The proposed legislation, H3264 "An Act Relative to Civil Rights and Public Safety" should be viewed as a complete rewrite of the Massachusetts gun laws.
Current gun law in Massachusetts does not do enough to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals. Instead, it overburdens law-abiding citizens who seek to own a firearm legally. The Bartley-Fox Act (1974) and The Gun Control Act of 1998 are combining to take guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens in the name of protecting the peace, instead of protecting people from violent criminals.
We need to keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals by reforming our gun laws to make them clear, comprehensive and effective. They should be tough on criminals and easy to enforce.
Our gun laws should do more to respect the individual right of every citizen of the United States to keep and bear arms. We believe we can do both.
Here's how our reform would strengthen our criminal laws:
- It creates a special unit of the State Police, known as the Criminal Firearms and Trafficking Division, that will be attached to the Department of the Attorney General and will assist that office with the investigation and prosecution of all crimes of violence involving the criminal use of a firearm and intrastate firearms trafficking.
- It will create tough laws to punish prohibited persons who are in possession of firearms.
- Creating laws regarding breaking and entering with the intent to steal a firearm.
- Creating clear to understand unlawful transfer laws.
- Creating laws to punish those engaged in unlawful intrastate commerce of firearms.
- Creating laws preventing the unlawful confiscation of firearms.
- Creating laws regarding the use of a "Deceptive Weapon."
- Creating a separate definition section for the criminal enforcement chapter.
- Creating a "State Firearm Crime."
Here's what our reform would do to enhance individual rights:
- Make it very clear that there is an individual civil right to keep and bear arms and that the government must operate under that presumption.
- Reduce the number and types of firearm licenses (currently four) to one.
- Create understandable and commonsense terminology that is currently used and understood by the firearms owning community.
- Create a new definition of a "Prohibited Person" and using that term throughout the laws as the means of legitimately denying a citizen a firearm license.
- Make the rights inherent for the license based on the age of the holder rather than having to acquire a new license at a particular age.
- Remove the authority of local licensing agents to deny a persons civil rights without due process.
- Remove the laws regarding the state licensing of retailers already licensed by the federal government.
- Create clearer language for the judicial review process of a denied license.
- Remove jail sentences for lawful possession infractions and moving any jailable offenses to the criminal enforcement chapter.
- Remove restrictive storage laws that have been found to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Making laws easier to understand and find by separating into concise short sections those that are unnecessarily long and complicated..
We believe we can do both.