Once again, the GOAL headquarters is receiving numerous calls and emails concerning the time it is taking the state to renew their firearm licenses. There are so many that GOAL is now going to be forwarding the complaints we are receiving directly to the Governor's office.
"Ever since the state changed the entire licensing system in 1998 they have not been able to keep up with the renewal requirements. GOAL members continually tell us that it is taking two to six months to renew a firearms license. There is simply no excuse for this," said Jim Wallace Executive Director of Gun Owners' Action League. "Our state government has required us to be licensed if we wish to practice our civil right to own a firearm, but they have done little to ensure the system is working properly. With approximately a quarter of a million licensees paying $100 a piece, one would think that the state would have more than adequate resources to supply what they mandate."
GOAL is asking all of our members who are having issues renewing their licenses in a timely fashion to send a short letter to GOAL describing the problem. (Please make sure to include your contact information and date of birth, see sample letter below.) We will then take those letters and forward them on to the Governor so that he can see first hand what lawful gun owners' are going through.
Members can send these letters to:
PO Box 567
Northboro, MA 01532
or email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org (Please put Renewal Delay in the subject line.
GOAL also understands that some local licensing authorities are putting in place very limited renewal appointment hours, in some cases only a few hours a week. If you are experiencing problems with this, please send us a note for this as well.
A few tips for those who are facing renewals in the next six to twelve months:
Start the renewal process as early as possible, up to three months prior to expiration if possible.
Make absolutely sure that your application is filled out correctly, don't leave out anything about your past appearances in court regardless of how long ago it was.
When dropping off your application and payment, remember to get a receipt. Remember, the 90 day grace period is only valid if you have applied for a renewal PRIOR to expiration.
If you have already entered your grace period and are still waiting for your license, act immediately by notifying GOAL and your local legislators of the problem.
SAMPLE LETTER REGARDING LICENSING DELAYS
My firearms license renewal is taking an awfully long time. I had an appointment with my licensing officer on (date) to process my renewal. It has now been ___ weeks since I applied. My police department just tells me that it is in process. Because I applied before my expiration date, I have a grace period, but that will run out on (date). Please ask the Governor to do what he can to see that the system gets moving again.
123 Main Street
Boston, MA 02133
Patrick Administration Responds to GOAL Concerning License Delays
Lays Blame on Local Licensing Authorities
In a letter from Governor Patrick’s Administration dated October 29, 2007, legal counsel Gregory Massing attempted to give explanations as to what was taking place with the license application processing. As GOAL members are aware, we have been sending license renewal complaints from our members directly to the Governor in an attempt to get some action on the matter.
In the letter Mr. Gregory stated that license application numbers in 2007 have increased over 80% since last year. He further stated that the average processing time at the state level was 5 days.
In a more disturbing example Mr. Gregory stated that of the applications being processed in a four day period “…only 48 (2.5%) were outside the 40-day statutory timeframe…” While that may be a fairly small number it works out to be well over 4,000 applications per year that are not being processed according to state law. This leaves a very large number of lawful gun owners vulnerable to the very unforgiving laws they are required to adhere to.
The letter from the administration ends by laying the blame at the feet of local licensing authorities. “CJIS is handling its piece of the transaction in a timely manner.” “We understand the frustration of GOAL members dealing with their local police departments in instances in which licensees have been unsuccessful in the attempts to timely renew their licenses.” These statements clearly are an attempt to shed the blame for a broken system.
“We appreciate the Patrick administration acknowledging that there is a problem. However we are now more concerned than ever. If the state is processing applications in five days, why are our members being told by local officials that the process can take up to six months?” said Jim Wallace, Executive Director of GOAL. “With over 4,000 applications per year not being properly processed and the blame being placed on the local licensing authorities, this is another clear example of a government that does not have control over the licensing agents it is using to dole out our civil rights.”
GOAL will continue to work to resolve this issue in every way possible. One start for certain would be to pass into law S.1361, the Fair Licensing Act. This bill would begin the process of streamlining the “Worst in the Nation Gun Laws” here in Massachusetts.
*This page is made possible by the membership of GOAL and their generous donations. If you found this page helpful please Join - Support - Donate to GOAL.
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