WBUR

Hundreds Turn Out For Mass. Gun Law Hearing

BOSTON — Gun law reform took center stage on Beacon Hill Friday, as a committee wrapped up a series of public hearings on proposals to tighten the state’s gun regulations. It’s an effort that gained urgency after last year’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Hundreds turned out for the hearing. It featured testimony from Gov. Deval Patrick, lawmakers, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, gun control opponents and supporters, and the parents of two of the young victims of the Newtown shooting.

The governor said safe communities are a cornerstone of educational and economic opportunity in Massachusetts.

“This is not about taking away anybody’s rights,” he testified. “This is about affirming everybody’s right to live in safety and without fear of violence.”

He’s pushing several initiatives, including creating new categories of gun crimes and raising penalties. Private gun sales, Patrick says, should be completed under the oversight of licensed gun dealers. And he says that the state must start reporting mental health information about gun buyers to the federal government.

Massachusetts is one of only seven states that does not provide information about whether a would-be gun purchaser has been committed to a mental health institution. And even some gun rights advocates agree that should change.

There were almost as many gun rights advocates in the audience as there were proponents of stricter gun control. Framingham resident Steven Babbitt says Massachusetts lawmakers should recognize that law-abiding citizens aren’t the problem.

“There are some firearms that I would love to be able to purchase, but I can’t, and it’s very frustrating,” he said. “I am sure all the criminals love all the gun laws, because they don’t obey them anyway. So what’s the difference if you add a few more gun laws?”

The Public Safety Committee is considering some 65 gun reform bills, and plans to winnow those down to one omnibus bill.

It’s not clear how quickly that may happen. House Speaker Robert DeLeo says the committee should wait until after a gun law taskforce he created last year issues its report, possibly by next month.

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  • fun bobby

    I love how this article glosses over the actual suggestions and say how pushing this nonsense has “gained urgency”
    “everybody’s right to live in safety”

    tell me which amendment that one is in. who is responsible for my safety but me? it is not the government or police’s job to keep you safe so do not expect them to do so.

    “There were almost as many gun rights advocates in the audience as there were proponents of stricter gun control”
    Hmmmm, I would love to get some sort of numbers or even some pictures to prove that. if this is like every other hearing on the issue the overwhelming percentage attendants will be pro liberty. show me the throngs of people clamoring to have their rights stripped from them.
    Hey beacon hill lackeys, look west old men to see your fate when you assault peoples rights.

  • Jhomas Tefferson

    Mass has some of the strongest gun laws in the country and yet there is many gun related crimes and murders. NH has very few guns laws and there are much less murder and gun crime. The Boston Globe did a recent story about how when Mass passed the last round of gun laws, gun crime went up. Gun laws don’t prevent more gun crime, they prevent people from defending themselves.

  • Sparafucile

    ““This is not about taking away anybody’s rights,” he testified. “This is about affirming everybody’s right to live in safety and without fear of violence.””

    So they’re proposing repeal of the 4th, 5th, and 8th Amendments?

    That’ll certainly make certain that criminals get locked up, with great ease.

    • fun bobby

      the right to safety! what will they think of next?

      • Sparafucile

        Piers Moron wants that enshrined in the Constitution.

        • fun bobby

          I really wish obama would deport that guy like we have asked

  • Topsy Krets

    Remember, anything these people say should be taken as the complete opposite. We here in Massachusetts are having a tough time uniting our forces but if any of this crap get’s through we are going to have to band together. Oh and let’s not forget the anti-gun crowd that was there Friday was mainly bused in and paid for by MAIG and some other lovely liberal scum groups.

    • fun bobby

      how many people actually showed up to call for their rights to be stripped vs how many want to try to retain and restore our rights?

      • Topsy Krets

        I’m not totally sure, the odd thing was that these gun grabbers took up the whole front section. Then on top of that they have these canned speeches and then they just leave.

        • fun bobby

          in this state that does not seem odd at all. its so hard to get fair treatment or even legal treatment for gun owners. this is the civil rights issue of our time

  • PaulD

    I attended this hearing.

    The first two hours (which are most important because many, including committee members, leave afterwards) was dominated by gun control advocates. This includes both elected officials like Menino and Patrick as well as private citizens who are part of gun control advocacy groups like John Rosenthal. Mr. Rosenthal is a private citizen but was given 15 minutes to speak instead of the 3 minute limit that was defined at the beginning of the hearing. Also during this period, two parents from New Town CT were allowed to speak. I have the utmost sympathy for their loss. I can’t imagine losing my child in any way. However, this hearing pertained to state laws. Why should a resident of another state have any say in this?

    Finally, it was clear that that many of the public officials who spoke don’t understand the gun control laws that already exist in MA. The Boston police chief talked about how difficult it is to trace a gun and how they have to call the manufacturer and/or go to the dealers. Massachusetts has a form/system (FA10) where every LEGAL firearm transaction is recorded including make, model, serial number, buyer, seller, etc. Why aren’t they going there first?

    Sen. Chang-Diaz asked why it’s such a burden on gun owners to only be able to buy one gun/month. This is supposed to be a solution to prevent straw purchases but once again, why isn’t the FA10 system being used to track these? Ridiculous.

    • fun bobby

      not to mention the fact that no one from another state would possibly want a neutered, overpriced MA legal version of a gun. have they explained what exactly a “high powered” round is? someone should ask the boston police chief when he plans to become compliant with the licensing laws.

    • Doubting_Thomas12

      Yeah usually I think of people who are against more gun control laws as gun nuts. NOT SO in MA; it’s nearly impossible to get a firearm of any kind if you live anywhere close to Boston. You have to petition the chief of police in your city/town if you want a license, and if you want a Class A but do live close to Boston, then be prepared to retroactively join the chief’s extended family, because it ain’t gonna happen.

      I love the case where the marine from Brookline (town just outside of Boston) was denied a Class B, and had to have the NRA actually step in to see that he got one.

      • PaulD

        If you look at Massachusetts (and NY, NJ and CA) it’s really hard to argue against the slippery slope and that yes, certain politicians in these areas really do want to take your guns.

        If you look deeply into the provisions of the bills from Creem, Linsky and Patrick, you’ll find requirements for insurance, requirements to store legally owned guns outside the home at storage facilities, requirements to furnish private medical records to the police, banning of legally purchased items with no grandfathering (magazines and certain types of guns) and further dwindling of magazine capacities which defy logic as to how they’ll be effective. All of this has the consequence of making legal gun ownership even more difficult and costly in an already onerous environment.

        Linsky was even quoted in a local metrowest paper saying “Maybe we have too many *legal* guns”. If someone doesn’t believe me on any of this, I’ll cite the provisions.

        The only conclusion I can come to is that these politicians are doing everything they can to effectively ban guns without running straight into court battles. Finally, you say you think people who are against gun control laws are nuts. This type of BS is exactly what they’re afraid of and fight against. These sorts of things have a way of migrating from one state to another. Even Deval Patrick admitted he stole the ideas in his bill from NY’s so called SAFE act.

        • fun bobby

          god help us if any of this insane nonsense goes through.

  • fun bobby

    I am pretty sure all of that was ignored when they passed the patriot act and the last NDAA. obama could “legally” declare him an enemy combatant and order a drone strike. that is what has become of the Constitution and I don’t know how to fix it

  • fun bobby

    I was mocking the governor for saying that a right safety existed. thank you for agreeing with me. Anyone from another country would probably be confused as to what inspired your rant as I am.

  • fun bobby

    good point, you can only effectively shoot one gun at a time. so then why do you care how many someone buys at a time? have you noticed that all the “urgent” gun control we were told we needed so badly would not have affected this latest tragedy at all? I love my guns and would shout it from the rooftops if that would not probably result in my guns being taken away. one reason gun owners in MA are so quiet is that we live in fear of unaccountable bureaucrats taking away our civil rights at their whim should we upset them in any way. Citizens in other countries do not have the right to bear arms and most of them do not have grizzly bears running around. I guess old TJ was not ashamed to proclaim his love of guns either

    “One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them.”
    –Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1796. ME 9:341

    “A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the Body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind . . . Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.”
    –Thomas Jefferson, Letter to his nephew Peter Carr, August 19, 1785.

  • PaulD

    Where to begin? I’ll start with the stats from other countries and use the UK since it’s often brought up as a shining example.

    If you track murders in the UK since the beginning of the 20th century until today, you’ll find that it’s always been between 1 and 2 per 100k. If you then plot when they introduced major gun control legislation, you’ll find that no positive effect was realized. In fact, after some of the introductions, the murder rate actually went up for a few years after. I have a pretty good grasp of statistics and my take is that no real pattern can be gleaned. I’ll tell you what pattern can be discerned though and that is that their violent crime rate is the worst in the EU. Don’t believe me? Look it up. This guy does a fine job of laying it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ooa98FHuaU0&list=UUaGoVAB64Ojh3JU_VPis8ig

    Next, I enjoy guns and there are plenty of people who say it out loud. I can only guess you think nobody says it because you live in MA where the vast majority of citizens are afraid of guns.

    Now let’s talk about need. Do we really want to start limiting people to what they need? Do people need cars that go faster than the speed limit? Houses with more than 1500 sq ft? What other property would you want to force people to store somewhere other than their own land/home? Finally on this, you really ought to do some research on the history of the 2nd amendment. SCOTUS ruled that it’s not dependent on membership in a militia and the writings of the founding fathers confirm this. Here’s a nice, concise, well annotated read on it: http://www.amazon.com/Second-Amendment-David-Barton/dp/0925279773/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1379692632&sr=1-3&keywords=second+amendment

    Finally, as I said previously, one gun a month is meant as a solution to straw purchases. The FA10 system in MA *should* be a perfect way of tracing guns purchased in MA back to who purchased them and where (assuming nobody has ground of the serial number, which is a federal crime). So why isn’t this system being used? If it is being used, where are the statistics showing how many MA LTC holders did straw purchases for other people?

    • fun bobby

      the other reason MA gun owners are afraid to speak up is the police chief can take your LTC away on a whim and you have little effective recourse.

  • X-Ray

    We should demand insurance be bought by anyone buying liquor in case they commit any harm while drunk. Makes the same sense as requiring insurance of gun owners.

    • fun bobby

      its more insane elitist baloney. what are we supposed to do about all these bears if no one can get a gun( or “high powered” rounds) to hunt them with? this must be how gay people feel in states where they are not allowed to marry. I hope anyone who thinks we need more gun control in MA gets lyme disease.

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