Senator Creem seeks punishment of licensed gun owners because criminals keep breaking the law.
The social bias against licensed gun owners continues from some members of the 190th General Court of the MA Legislature.
Just three short years ago, the MA legislature spent almost a year researching and ultimately re-writing many of our laws pertaining to licensed gun ownership and firearms possession. Since that time we have seen two of our neighboring New England states, New Hampshire and Maine pass “freedom to carry” legislation, which eliminates a state mandated licensing system altogether.
With the change in law, any person who is not federally prohibited can now carry concealed while in VT, NH, or ME without the need to obtain, or pay for permission to exercise that important civil right.
Meanwhile in MA… our legislature is once again seeking to punish law abiding – licensed gun owners in a number of ways.
Most notably, early on in this legislative session is Senator Creem’s S.1298, which seeks all sorts of punishment including banning a popular caliber (.50) of firearms for long distance shooters, stating “I can’t see a credible reason why a civilian needs that kind of firearm”. Also included in the bill are provisions to enact “smart gun” technology, with no mention of what would happen to the millions of legally owned gun that don’t include the technology.
In the wake of AG Healey’s post facto declaration of an entire class of firearms being “illegal” all bets are off in MA when it comes to this sort of thing. Should this legislation be passed how are we to trust that they won’t declare our now legally owned firearms as being “illegal”?
S.1298 and Creem didn’t stop there though; the icing on the cake is a punitive tax hike on firearm and ammunition sales, taking it to 11% for the state, on top of the already in place federal tax rate of 11%.
Creem wants to earmark the funds to research “gun violence”. In other words, she wants gun owners to pay for the government to research why their “solutions” keep failing.
Sadly Creem and any member of the MA legislature who supports this, are doubling down on that same failure. “It’s gun blame” and social bigotry at it’s finest.
The good news is that a local news, outlet “Wicked Local”, has been following this legislation and checking in with some members of the legislature.
Although he hasn’t studied it thoroughly yet, one of Stoughton’s state representative is not inclined to support a new gun control proposal that would increase taxes on gun sales, ban .50-caliber weapons, restrict personal sales and enact additional regulations on firearms and ammunition.
“At first blush of reading the bill I don’t have a favorable reaction,” said state Rep. William Galvin, D-Canton.
He said gun bills typically have provisions to increase public safety, something he did not see in the proposal, adding that this bill hurts legal gun owners and gun clubs with the increase in taxes.
Galvin said legislators continually review laws, trying to enhance public safety yet trying to respect the rights of citizens.
“We probably have one of the most comprehensive gun laws in the nation,” Galvin said, “but you can bring guns in from anywhere and that’s a problem. Something needs to be done federally to bring all these laws in line with each other.”
The same story also featured a quote from Rep. Kafka.
Rep. Lou Kafka, D-Stoughton, who also had not read it through, said the bill could change dramatically by the time it reaches him.
“I’ve heard from gun owners that are against the bill,” Kafka said. “They feel they are being picked on because they are gun owners.”
He said most, if not all, gun owners he knows are conscientious about owning guns.
“I can understand their apprehension about the bill as far as doubling their taxes,” Kafka said.
While he does not own a gun, Kafka said he is not against individuals owning them.
“People that own guns, do the right thing, follow the rules, they’re not the problem,” he said. “This is something we will follow because we’ve heard from a number of constituents.”
Wicked Local also caught up with Rep. Driscoll from Milton, who seems to be supporting the punitive legislation.
One of Randolph’s state representatives can’t yet form an opinion on a new gun control bill on Beacon Hill that would increase taxes on gun sales, ban .50-caliber weapons, restrict personal sales and enact additional regulations on firearms and ammunition.
Rep. Bill Driscoll, D-Milton, who represents Randolph, said he has not reviewed all of the provisions of the bill, but is supportive of the intent.
“Overall, I am supportive of this filing and it surfaces a conversation we need to be having about access to weapons and reducing firearm violence,” he said. “Specifically, there are provisions in the bill that I support regarding background checks for all gun sales and creating a firearm violence prevention trust.”
The bill – S.1884, sponsored by state Sen. Cynthia Creem, D-Newton, calls for the establishment of a grant program for municipal violence prevention programs, funded by a new 4.75 percent tax on gun and ammunition sales. Guns and ammunition are already subject to the 6.25 percent state sales tax.
Driscoll said he has heard from a handful of constituents against the bill citing things like raising the cost of gun ownership, infringing on Second Amendment rights and not doing anything to stop crime.
“I have also received emails in support of SD1157 and SD 1889 which challenge AG Healey’s position and reading of the law relative to assault weapons and copycat assault weapons,” he said.
He said he would like to see the Legislature work on several other bills filed because more needs to be to reduce gun violence.
“The committees have only just been seated for this two-year session and I am tracking nine other bills filed in the House and Senate that are aimed at tackling loopholes regarding sales, requiring background checks for all gun sales, common sense access limitations as well as requiring gun owners to carry liability insurance, to name some of the issues,” Driscoll said. “So, in short I am pleased to see these filings have been made and hope that the dialogue will be fruitful and inform the legislative process so that we move toward further reducing firearm violence.”
Wicked Local also checked in with Senator Keenan.
“We’re always striking a balance between Second Amendment rights and ensuring public safety in dealing with all the issues with guns,” Keenan said.
He said gun legislation enacted two years ago was a compromise between GOAL (the Massachusetts Gun Owners Action League) and legislators, covering a wide variety of topics such as mental health provisions, registration issues and getting receipts after purchases.
“Massachusetts is viewed as being fairly progressive with gun control,” Keenan said. “(GOAL) wasn’t thrilled, legislators weren’t thrilled, but it was middle ground.”
He said he has not sensed urgency from any constituents looking for more gun control or from those opposed.
“The attorney general addressed assault weapons this summer and that’s being litigated,” Keenan said. “There hasn’t been a sense of urgency from one side or the other.”
GOAL’s Executive Director Jim Wallace is fond of saying that the MA legislature is so far behind the curve when it comes to recognizing our Second Amendment civil rights that they think they’re leading.
Sadly we are anything but, especially when compared to what is transpiring across the country and right here in New England. While our neighbors are decriminalizing gun ownership and halting blame of gun owners, many members of the MA legislature continue with “gun blame” rhetoric, and worse, pushing legislation designed to further suppress our civil rights.
Finally, Senator Creem was also quoted in the story; her comments are very telling of a person who would rather pass laws that punish law-abiding citizens than do the hard work necessary to ensure public safety.
“Gun violence issues have always been important to me,” she said. “I’ve filed gun legislation every session. I want to make it harder and harder to get guns in and get guns into the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.”
The bill also calls for the adoption of personalized technology to prevent unauthorized users from firing a gun, and a ban on gun sales that aren’t performed through a licensed firearms dealer. That restriction on private sales, Creem said, would ensure that all gun buyers are subject to the national background check system.
“Some of these are just common-sense thoughts,” she said. “This is not telling people they cannot have a gun. I have great concerns over private gun sales, where we don’t utilize the national instant background check system.”
For those that don’t know, the restriction on private sales that Creem mentions is already in place in MA. The only way a licensed gun owner can legally transfer/sell a firearm to another licensed gun owner is via the MA EFA10 web portal, which asks for license info from both the seller and buyer, it will not approve the transaction unless each license is valid. In addition this can only be done four times per year. Beyond that the transaction must take place at a federally licensed dealer.
There is no legal way to privately transfer/sell a firearm in MA beyond the above mentioned methods. Making it more difficult for those who follow the law will have no effect on people who don’t care to follow the law. These people are called “criminals”, they don’t care how many laws Senator Creem, or anyone else pass in the name of “safety”.
It’s well past time for elected officials to stop the “gun blame” and move forward with real solutions for the many problems that plague our communities. While a huge majority of the country has laws that respect gun owners, MA legislators move forward with blinders on, ignoring facts, pushing punitive solutions that have no effect on crime or criminals.
If you’ve not already, please see our alerts page http://goal.org/action-center.html and take action today. Call your state senator and ask him or her not to support Creem’s punitive S.1298.
Currently this legislation is in committee, should it come up for debate, or move, we will notify our membership.