One year ago, Massachusetts Representative Michael Day started a “Gun Law Listening Tour.” I attended eight of the 11 stops and wrote about them here on the pages of News2A. Around the one-year anniversary of the Bruen decision, the Mass. House bill dropped. Rep Day and his ilk waited to see what states like New York and New Jersey were doing, then took all of the worst parts and put them together. They also posted a photo of Rep Day with Gabby Giffords in his office in Boston. Rumor has it that she gave him some proposed legislation and a healthy check for services rendered.
Last week, the Mass Senate dropped their version of the “SAFER Act” bill. The Senate version of the bill was only 35 pages versus the House bill at 141 pages. But that does not mean it was any better. Supposedly the Senate is going cram through a vote on it this Thursday, February 1.
Gun Owners’ Action League got the bill this past Thursday and spent Friday feverishly going through the proposed bill trying to figure out what’s in it before the senate votes on it one week after the the bill comes out. They’ve been updating their website and sending alerts out to their members. The Senate wants to move quickly on this because last summer when gun owners in the Bay State got word of the house bill, there was all sorts of action and ruckus going on. Gun owners were calling and writing to their legislators. There were yard signs popping up, opposing the bill all over the state. I’m sure the Senate does not want that to happen to them.
The Senate version of the bill does not have things like a live fire training requirement or a written exam. But it does go on to ban all so-called “assault weapons.” The bill aims to eliminate the ability of law-abiding, background-check-passing citizens to be able to build their own firearm. It doesn’t allow any AR-15 style rifles made after 1994. There is no grandfathering of post-1994 rifles.
There is a lot of nonsense in the bill as well. They want to go after “Glock switches” or “selector switches” and “auto sears.” However, almost anyone in the gun community knows that machine guns have been banned and regulated since the National Firearm Act of 1934. And again under President Ronald Regan in 1986. I guess they want to take something that’s already illegal and make it “really illegal.”
There is a section where they expand the definition of a “firearm industry member.” That definition is going to be anyone that owns and uses firearms. But they also want to include any company that makes shirts with pro-gun images and wording. If you are wearing a pro-gun shirt and they do not want you to wear a pro-gun shirt, it seems to me that is a First Amendment violation as well.
Of course, they want to go after the firearms industry for advertising to minors. In Massachusetts anyone that is under 15 cannot legally or lawfully obtain a firearms identification card or possess any sort of firearm.
Currently in Massachusetts, it is illegal to discharge a firearm within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling unless you have the occupants permission to shoot. There is a section of the bill that says that it is going to be illegal to fire at a dwelling or a building in use. I don’t know anyone in the firearm industry that uses their house as a backstop for a shooting range. So it seems to me that they want to make “drive-by shootings” illegal. Which I believe they already are.
There is a section on gun violence prevention to focus on communities that have “disproportionately been affected by gun violence.” They want to create a commission to study the sources of gun violence prevention funding to reduce the impact of gun violence in communities of color. It also has a section that directs the Department of Public Health to develop a pilot program to promote gun safety awareness and firearms licensing education. I believe it had this before, but the state has not done anything to start a program to teach people about firearm safety, firearm safety awareness, or how to obtain a firearm identification card or license to carry. Where they plan on getting this money, they do not mention.
To top it all off, the graphic that the Massachusetts senate used, they called “Putting the Pieces Together on Gun Safety.” The graphic is below. They use a padlock for the letter “a.” Very cute. The ironic part of the graphic to me is that the puzzle pieces do not even go together. There are two rectangles that are not connected to the puzzle pieces. There is one puzzle piece that is not connected to any of the other puzzle pieces. Whoever made this graphic should be fired and not get their state pension.
It seems to me this puzzle graphic is very much like the Senate bill. It might look good but it’s not going to work.