Charles Maher speaks on behalf of law abiding gun owners.

Wilmington hearing 8/12/13

Rep. Naughton opening remarks, thanking crowd for thoughtful discussion to date.

Mayor Christianson of Malden:  “Most important issue in last two years for Malden – gun violence, there was one shooting per month in 2012,  he went on to call MAIG ‘Bi-partisan’, discussing focus of MAIG, bans, background checks, etc…  urging committee to take swift action, to give LEOs tools and resources, looking for more federal control and a united front.”

Charles Maher of Bedford, President of Woburn Sportsmen’s Assoc: “I represent the members of Woburn Sportsmen’s Association, our common bond is that we enjoy many of the outdoor sports including archery and firearms – Woburn Sportsmen is comprised of a group of law abiding citizens, with a reasonable expectation that the laws will have a clear purpose, the current laws are not”  Charles went on to give a great rundown of legislation which Woburn Sportsmen’s Club supports and opposes, breaking them down and highlighting the issues.  “How does a 25% sales tax on firearms and ammunition reduce gun violence?”  Charles closed by tearing apart the law focused on .50 cal rifles, discussing the size and weight, the cost and especially the price of ammunition, wrapping up with “not exactly the choice of criminals.”  He went on to ask the panel “if you are aiming to reduce crime in the commonwealth, you should focus on criminals, not the law abiding.”

Nicholas Paine discussing his daughter Rebecca’s death on May 20, 2008 when a drug dealer shot and killed her in her Boston apartment while she was sleeping, he went on to ask for one gun a month, talking about how the laws of our neighboring states enable crime in the commonwealth, he also asked for Rep. Linsky’s legislation to be passed, especially the insurance, he thinks gun owners should be liable if their property (firearms) are stolen.

Mike Anthony: “I don’t want criminals having guns, but I want every law abiding citizen who wants one to own one – as a police officer on duty I find it interesting that my life is worth 15 rounds, as a citizen it’s worth 10.”

Kathy Boucher: “I am a gun owner – personal responsibility is a difficult thing to legislate, you have made laws regarding drunk driving, yet we still have drunk drivers getting arrested all the time, by restricting our opportunity to protect ourselves, you enable crime.”

Woods Wannamaker: “I am a gun owner, and a competitive shooter, as is my son, everyone in my home knows how to safely and responsibly use firearms – at Christmas we decorated our tree with ornaments with the names of each victim, we refuse to name the criminal who killed his mother to enact his crime – and I watched legislators rush to enact laws in the wake of that tragedy – although I’ve never been politically active, today I stand here in defense of liberty – will 3 more rounds in a magazine really reduce crime?  Recent mass shootings have 2 common things, mentally ill criminals and “gun free” zones – if you have 2 children, one with good behavior and one with bad, would you punish the good one for the actions of the bad? 

Mom’s Demand Action panel – (Insert MAIG talking points x4)  “it’s critical that we stem the flow of illegal guns into MA – Now is the time for a progressive re-interpretation of the Second Amendment which re-defines “arms”. 

Pro 2A speaker:  “MA is losing citizens, people are moving out, we’ve lost a congressional seat due to population decline, if more restrictive laws are passed, I will not be selling my firearms, I will be selling my house and moving out of state.”

Reverend Dr. Barbara Smith-Moran: “1 in 3 people know someone who has been shot – I feel helpless to do anything about gun culture and gun violence – we need to bring the Second Amendment into the 20th Century” (insert MAIG demands here)

Lynne Roberts: “I speak in support of H.3264 which would simplify current laws, specifically that arbitrary licensing process, the current wording allows the licensing officer to decide who is suitable or not, the ambiguity is encouragement towards the abuse of power – many licensing officers are denying LTC’s because they think the applicant doesn’t need one, or doesn’t show need for one – or receives a restricted license, which is what happened to me and it enraged me, I received a letter from my chief in denial because I failed to show a proper need or purpose, there is nothing in the law which states this is necessary – the law must be concise and specific, easy to understand and it must protect our citizens, especially women.  All law abiding men and women are suitable until there is an investigation proving they are not.  I am not a subject, I am a citizen, I am a free man, I have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights.”

Pro 2A speaker: “I am a gun owner, teacher and a constable, I can’t get an unrestricted LTC, I should be able to lawfully protect myself at all times, not just when I’m at home.”

Speaker from NAMI Massachusetts (National Association on Mental Illness): “We want effective gun control measures – there are widespread misperceptions linking mental illness and violence, mental illness effects approximately 70 million people in the U.S. – we believe that addressing the 20K suicides in the U.S. means we need more gun control laws – especially background check laws.”

Frank Ingram: “MA has some of the most stringent gun regulation in the United States, I am a practicing attorney, I have spent hours going through just 5 of the laws and I’ve found that they are poorly written, confusing, and conflicting, they also come down on lawful gun owners with draconian penalties – there are 30 known gangs in Boston alone, there is a lot of discussion about how to regulate gun owners, but not the criminals – go after the bad folks, we’ll support you.”

Anti 2A speaker: “I don’t want the children in my community going to school in an armed camp – our hearts and our faith tell us that fewer, less readily available guns is the answer to crime in the Commonwealth.”

Jason Burrow: “I oppose H.47’s 7 round magazine capacity and I have to ask, what is a reasonable magazine capacity?  What happens when going to 7 doesn’t work?  Do we go to 5, or 3, or 1?  I’ve heard a lot of people talking about straw purchasing in MA, yet there isn’t a single documented prosecution of a MA gun owner who made a straw purchase.”

Pro 2A Speaker: “Nowhere in our Constitution do I see the term ‘suitable’. – gun laws don’t work, we know that by looking at Chicago, with the strictest gun laws in the country, they don’t work.”

Pro 2A Speaker: “We’re all here for the same reason, we all want to stop violent crime – licensed firearms owners were severely punished back in 1998 and we went from approximately 2million gun owners to around 250K yet, gun violence has increased since then and our courts aren’t prosecuting the criminals – a year ago I renewed my license, I applied, months pass, my license expires, so I go to my police dept. and he didn’t know what to do, so I went 32 days without a license, I was a criminal for 32 days because of the state and that’s wrong.”

Citizens for Gun Violence Prevention (came together after Newtown): “loopholes in MA lead to gun deaths – (citing gun violence stats compiled by twitter feeds from an organization called SLEEP) guns are designed to take life, they are powerful and dangerous goods – the gun manufacturers have a motive to sell guns and make profit so the oppose gun laws – they fund the NRA who feed into the fear tactics – when did we start calling break ins a “home invasion” – we have to be careful of the language we use – I urge the committee to do the tough work and… (insert MAIG demands here)

Paul Kzynski (sp) (a 20 year veteran LEO) I oppose H.47 the 7 round magazine capacity – law abiding citizens have a right to defend themselves, there’s a reason police carry large capacity magazines for defense– in regard to H.3253, with the storage outside the home, why should a person be forced to store their property outside the home?  (he went on to speak against the assault weapon ban proposal and the insurance requirement) We are targeting the wrong people with the majority of these proposals; we need to go after the people who violate the laws.

Note: Interesting… Every anti 2A person testifying, speaks of gun related suicide as if the suicide wouldn’t have happened had the gun not been available, have they not seen how many times more people hang themselves rather than shoot themselves?  Do they really think people wouldn’t kill themselves if they didn’t have a firearm available?

Anti 2A speaker: “2/3 of all guns in MA come from other states.”

Anti 2A speaker: “We need to wake up and pass more laws banning weapons of mass destruction.”

Pro 2A speaker: “All of the legislation being proposed here is a direct attack on our rights – we have an inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – we have a right to protect our own lives.”

Richard Martin: “I am a MA citizen and voter, retired from the military and the fire service, I never woke up to what was going on until 1998 when the legislature started playing around with our right to own weapons, the rules that are made have unintended consequences, you can make all the laws in the world but you won’t affect the people that are causing the problems, only those that follow the law.”

Cory Ryan: “what is an assault weapon?  Here’s the cold hard truth, it’s a term made up so the government can enact a ban”  She went on to take apart the AWB and all of the MAIG talking points, asked the committee to support Representative Peterson’s act regarding modern sporting rifles, and cited some great statistics supporting her testimony.

Doug Reiner: “we already have safe storage laws, every time you buy a gun you get a pamphlet outlining how to do that, anyone who doesn’t store their guns correctly is breaking the law.  The experience of getting a permit renewed is a real disaster these days, I went to get mine renewed 2 months early and was told to come back 30 days in advance, then went at the allotted time and was told my renewal would take 6 weeks which violated state law.

Tom Bolioli: “MA gun law is all over the place in how it’s organized and what it says, it’s also extremely contradictory – suitability is being incorrectly used and now we want to let police chiefs look into our personal health records?   Every law being proposed is designed to be more of a burden on lawful gun owners.”   Tom went on to speak very well about the many issues regarding suitability and the way it’s currently being abused in Massachusetts.

At the conclusion of his testimony, Tom was asked by the panel about enacting a registry of people that own body armor.  Answer: there’s already a federal law regarding crime committed by people wearing body armor.  He went on to state that body armor has a defensive purpose; “I see no need to enact a registry. “ (this is a paraphrase, he went on for some time explaining why there is no need for that sort of thing)

Senator Tarr:  “We in MA have some of the most restrictive laws in the nation – yet we need to look for areas of improvement – especially the mental health issue, yet we need to be careful not to vilify people with mental health.  MA is woefully deficient in regard to NICS and the information that we provide.”

Cassandra Cardwell: “My frail grandmother who lives in Waltham is applying for an LTC and she probably won’t be able to get an unrestricted license, meaning that she can’t protect herself – she may also get denied, that happens a lot in Waltham.”

Walter Seviter (sp): “I’ve owned a gun for a good amount of years, yet last time I renewed my license it took them over two months to run a background check, I don’t understand that – 70 years ago I got my first gun, along with it came a lesson in responsibility, that’s one thing we don’t have today.”

Wayne Wagner: “I support any bill which strengthens the Second Amendment – and oppose any which weakens it.”

This is a brief summary of today’s hearing, please realize that people speak very quickly and I did my best to record what they were saying accurately.  Also, when the speakers name is missing it’s because I couldn’t understand it when pronounced, or was writing, finishing up notes on the previous speaker and didn’t record it in time.

In conclusion, we hope to see a significant increase in attendance at the final public hearing scheduled for early September (TBA) at the State House, please consider using a personal/vacation/sick day to attend in support of our Rights. See this page for more info about the Hearing and how to prepare your testimony.

Empty seats at the Wilmington Public Hearing. Attendance was way down.



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