our members who had received a so-called advisory letter from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. This letter was unsigned and undated and was in regards to the current assault weapons and large capacity feeding device laws.
As GOAL stated in our initial alert on this matter, the letter was full of factual errors and provided very bad information regarding the laws in question. Upon receiving a copy of the letter and confirming the erroneous information contained it we immediately contacted our friends in the legislature. Both chairs of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security and others were contacted by GOAL. The House Chair of the Committee, Harold Naughton told GOAL that he would be sending a letter to the agency asking that they appear before the Committee and explain the discrepancies in the letter.
GOAL also contacted the agency ourselves and on Wednesday afternoon we received a phone call stating the agency was conducting an “internal review” of the advisory letter. The Executive Director of GOAL spent some time going over the many concerns we had with the nature of the advisory and the misinformation contained in it. He also reminded the agency that they have no legal grounds to “interpret law” as they had done in the letter.
“Once again we have a government entity in Massachusetts that is seeking to establish laws that simply don’t exist,” said Jim Wallace Executive Director of GOAL. “Whether this is an intentional bully tactic to end run the legislative process or simple incompetence, neither is acceptable. In either case it is yet another clear example of the government not understanding the law or its own constitutional limits.”
GOAL will continue to investigate the matter and press the administration for an answer and hold them accountable. See the link at the bottom of this page to view the letter.
Gun Owners’ Action League has received copies of a notice sent to Massachusetts licensed firearm retailers from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security - Firearms Record Bureau.
The notice from the agency is unsigned and not dated and contains supposed information regarding the sale of “Assault Weapons” and “Large Capacity Feeding Devices.”
This letter states the following incorrectly.
A weapon or large capacity feeding device defined in G.L. c. 140 s121, or a weapon having the characteristics outlined in 18 U.S.C. s921 (a) (3), may not be possessed, sold or transferred in the Commonwealth if the weapon was not lawfully possessed under a Massachusetts firearms license on September 13, 1994
(bold added by GOAL to note error)
(Also note that they refer to s121 which is incorrect, 123 Sixteenth is the applicable law.)
This is the law as it appears on the MA website
Chapter 140, 123 Sixteenth, That no licensee shall sell, lease, rent, transfer or deliver or offer for sale, lease, rent, transfer or delivery to any person any assault weapon or large capacity feeding device that was not otherwise lawfully possessed on September 13, 1994.
Chapter 140, Section 131M. No person shall sell, offer for sale, transfer or possess an assault weapon or a large capacity feeding device that was not otherwise lawfully possessed on September 13, 1994. Whoever not being licensed under the provisions of section 122 violates the provisions of this section shall be punished, for a first offense, by a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than ten years, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and for a second offense, by a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $15,000 or by imprisonment for not less than five years nor more than 15 years, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
The provisions of this section shall not apply to: (i) the possession by a law enforcement officer for purposes of law enforcement; or (ii) the possession by an individual who is retired from service with a law enforcement agency and is not otherwise prohibited from receiving such a weapon or feeding device from such agency upon retirement.
GOAL does not believe this statement to be factually correct. Nowhere in either law does it state “under a Massachusetts firearms license.” Further, Clause Sixteenth does not represent a complete ban as mentioned in the notice.
GOAL is currently trying to get an answer from the Executive Office of Public Safety as to why they are putting out false information to licensed retailers. If you have received such a notice, please forward a copy of it to GOAL at 361 W. Main St., Northborough MA 01532.
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