This has been an incredible week for me here in Ma, the home of gun control. . . .
A few months back the commission the state had formed after Newtown came back after 18 months of study and town meetings to put forth a major anti-gun bill. Their suggestions clearly showed they did not listen to the people and simply wanted to make guns much harder to get in MA without any regard to whether or not any of their ideas would make us safer.
I attended the Homeland Committee meeting on the bill and is was disgusting to watch. They told us we needed more gun control because 400+ guns had been found at crime scenes that were purchased legally (suggested they were straw purchases) yet when asked if the legal owners had been questioned as to what happened to the gun, if it had been stolen or sold and to whom they knew nothing. . . they did not KNOW! They wanted to make anyone who had been convicted of a Misdemeanor that had the potential of a one year sentence listed as prohibited from owning a gun – for the record if you went swimming in a public water supply in college you would be prohibited. . . .
Here are a few of the other changes:
- List every gun you own ever license renewal
- Redesign our license training – State police would set up the class – NRA classes would not pass
- Make FID (the only shall issue license here) up to the chief if you get it
- List Suicide numbers on you license
- Set up studies of GUN suicides
- Make person to person transfer illegal – must go to an FFL
- And it goes on.
Well the gun owners of MA really stepped up on this one. . . .
I am told the weekend before the Homeland Security committee vote we actually shut down the switchboard with the calls. The emails, faxes and visits flooded in. . . but they passed it anyway and it went to the Ways and Means committee. . .
Things got worse for our reps as the flood of opposition continued to grow. . . .
Well a few days ago the Ways and Means folks released a new bill in place of the old one and it passed the house. . . . The new bill had almost everything gun owners objected to stripped out of the bill. This was a big win for us here in MA.
The new bill did the following:
-got rid of the Class B license (very few have it and we don’t need it)-Made the FID up to the Chief of Police’s discretion BUT now if you are rejected for a license you must have the reason given to you IN WRITING. They are also setting up a commission to set what a chief is allowed to use as a disqualifier. The can’t just say NO anymore. This is also a win as we are now restricting the chief as to what they can refuse you for, and making them list it in writing and be accountable for it.
-they made it so any voluntary mental health help you get cannot be held against you on a permit application
-Any mental health issues that you do get refused for you can appeal in 5 years
- We are joining the national NICS background system which is good I think
- They are setting up a web page for personal sales so you can run a background check yourself on the person you are selling your gun to. No FLL needed
They also added in a lot of school stuff such as police officers in the schools and suicide prevention which I think are both good things.
So we have gone from a horrendously anti-gun bill to one that I think is OK, and actually rather good for us all.
To top it all off the night of the vote I was contacted by my Rep before the vote. She wanted to talk to me in person to see if I liked the new version of the bill and should she support it. . . . She was very concerned that gun owners support the bill before she would support it. . ..
This is a huge change for MA.
Now we will see what happens in the Senate here but overall I am amazed at how far we have come in this state with our support of gun owners. We still have a long way to go but things are obviously moving in the right direction.