By Bob Katzen
The House 120-33, approved an amendment that makes changes to the Bay State’s gun laws. The amendment was attached to a separate bond bill. The changes were proposed in response to a recent Supreme Court ruling in in New York Pistol and Riffle vs Bruen, that a state licensing authority could not ask applicants applying for a license to carry firearms to demonstrate they have a special need or proper cause to carry a firearm. The court also ruled that the licensing authority could not have unfettered discretion to decide whether that proper cause existed.
The amendment reflects the court decision and eliminates the requirement that applicants demonstrate a “good reason” to apply for a license to carry and replaces existing, discretionary “may-issue” language with specific objective standards by removing language that gives local police chiefs discretion to decide who is unsuitable for a license. The amendment replaces it with more codified specific standards that require “reliable, articulable and credible information that the applicant has exhibited or engaged in behavior suggesting that, if issued a license, they may create a risk to public safety or a risk of danger to their self or others.”
Other provisions reduce the amount of time a gun license is valid from six to three years; codify a requirement for an in-person interview with a licensing authority before someone can obtain a gun license; and prohibit giving a license to persons currently subject to a temporary or permanent harassment prevention order and persons who pose a risk of danger to themselves or others by having a firearm.
“Today’s action provides our licensing authorities with the clarity they need in the wake of the Bruen decision, and tells them that we continue to believe in them and to rely upon them to ensure that, while responsible gun owners will continue to receive the license to own firearms, those who cannot be entrusted with a deadly weapon will not be legally permitted to possess one,” said amendment sponsor Rep. Mike Day (D-Stoneham).
“The Massachusetts House voted on a judicial technology bond bill that included some drastic changes to the commonwealth’s gun licensing scheme,” was the response posted on the website of the Gun Owner’s Action League (GOAL). “In a surprise move that surprised no one, with no warning the Democratic leadership proposed the amendment, which had nothing to do with the bill, in the morning and by the afternoon rammed it through. Although Republican leadership attempted to block the amendment, in the end it was included and the bill unfortunately passed with, disappointingly, some bipartisan support.”
(A Yes” vote is for the amendment. A “No” vote is against it).
Rep. Christine Barber Yes Rep. Mike Connolly Yes Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven Yes