Local Ordinance Gun Bill Opine Got It Wrong
The Commonwealth Magazine recently ran an opinion piece titled Bill would overturn local gun ordinances about H.2122, An Act Relative to Constitutional Rights. The editorial was published online on August 27th, the day before the MA Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security hosted a gun bill hearing before a packed room at the State House.
At the hearing, Jim Wallace, Executive Director of Gun Owners’ Action League (GOAL) testified about the need to pass H.2122, An Act Relative to Constitutional Rights. Jim correctly asserted that this legislation is necessary because the Second Amendment is under constant attack at the local level in Massachusetts. These attacks, (seventeen at last count) would only make our gun laws even more difficult to follow.
Currently MA law regarding firearms ownership and possession are so convoluted and murky that a former police chief, Ron Glidden makes a very nice income selling a nearly one and a half inch thick book explaining the laws to police departmentsand other individuals interested in trying to correctly follow current MA law.
As an example of how hard the laws are to follow, the author of the op-ed Margaret Monsell gives bad information regarding existing MA law. Did we mention that she is a former assistant attorney general and former general counsel to the state Senate Committee on Ways and Means? She should definitely know better.
In the editorial, Monsell states, “The bill would also overturn other gun-related ordinances, such as the ones prohibiting the possession of guns on school property that are in effect in Boston and Taunton and the ones prohibiting pawnbrokers from accepting guns as collateral that are in effect in Lawrence, Fall River, and Fitchburg.”
This is wrong in both aspects. Massachusetts already has a statewide law in place that makes gun possession on school property illegal. See Chapter 269 section 10J to read the law verbatim.
Additionally, the information about pawnshops is incorrect. Pawnshops in the Commonwealth cannot legally loan money, etc. in exchange for firearms of any type. This law is applied statewide and not just in Lawrence, Fall River, and Fitchburg as mentioned. See Chapter 140 section 131B for reference.
GOAL filed H.2122 in hopes of preventing new and more difficult obstacles from being enacted that would only trip up people who already follow the law. Adding more layers to the confusion will not deter violent criminals. When it comes to that, we are more than willing to discuss ways in which our legislature can reduce criminal demand for firearms. It’s a discussion that needs to happen, and we hope that it can begin here.
For now, let’s recognize that our “nations toughest gun laws” are already more than enough for law abiding citizens to try to follow. Adding a town-by-town patchwork of additional burdens is pointless and unnecessary.
That’s the intent of H.2122; we hope that everyone can support that.