Discrimination from Baker Administration Shines Bright During Covid-19 Crisis
Our nation, and state, now struggles through the new world of fighting a pandemic virus (Covid-19) in ways we never have. During this crisis we have been advised to use a number of precautions to help prevent a devastating spread of the virus. Through these efforts, we should all be able to appreciate how difficult it is to make decisions during such a severe public health crisis. What we cannot appreciate, nor should we tolerate, is discrimination when it becomes part of those decisions. Especially when those actions negatively affect the ability to exercise an enumerated Constitutional right!
In mid-March, the Baker Administration announced an emergency loan program for small businesses. The program was being run through the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC). On the original post on the MGCC website only five types of businesses were declared ineligible for Massachusetts emergency small business loans. Firearm retailers was one of them! Pure discrimination against family owned firearm retailers who have bills to pay and families to raise.
“Ineligible businesses include companies involved in real estate investment, multi-level marketing, adult entertainment, cannabis or firearms. Companies with past due tax liabilities or tax liens or currently in bankruptcy (Corporate or Personal) are not eligible.”
Normally we would share the link to the web page, but as we were producing this release, we found the page was taken down.
During the last few weeks there were many questions as to what/who “essential” businesses were. The federal government, through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), began to release a listing of such businesses. The state followed, by creating a list mirroring the federal advisories. Many citizens, including firearm retailers and shooting ranges were confused by the language.
On March 28, 2020 CISA released an updated advisory. In that document, it was made crystal clear that firearm retailers and shooting ranges should be considered essential. The following quote can be found on that release under the heading of Law Enforcement:
“Workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges.”
On March 31, 2020 the Baker Administration held a press conference updating the public on the State’s efforts to fight Covid-19. During that event, the Governor announced that they were releasing an updated “essentials” list after reviewing the recent CISA list. When that new Massachusetts list was released it contained the new federal advisory on firearms word, for word.
After reviewing the new state essential document, GOAL alerted its members. Retailers who have been denied financial help from the state were now relieved. At least now, it was clear they could conduct business following all the Covid-19 protocols. After GOAL notified our members that the Second Amendment community might be treated fairly, things took a drastic turn back towards discrimination.
Within, perhaps, an hour after notifying our members the Baker Administration edited their list by specifically removing firearm retailers and shooting ranges. When the Governor’s office was queried about the sudden change, we were given the standard answer about protecting people against the virus. The real reason is obvious, more discrimination against our community.
While we are all working together against this virus, we can still get our favorite cheeseburger, latte, pizza, even gourmet meals. Landscape companies are out spreading mulch. My local vet is still providing pet grooming services. The local wild bird watching store emailed me and said I can still buy seed. Have you driven by an ice cream store lately? Good for those people who are still “allowed” to operate and bring some money home to their family. But when it comes to family owned firearm retailers, the Baker administration shows nothing but disdain for them.
One more thing that reflects the discrimination from Governor Baker; when the crisis first began, many local licensing authorities began to suspend firearm licensing applications. After GOAL started working with some chiefs many authorities began to work to accommodate renewals through several means. We thank them for working with our community. New applications are still a problem.
Under current law, if you are at least able to apply and get a receipt for your renewal, it you are covered as follows.
Chapter 140, Section 131(i) “if the licensee applied for renewal prior to the end of that period, the license shall remain valid after its expiration date for all lawful purposes until the application for renewal is approved or denied.”
However, knowing the upcoming burden on law enforcement during the virus fight, GOAL approached the state to put an emergency order in place. This would have extended all licenses without the need for applying thus freeing up law enforcement for the interim. Similar orders have been given for nearly all licenses issued by the state. That request was denied. More discrimination.
GOAL is currently weighing any, and all, options to address this blatant discrimination against our community. We are in constant communication with the national organizations in an effort to create an organized approach.
Please call Governor Charlie Bakers’ office at 617-725-4005 and give him this simple and straight forward statement:
“Continue the fight against Covid-19, but end this vendetta against the Second Amendment Civil Rights community!”