Massachusetts lawmakers agree on gun bill

George N. Peterson Jr. (R-Grafton).  (Photo: AP)

Rep. George N. Peterson Jr., Republican, Grafton. (Photo: AP)

Massachusetts lawmakers agreed to terms on a gun bill Wednesday that would give law enforcement the power to petition courts to deny a citizen his/her right to purchase and posses long guns.

Many are calling this latest version of the bill a comprise, in that the House version, H.4285, initially sought to give police departments full ‘may-issue’ discretion over one’s right to obtain a rifle or shotgun (police departments now have that power with respect to handguns), while the Senate version, S.2284, removed that ‘may-issue’ provision altogether.

Under the new negotiated terms, a police department does not have discretionary power over one’s application for a Firearms Identification Card, what is needed to lawfully purchase or possess a long gun, but can file a petition in court that seeks to deny one’s FID card application or privileges.

Upon receiving the petition, the court must decide whether the information is “reliable, articulable, and credible” to suggests that the applicant or gun owner “could potentially create a risk to public safety.”

Additionally, the bill would require the state to join the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System and require schools to better address students suffering with mental health issues.

It’s believed that in it’s current state, the updated bill with clear both chambers.

“My sense is there should be enough votes to pass it in both houses,” Rep. George N. Peterson Jr. (R-Grafton), told The Boston Globe.

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a D.C.-based gun-control organization, praised the Legislature for reaching an agreement.

“We are very pleased to see Massachusetts legislators moving aggressively to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals,” said Ladd Everitt, the group’s communication director, in an email to GunsAmerica. “It is long past time for the state to get a complete set of disqualifying records into the NICS database, and other provisions being considered are similar to the ‘Gun Violence Restraining Order’ policy we are advocating for in California and other states.”

“We salute Massachusetts for leading the way to reduce the carnage being caused by gun violence,” he continued. “Inaction is no longer acceptable; not for our communities, and not for our kids.”

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts State Firearms Association also known as Gun Owners Action League (GOAL), is backing the measure.

“We are supporting the improved bill,” said Jim Wallace, the group’s executive director, over the phone to GunsAmerica. “There are a lot of good things in it for us.”

To explicate, under the improved bill juniors can apply for their gun licenses ahead of time so they don’t miss out on hunting season, state laws restricting the types of firearms (handguns, AR-platforms) that juniors can train with would also be amended, and overall, the process for obtaining a FID card or carry permit would be streamlined.

More importantly, the bill makes significant changes to the ‘may-issue’ handgun licensing process. Under current law, the burden is on the applicant to prove why he/she needs a handgun or carry permit, which is required to possess a handgun. The bill would remove the burden from the applicant and place it on the department to establish, in writing, why the applicant is unsuitable to possess a handgun.

Additionally, those who are denied carry permits could appeal the written denial in court, something that is not currently allowed.

To critics who suggest that the bill might be too much of a compromise, Wallace said, “My job is to make life better for Massachusetts gun owners, and this bill will do that.”

The Legislature is expected to vote on the bill Thursday, the last day of the legislative session.

NRA Interview with Jim Wallace last week, before the Senate and the House came to terms:

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Bill Crout August 5, 2014, 6:02 am

    We need to make sure that anyone from Boston or anywhere in that state is denied entrance to Texas.

  • Bill Crout August 5, 2014, 6:01 am

    We need to make sure that anyone from Boston or anywhere in that state is denied entrance to Texas.

  • mark tercsak August 4, 2014, 11:56 pm

    Shall Not Be Infringed. is the statement in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, Thus this law is infringing upon the Second Amendment as are all twenty thousand other gun Laws.

  • BRASS August 4, 2014, 4:19 pm

    I wouldn’t live in MA for any amount of money. Nothing could persuade me to live under such tyrannical rule. Armed men are freemen, unarmed men are slaves. MA, the land of indentured servants, slaves, hypocrites, commies and marxists.

    • Joe McHugh August 5, 2014, 12:58 pm

      BRASS, other states are just as tyrannical, such as my state of New York. Our Dear Governor Andrew Cuomo instituted his New York S.A.F.E gun law on January 1st 2013. The provisions of this law are uniformly ludicrous until one realizes that he could go to jail for things like loading more than 7 cartridges in a 10 round capacity magazine. A judge has ruled against that particular element of the S.A.F.E. gun law but the state has appealed his decision. The rest of the law is just as bad.

      Never the less, there is a state with borders adjacent to both New York and Massachusetts. The elected leaders of that state actually consider the Constitution as being the law of the land. They have no gun restrictions or regulations with the following exceptions: It is illegal to threaten, injure or kill another law-abiding citizen with a firearm. They also discourage the sale of firearms to violent felons and the adjudged insane who are a danger to themselves and others. This state requires NO LICENSES or PERMITS to carry a handgun openly or concealed.

      Yup, the only state that borders on both New York and Massachusetts is Vermont. However, if you happen to be a mad dog killer, don’t even think about acting out on your compulsions in Vermont. If you do, the good folks in Vermont will award you an all expenses paid vacation in one of their fine prisons for a long, long time.

      Pop quiz: of the two states, New York and Vermont, which has the higher incidence of gun related crime? Yup, that would be New York, by a factor of FIVE! How is it that a state with some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation has a gun related crime rate five time higher than the next state over that honors the Second Amendment?

      Um,………call me crazy, but I’m thinking that the people are the deciding factor, not the firearms. I actually think that the residents of Vermont tend to be law-abiding citizens. I also think that a small percentage of New Yorkers are human scum that have no regard for the life and property of other human beings.

      The solution? Incarcerate the violent criminals and throw away the cell lock keys. NOBODY accidentally misuses a firearm to threaten, injure or kill a law-abiding citizen. The parole board should only consider releasing such prisoners when they need a walker to move about.

      Too draconian? OK, allow the long term inmates access to cyanide pills. They would do the taxpayers a favor by ending their worthless lives.

      Still too harsh? OK, allow the soft hearted liberals prison access to assure the prisoners that they really, really feel sorry for them. That should cheer up the prisoners.

      Hey want to stay out of jail? Obey the laws about the rights of other people.

  • listen to this August 4, 2014, 1:13 pm

    We need to look at and ban the drugs these mass shooting psychological ill victims became chemically dependent on. We all know what happens to people who become dependent on achol and black market drugs. Can you imagine anti-anxity & depression drugs? What new chemicals has been added since 2012?? We need to tear down the FDA and new laws be in acted requiring more true scientific research, not opinions of drug&food interactions. We need the lobbied FDA&drug controlled, or should I say “control”.

  • gary sheldon August 4, 2014, 12:15 pm

    The Constitution says that matters not given to the Federal GumMINT are reserved for the states or the people. The 2nd Amendment is Federal and therefor all the nonsense that states have “developed” to circumvent the 2nd Amendment are not even legal IMHO.

  • LIbertarian August 4, 2014, 11:15 am

    I’m glad I don’t live in massholeachucetts, but this is unconstitutional no matter what state you live in!

  • doug dean August 4, 2014, 10:19 am

    so in mass the demands of the police over ride the rights of the taxpayers- whats wrong with this picture? no wonder Mass politics are so screwed up- the state our countries birth took place- the founding fathers must be asking why they bothered…

  • Dave August 4, 2014, 10:11 am

    It’s a start! Now if they would change the out of state “$100 a year” conceal carry permit fee maybe I’d be impressed!

  • avi August 4, 2014, 10:11 am

    “Hillbillies”, not “hillbilly’s”
    “Its”, not “it’s”.

    Next time you rant about the intellect of your fellow Americans, Dennis, please use proper English.

  • Dennis August 4, 2014, 9:13 am

    Maybe we should just admit we live in Orwell’s Utopia of 1984 and wake up. This country is and has been walking the wrong path for it’s citizens and will continue too since they are not challenged at all. Most spokespersons for Firearms are uneducated hillbilly’s who like Ted Nugent inflame everyone. They have nothing intelligent at all to offer and just spout shit. It is time to educate the ignorant right wing if they intend to actually speak anything intelligent to stop this gun grab over knee jerk homicide.

  • aric forse August 4, 2014, 8:47 am

    How about denying use of a driver license for those who have speeding tickets or accidents. They’ve proven to be dangerous also!

  • Joe McHugh August 4, 2014, 7:46 am

    What???? The new Massachusetts gin bill H.4285 states that the “court must decide whether……….the applicant or gun owner could potentially create a risk to public safety.”
    What are they talking about? ANY citizen with a lethal firearm could “potentially create a risk to public safety”. Who is to say that that upstanding family man, a veritable pillar of the community, who lives down the street won’t go berserk and go on a killing rampage? Yup, that has happened before.

    The only reason that the National Rifle Association, (NRA), is supporting this bill is because it knows that the liberal “leaders” in Massachusetts is likely to create laws that would be defacto gun bans when another mass killing with a firearm happens. The NRA knows that it’s the least oppressive of the probable gun infringements that Massachusetts could come up with.

    The so-called leaders in that state believe that their courts should be able to deny a resident of that state his or her Second Amendment right to carry a firearm based on information provided by,……..who?. Where in the Constitution does it say that a competent, law-abiding adult citizen can be stripped of a Bill of Rights liberty based solely on other people’s opinions.

    A law-abiding citizen is one who has never been convicted of a felony and a competent citizen is a person that has not been adjudged as being a psychotic who is dangerous to himself or others.

    The opinions of others are not sufficient reasons to deny a constitutional right. Only a record of a violent felony or a judgment as being psychologically dangerous should be grounds for renouncing a citizen’s inherent right to bear arms.

    Let’s posit a ridicules idea to drive this point home. A person’s First Amendment right to free speech could be denied because he could pose a “risk to public safety” by shouting fire in a crowded theater. That’s right, questionable citizens would be required to have their mouths taped shut while being in a public setting.

    Perhaps someone could explain the risk factor as being a reason to deny a constitutional right to the readers like me who look aghast at what Massachusetts is about to do.

    • Philbert August 4, 2014, 10:20 am

      The liberal leaders, lead by Bloomberg, want to blaze the trail of re-writing the Bill of Rights. Next they want the food vendors to have the authority to deny me a sugary drink because I appear to be gaining to much weight. They also want the ER to control who should be treated based on the economic status. They also want the right to frisk anyone they choose on the street. Probably if I am walking on 5th avenue, or in downtown Boston with that 32 oz. sugary drink, I probably am carrying a gun, need to frisk to be sure.

      • Joe Beaty September 14, 2015, 8:21 pm

        You probably have your handgun hidden in your big gulp cup lol..

    • WilliamDahl August 4, 2014, 12:50 pm

      And where in the 2nd Amendment does it state that there is ANY exception to the right to bear arms?


      The Founding Fathers knew the dangers of restricting firearm possession from any class of citizen and in their infinite wisdom, they did not see fit to provide for ANY exceptions. They didn’t care if the person had been in prison. They didn’t care if the person was “bat-excrement-crazy”. They said that the right SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. Why is is so difficult for people (including many gun owners) to believe that the Founding Fathers knew what they were saying and SAID WHAT THEY MEANT?

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