GOAL Requests Governor to Cease Illegal Actions of Bridgewater Licensing Officials
In GOAL's ongoing investigation into the illegal actions of the state's firearm licensing agents, GOAL has found yet another violation. In responding to a complaint from a member in the town of Bridgewater, GOAL reviewed the local licensing agent website and found several violations of the law.
According to the Bridgewater Police Department website page entitled "Rules for all Renewals and New Permits" there is a list of 14 rules for applying for a firearm license. While there was some useful information in this list, there were also at least two violations of the state's licensing laws.
#5: If you had a valid FID Card on June 1st 1998, you do not need to take a Firearms Safety Course or Hunters Safety Course. You must read and sign a form that states you have been given the information on the changes in the law regarding FID’s. This will be provided to you the day you come in to get fingerprinted and photographed.
#13: Please make sure to sign and date the 209A and Use of Deadly Force Form.
"There is absolutely no requirement under the state's laws that an applicant for a firearm license be required to sign additional legal documents as set forth in these so-called Bridgewater rules," said Jim Wallace Executive Director of Gun Owners' Action League. "The question now becomes how many violations does GOAL have to bring forward before there is enough evidence to hold these rogue licensing agents accountable and justify a major reform effort in the legislature? Each of these violations is subject to prosecution under the General Laws, but yet not one licensing agent has been held accountable. I can only imagine what would happen to our members if they had such numerous infractions on their records!"
GOAL has forwarded the following letter to Governor Deval Patrick's office asking for an immediate response to these illegal actions.
February 11, 2008
The Honorable Deval Patrick
Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Boston, MA 02133
Dear Governor Patrick,
I write to you once again to ask your assistance in correcting state licensing agents that are setting forth illegal licensing requirements in local communities. Specifically in this case, the town of Bridgewater has created illegal addendums to the state firearm license application. Section 131(g) of Chapter 140 of the Massachusetts General Laws specifically states: “(g) … The application for such license shall be made in a standard form provided by the executive director of the Criminal Justice Information Services …” There is no authority granted under this law that would enable the state’s licensing agents to amend the official application process.
The violation of the Bridgewater licensing also adds to it a matter of requiring citizens to sign additional legal documents regarding deadly force, law changes and protection orders not required or authorized anywhere in the general laws regarding firearm licensing applications or ownership.
Since these actions are clearly illegal and are therefore subject to the penalties in Section 131 (k) of Chapter 140: ((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) GOAL requests that your office ensure that the town of Bridgewater ceases its illegal actions. We would also urge your administration monitor the state’s license licensing agents more closely in the future to assure the citizens that they are being treated justly and to avoid the possible prosecution of licensing officials.
I thank you for your quick attention to this matter and look forward to a response from your office.
James L. Wallace
cc: The Honorable Therese Murray, Senate President
The Honorable Richard Tisei, Senate Minority Leader
The Honorable Salvatore F. DiMasi, Speaker of the House
The Honorable Brad Jones, House Minority Leader
The Honorable James Timilty, Senate Chair of the Committee on Public Safety
The Honorable Michael Costello, House Chair of the Committee on Public Safety
The Honorable Marc Pacheco, Senator Bridgewater
The Honorable David Flynn, Representative Bridgewater
EOPS General Counsel Gregory Massing
Bridgewater Police Department
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