Massachusetts CLEOs are bitching about a change in a gun-control bill that would remove their authority to arbitrarily deny one the right to keep and bear arms, according to a recent Boston Globe article.
Currently, the Bay State has a ‘may-issue’ standard when it comes to prospective purchasers of handguns. If one wants to purchase a handgun, one has to first obtain a license to carry, which involves passing a background check, paying a fee and obtaining the approval of one’s local police chief.
As the License to Carry Firearms application states, “A License is issued at the discretion (by choice) of the local Licensing Authority to residents of the Commonwealth” (emphasis added).
Under House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo’s new legislation, the ‘may-issue’ standard to purchase a handgun would be expanded to include Firearms Identification Cards that cover the ownership of shotguns and rifles, meaning CLEOs would have ultimate control over one’s right to own firearms any sort.
Fearing that this contravened the Second Amendment, state lawmakers in the Senate wisely opted to nix the ‘may-issue’ policy with respect to long guns, which upset the CLEOs, who by and large supported the expanded powers, and who held a rally on Tuesday demanding the ‘may-issue’ provision be put back in the bill.
“Our position is really very, very simple,” Wayne Sampson, executive director of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, told Fox News. “We, as an association, believe that it’s unconscionable that if we determine a person is unsuitable to carry a handgun, that they can then turn around and apply for a Firearms Identification Card, which allows them, by law, to purchase rifles and shotguns. And there’s no way we can impose any restrictions on that. It just doesn’t make sense.”
Sampson claims that the organization’s 351 chiefs have a keen understanding of their communities, and are therefore perfectly situated to determine the suitability of potential applicants.
“In our smaller communities, it’s very easy to check how many responses we’ve received for a certain address,” he said. “We know whether it’s a parent or a child having problems, or if it’s a domestic situation [involving a gun]. These are things that are very legitimate for us to take into consideration. It’s all about public safety.”
“It’s all about public safety” — Hell No! It’s all about control, not just gun control, but control period. Power too. CLEOs want more authority, more power to wield over the masses (I know. I sound like one of those NRA commentators now, don’t I?)
But the truth is that one of the most important questions a free society must consider is who’s policing the police? Who is holding those in power accountable for their actions? Who is keeping the government Leviathan from consuming its own people?
I’m not going to bore you with another history lesson on why the Second Amendment was enshrined in the Constitution, but to say that we all know that guns are necessary to keep government tyranny in check. And if we allow law enforcement discretion to determine the suitability of who can and can’t own a firearm we are significantly marring our ability to protect and defend our way of life.
Simply put, ‘may-issue’ discretion is disaster for this country. It undermines the one safeguard we have against those who are willing to wantonly gut our founding principles in the ever-expanding effort to increase “public safety.”
Massachusetts, don’t let those CLEOs infringe upon your rights!