ERPO SPONSOR ADMITS BILL POORLY DRAFTED; GOAL POINTS OUT THAT LAWS ALREADY ON THE BOOKS
BOSTON – In advance of Wednesday’s anticipated vote on firearm confiscation legislation, GOAL continues to express dire concerns about the constitutionality of the recently redrafted “Extreme Risk Protection Order” bill. The bill, originally filed by Rep. Marjory Decker and promoted as legislation to prevent suicides and identify the next mass murderer, was stripped of all references to those subject matters or any reference to mental health.
In response to raising these earnest questions about constitutionality and content of the legislation, GOAL was accused by the bill’s sponsor – in a State House News story – of spreading “hysteria.” In the same news story, Rep. Decker confessed that many parts of her gun confiscation bill were “duplicative of laws already on the books” a point GOAL has made since day one. This poor drafting resulted in the stripped-down gun confiscation bill that was rewritten by Ways and Means with no public hearing and with only 24 hours to comprehend and file amendments.
“Unfortunately, the concerns that I have regarding Rep. Decker’s understanding of the current Massachusetts gun laws already in place seem to be well founded as her bill has been completely re-written,” said Jim Wallace Executive Director of GOAL. “The problem now is that the remaining pieces are still duplicative, are far too vague, and have virtually no standards of evidence or protections for the accused. It’s a constitutional nightmare.”
Under current law in MA, local police departments can utilize their authority to revoke a firearms license on a moment’s notice. Additionally, Massachusetts law currently removes a gun owner’s Second Amendment rights either for involuntary mental health commitment (Chapter 123, Section 12) or involuntary substance abuse commitment (Chapter 123, Section 35). Massachusetts law also immediately removes ones Second Amendment Civil Rights if they are subject to a protection order under Chapter 209A or a harassment order under Chapter 258E.
“Existing laws make what is left of “ERPO” duplicative several times over,” said Wallace. “This is a bait and switch to the public who thought they were getting a bill about suicide prevention and public safety, but now simply get a gun confiscation bill; those laws are already on the books as well.”
Please call your MA State Representative immediately, ask that they reject the bait and switch gun confiscation bill and instead focus on helping people with mental health issues.