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Massachusetts Gun Law Listening Tour Stop 10, Impacted Communities in Springfield

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On Monday, June 5, 2023, the Massachusetts Gun Law Listening Tour, hosted by Representative Michael Day, had its tenth stop at Springfield Technical Community College. The topic of the tour stop that day was Impacted Communities. The turnout was very low. There were about four Moms Demand Action members and only one woman with a teal shirt from The DC Project. There were pro-liberty people that spoke up while the Moms crowd spouted falsehoods.

The panelists, as we’ve seen in other stops, were not firearms experts or even had any firearm knowledge.Two of the panelists had sons that were killed due to violence with a firearm. Please note that I did not and do not use the term “gun violence.” It’s human violence with a gun. Their stories about losing their children were heart wrenching. The third panelist was a woman who works within the community. While these deaths weren’t desserved, they were still criminal actions by people who probably weren’t holders of a License To Carry.

In 2015, panelist Junita Batchelor founded the Darrel Lee Jenkins Jr Resource Center, named after her son who was killed in 2014. Batchelor talked about not having closure with tragedies because of cases that go unsolved. Fortunately, she was able to take this horrible event and turn it into the DLJ Resource Center. However, she said it’s difficult to keep it going as the funds from the state are going to larger organizations.

Another panelist, Ms Santigao, works with New North Citizens Council. I believe she said she was the daughter of someone “lost to gun violence” when she was 6 years old. She seemed to emphasize that it’s important for her to work with young people who want to look like her to be able to walk the same path in life. Like other panelists from other events, she wanted to make sure that everyone knew that her program needs funding.

The last panelist, Francena Brown from Families Against Violence, also lost two sons to violence with a gun. A part of her story is that she has paid for several funerals for her family members. Brown mentioned that 15-year-olds shouldn’t be getting guns and “killing and taking lives.” Again, she mentioned that they need funds to help pay for funerals and “$8,000 is not enough.”

After the panelists shared their stories, the public was open to speak. The first person who spoke was on our side. He talked about how criminals don’t obey laws and that no matter how many new laws were put into place, the criminal element would be ignoring them. He tried to point out that often successful people have to work hard and others need to look to people doing well as inspiration and motivation. Mentoring and building self-confidence is another method to succeed, according to him.

The next man that raised his hand was Minister Charles Stokes, who said he was going to be running for a local office. I also noticed that Stokes took the microphone from Day’s aid who held the mic. It seems he knew he was going on for a lengthy time. It did feel like a stump speech he was giving, for sure. Stokes talked about how the communities don’t get enough money. He said that Batchelor’s DJL Resource Center only received $25,000 from the state, but the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, got millions of dollars. He reiterated that the Black and Latino communities know how to handle the Black and Latino communities, and they don’t need help, they just need money. Stokes said the Black and Latino communities want to be part of the solution and are at the table to help fix their communities.

An attendee of several of the stops from Moms Demand Action stood up and spoke some lies, as they often do. He went on about so-called “ghost guns,” that Amazon was selling parts to guns, and that should be illegal. Fortunately, someone from the Second Amendment side did call him out. I looked it up on Amazon and couldn’t find a frame, slide, or barrel that was for sale at Amazon. I did find cleaning kits, gun safes, and chamber flags, but no gun parts that would be used for building a DIY gun. When I got up to speak, I pointed that out. I also talked about how the criminals are going to commit crimes despite the laws and only the people with LTCs are going to obey the laws, no matter how ridiculous they are.

Day also brought up “drug related and organized crime.” That isn’t on us the lawful, background check passing, transfer registering, training taking, responsible citizens. That’s the folks doing illegal activities. It’s a little weird that the Massachusetts politicians and anti-gun crowd (but I repeat myself here) talk about how strong and good the Mass. gun laws are, then they turn and tell us that crime is high, and we need to make more laws while we aren’t enforcing the laws we have on the books currently. Day also classified gun owners as “collectors, hunters, and others.” As if there aren’t any competitive shooters, training junkies, or people who want to carry to defend their family.

Representative Day’s Gun Law Listening Tour could make positive changes. Yeah…sure…sure. It’s possible that his assignment to do a top to bottom reassessment of the MA gun laws is going to be a good thing. At best, I think it’ll do nothing. I don’t see how there will be any positive changes for licensed gun owners. Particularly with there are pictures of Day with the MDA red shirts and Gabby Giffords in his office.

Worst case scenario: Massachusetts keeps the “assault weapon ban,” the magazine restriction, the approved weapons roster, but adds an arm’s length of newly found “sensitive places,” like New Jersey & New York, bans semi-automatics, which gets brought up every legislative session, and adds 5 hours of live fire training – as the MDA pushes for. Five hours of live fire increases the cost of getting licensed for both citizens and for instructors to keep their training businesses going. But it doesn’t give anything to the law abiders. How about getting something in these “compromises”?

If nothing changes for the positive for gun owners, I’ll be satisfied. Hello, Stockholm syndrome. With the number of gun owners that turned out, which was just above nothing, Mass. gun owners are going to get what they deserve. The DC Project and Gun Owners Action League, did what they could. They both had people at most meetings. There were some strong Second Amendment supporters, but if Mass. has 600,000 licensed gun owners and less than 20 make it to these tours and speak up, we will become the laughing stock of the gun community. Aagin.

The final stop of the Gun Law Listening Tour already happened. It actually got changed at the last minute, the day of. Coincidentally, by the time anyone got the news that there was a time change, the event had already occurred. So much for all the people that planned to come out to voice their opinions at a time that wasn’t during normal business hours.

What will come of these listening tour stops? We’ll have to see. Are we looking at a concerted and real effort to normalize the gun laws, clean them up so they make sense, and bring things more aligned with the Constitution? Or, is this an exercise that the Representative is doing so he can say, “Well, I listened to the people, and this is what they wanted.”? Only so he may ram further freedom limiting laws down our throats? We’ll have to wait and see, the second half of the legislative session will be here before we know it.

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