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Old July 25, 2014, 04:37 PM   #1
Wyoredman
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MA proposed Police discretion to own long arms?

I have been reading from several sources that the MA legislature has a proposed bill that could allow chiefs of police discretionary power to determine who is suitable for owning long guns. Is this a true story?

I have been admonished here on TFL for expressing my feelings about MA to individuals. Lets not do that here, as I realize that we gun owners must stand together.

What I would like to discuss, is how this can even be considered by those in MA? Being from Wyoming, I can't even fathom needing permission from the police chief to buy a rifle or shotgun. Is this Constitutional if it passes?

Here are some links to the story:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014...massachusetts/
http://www.guns.com/2014/05/29/massa...ip-bill-video/
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Governm...hotguns-Rifles
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Old July 25, 2014, 06:19 PM   #2
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Looks like a true story to me. I don't get the police chiefs' position. They act like there's no NICS check for long guns.

From the Fox article:
"... Ed Davis, and several other chiefs, told FoxNews.com that the organization’s 351 chiefs are willing to work with legislators to find a compromise..."

A compromise?? Are the MA gun owners getting something in return? I doubt it. Just more restrictions for the law abiding.

From the Breitbart article:
"For the most part, nobody in the city needs a shotgun. Nobody needs a rifle."

What, hunting is no longer allowed in MA? And here we go again with 'needs'.
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Old July 25, 2014, 06:27 PM   #3
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Sounds like they need to make up their minds. What do people need more permission from their dear rulers to own, pistols or long arms?
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Old July 25, 2014, 07:09 PM   #4
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The are certain places which are inhabited, in the majority, by bliss-ninnies. They invariably choose leaders they believe will protect them from scary old guns, knives over 2", high-calorie food etc. They don't give a hoot in hell whether their regulatory efforts are constitutional. When SCOTUS rules agianst them, they simply try to regulate around the ruling.

You can't change these people. You can change your zip code and let them stew in their own juice.
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Old July 25, 2014, 07:29 PM   #5
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Their scheme would make ownership of all guns may-issue. That is suspiciously close to the scheme SCOTUS found unconstitutional in Heller. Washington DC never had a ban: they simply required a permit for gun ownership--a permit that was never issued.

Notice Joel Rosenthal's soundbite:

Quote:
Any gun owner will tell you that you can do as much damage from a distance, or even more damage, with a long gun than you could with a handgun (...) There needs to be recognition that a deadly weapon is a deadly weapon, whether it has a long barrel or a short barrel.
It's no longer just about pistols or "assault" rifles. It never was. It's about all guns. Had we accepted last year's AWB renewal, we'd be down to just a few guns deemed suitable for hunting. Then they'd mop up those with rhetoric like this.
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Old July 25, 2014, 07:30 PM   #6
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It's not that simple

The police chief does what the mayor or city manage tells him. A politician with the ability to make decisions like this is the last thing we need.
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Old July 25, 2014, 07:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
The police chief does what the mayor or city manage tells him.
I have some experience in these matters and NO, we do not. Otherwise the PD is just a standing army for a little tin dictator.
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Old July 25, 2014, 08:02 PM   #8
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Sarge, maybe you don't, but there's a widespread perception to the contrary. It's common for the chief of police to be a political appointment. A police chief that doesn't tow the line of the powers that be won't have that job very long. That's the perception. According to the great philosopher, Dr. Phil, perception is reality.
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Old July 25, 2014, 08:37 PM   #9
dove
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This is in fact true. I don't feel like summarizing the whole story right now. Suffice it to say that this bill and the fight surrounding it has moved through 4+ "phases". There is a lot to the bill. Most recently, after passing the house and being modified then passed by the senate, it had reached a form that had some pluses for law-abiding citizens (by MA standards), while still incorporating public-safety measures that mostly affected those in the wrong. Overall, the MA gun-owner community was mostly happy with how much progress we had made, enough that most people were pushing the house to accept the senate's version as passed.

Among other things, the state senate voted, 28 to 10, to remove the provision from the house bill that gave police discretion on issuing FIDs (the most basic license you can get, necessary for shotguns, low capacity longarms, and pepper spray, etc.). Get ready for this: among other reasons, this was done because Mayors Against Illegal Guns said that they supported doing so because otherwise there would probably be a constitutionality issue .

After this happened, it went back to the house for a concurrency vote. A group of chiefs of police, in addition to a few antis, made a huge freaking fuss saying that *this* one change completely nullified the power of the bill. Apparently the new universal-background-check extensions, mental health, school safety, and other provisions don't matter much to them. The antis now claim that school shootings usually involve shotguns (see where we are going?) and a certain police commissioner claims that nobody needs a rifle or shotgun. Seeing as it is already the case that prohibited persons can't get FIDs, it is clear, by definition, that they have exposed their intentions as desiring to restrict law-abiding citizens. In any event, they made enough fuss to get the house to reject the senate's mods. Now it goes to a 6 person joint committee to get hashed out. If the compromise differs significantly from the house and senate bills then it needs to be revoted on by both. Oh, and the legislative session ends on the 31st...

The most important thing in the bill for law-abiding citizens though is that the burden of proof for denials of any firearms license (and, in the senate version, even restrictions on ccw licenses) would rest on the licensing officer when challenged. Everyone hopes this would be a big reform to our "may issue" by removing the standard situation where the applicant has to prove their need, but who knows how it will play out.

For more info I suggest:

http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbu...rmerly-SB-2265)

and

http://goal.org/alert-defeat-chapter-180-part2.html


EDIT: Oh, and before people start getting ideas about this being a party politics issue, get this: MA, and the MA legislature in particular is by-and-large pro-gun-control, more than I care to explain. The senate, which ultimately yielded a modified bill that many gun owners wanted to see the house concur with, is made up of 36 Democrats and 4 Republicans. Now the anti story is that that damned NRA exerted too much influence. Of course, the NRA didn't help at all, and GOAL is really the only organization we can give serious credit to.

Last edited by Tom Servo; July 25, 2014 at 09:00 PM. Reason: Borderline language
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Old July 25, 2014, 08:44 PM   #10
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyoredman
What I would like to discuss, is how this can even be considered by those in MA? Being from Wyoming, I can't even fathom needing permission from the police chief to buy a rifle or shotgun. Is this Constitutional if it passes?
If it is enacted, it will probably be challenged in federal court, where it may or may not be struck down. After all, it's not a "ban" or a prohibition, it's just an extension of Massachusetts' already discretionary, may issue system for handgun carry permits.

For those of you who don't realize this, Massachusetts is one of only a couple of the original thirteen colonies that doesn't pretty closely mirror the Second Amendment. The MA state constitution provides for the People to keep and bear arms for the common defense ... period.

Quote:
Article XVII. The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it.
Source: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/Constitution

Pretty sad, IMHO, for the seat of the American Revolution.
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Old July 25, 2014, 08:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dove
After this happened, it went back to the house for a concurrency vote. A group of chiefs of police, in addition to a few antis, made a huge freaking fuss saying that *this* one change completely nullified the power of the bill. Apparently the new universal-background-check extensions, mental health, school safety, and other provisions don't matter much to them. The antis now claim that school shootings usually involve shotguns (see where we are going?) and a certain police commissioner claims that nobody needs a rifle or shotgun. Seeing as it is already the case that prohibited persons can't get FIDs, it is clear, by definition, that they have exposed their intentions as desiring to restrict law-abiding citizens. In any event, they made enough fuss to get the house to reject the senate's mods. Now it goes to a 6 person joint committee to get hashed out. If the compromise differs significantly from the house and senate bills then it needs to be revoted on by both. Oh, and the legislative session ends on the 31st...
Somebody tell this certain police commissioner to take up the discussion with Vice President Biden. According to Biden, everyone needs a a shotgun (and nothing else).

Last edited by Tom Servo; July 25, 2014 at 09:01 PM. Reason: Edited quoted text
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Old July 25, 2014, 09:06 PM   #12
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I wonder if he knows that no one needs police commissioners either.
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Old July 25, 2014, 11:14 PM   #13
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"Nobody in the city needs a shotgun. Nobody needs a rifle."
Words that should be emblazoned on every police building and officials' home until they are unequivocally taken back. Any officer not speaking out against this publicly can be assumed to eventually enforce this flagrantly illegal decree against you at the point of a gun, "oath-keeping" be damned. Call it a litmus test. Hang it on their doorknobs and put it under their windshield wipers, as well.

Remember that this is the precise thing we were warned about nearly 250 years ago. We all know too well that long arms hold a much more important role in our society than pistols. Our would-be rulers know this as well. That is why we have tolerated more restrictions on pistols, historically. That is why this must not be allowed to stand. Find your officials, elected or otherwise, and figure out how to make them miserable (legally) until they back down.

They will, because they are weaker, which is why they seek your rifles. Make it impossible for them to go shopping or eat dinner without seeing the public's contempt. This will require those of you resistors in rural areas to step into the urban den of iniquity to make yourselves heard; I'm afraid it must be in person for your would-be rulers to understand at this point.

The next step beyond this will be restricting public gatherings and discourse --because why won't it be? Don't let it get to the point that honest citizens are forced to shuttle around the dwindling supply of illegal arms and gunpowder ahead of the Redcoats' general warrant searches.

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Old July 25, 2014, 11:19 PM   #14
barnbwt
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I have some experience in these matters and NO, we do not. Otherwise the PD is just a standing army for a little tin dictator.
And yet, time and again, that is exactly what the constabulary becomes when the populace is disarmed. YOU may not, but that is all you can speak for. Also examine your positions and your mayor's and decide if they match, and if you were chosen because they do, and if you retain the position because they do.

There is a reason elected sheriffs are almost completely anti-disarmament, and appointed metro police chiefs the exact opposite. I have no idea why more densely-populated areas don't have a greater need for an electorally-accountable police executive, but that is not how most of our cities are structured. Until that time, we can safely assume they are politically extensions or tools of the men who appoint them --because why wouldn't they be?

If anything, the police chief should appoint the mayor.

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Old July 26, 2014, 07:08 AM   #15
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I'm going to clarify a couple of things and then get out of this thread.

I'm the X/O to a elected Chief in a 'military base town. He is a hell of a good guy and a gunnie from way back. We've already made it clear to the powers that be that there will be no gun confiscation, door-to-door "Are there firearms in the home?" inquiries, etc.. City Admin is a shooter too. Mayor is a liberal bliss ninny.

Elections are a popularity contest and whatever results is a mirror image of the voting populace. H.L. Mencken said it best. "People deserve the government they get, and they deserve to get it good and hard."

Some of the WORST Chiefs/Sheriffs I've ever seen were elected and you are stuck with those clods for the full term. Appointed Chief LEO's are typically vetted by a professional standards board (I was) and serve at the pleasure of a City Council. At least they can get rid of a dud w/o a drawn-out impeachment process.
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Old July 28, 2014, 03:29 PM   #16
Wyoredman
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Well, thanks for the replies. Sorry I haven't posted again, I was pretty busy this weekend.

Dove, Thanks for the explanation.

It appears you are in the know about MA politics and gun laws.

I am still not quite sure how our country has become so polarized when it comes to the Second Amendment. It seems that urban populated areas have been gaining more and more political power. As these areas have amassed population and political clout, rural areas of the country have been left in the past? What I mean, do the majority of citizens of MA really believe that the Police Chiefs should have this authority? Do people living there really think that giving one person such power over a Constitutional Right is going to make their lives better and improve the future for their children?

It must be so, otherwise the folks would not allow such a bill to have gotten this far without public outcry! I know for a fact that if such a law was proposed in my state, the politicians that proposed it would be run out of town on a rail!

I think we all, as gun owners, need to look at what is going on in MA and rethink the "will of the people" as it stands in our own districts.

I am very scared!
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Old July 28, 2014, 03:35 PM   #17
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Quote:
I am still not quite sure how our country has become so polarized when it comes to the Second Amendment.
It seems that urban populated areas have been gaining more and more political power.
As these areas have amassed population and political clout, rural areas of the country have been left in the past?
This statement outlines precisely what the original Bill of Rights was intended [and quite clearly written] to prevent a centralized government from imposing where such power might reside outside the will of the People.

That we seem to have come so far from that principle to the point we have to ask "...what happened ?..." is quite telling.

Last edited by mehavey; July 28, 2014 at 07:50 PM.
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Old July 28, 2014, 03:45 PM   #18
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Quote:
Do people living there really think that giving one person such power over a Constitutional Right is going to make their lives better and improve the future for their children?
No, they don't,,,
What I mean is they don't think.

If you didn't grow up in a household where guns were owned,,,
You simply don't think of them one way or another,,,
It's a non-existent issue for non gun owners.

When they hear us talk about "rights" and such topics,,,
They just think we are a bunch of crazies,,,
That's if they even think of us at all.

It's not the active anti-gunners that are our true problem,,,
We can and I hope will defeat them on constitutional grounds.

It's the vast number of oblivious people who don't care one way or the other,,,
They are the dangerous ones because their anti-gun votes can be attained through the promises of a "safe non-scary society".

Sometimes I'm glad I'm old.

Aarond

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Old July 28, 2014, 04:01 PM   #19
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I just wanted to clarify a point that I think got muddled in my previous post. MA gun owners and 2A advocates are a minority. In general, there is little hope at the state level here, c.f. the steamrolling laws in 1998. However, a pro-gun-control senate that is 90% Democrats voted to strike the new prospect of suitability on FIDs with support from MAIG (Bloomberg) who saw it as a constitutional issue!

So, the point here is that it is another minority, a minority of police chiefs plus a few very very extreme gun control advocates (more extreme than MAIG apparently), that managed exert a lot of power here and gum up what is, by and large, a gun-violence public-safety bill that most gun-control advocates would back. Of course, now that they have exerted that power, they have the media and language on their side. It will be very interesting to see what happens in committee as the senate doesn't seem to be buying it. In particular, the head of the public safety senate committee (who got the advice from MAIG) is on the concurrence committee and isn't likely to budge. Some senators are now talking about a suitability standard that is less vague and less broadly discretionary. It is the house reps that we have to worry about at this point. There is a lot of speculation that DeLeo, speaker of the house, has been putting a lot of pressure on the house reps to make this happen the way he wants it. You know, the sort of "move your desk to the basement" pressure. There is purported evidence that this sort of thing happened in 1998 when MA passed all of its worst gun control. Also, this DeLeo happens to currently be under federal investigation for corruption.
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Old August 6, 2014, 11:09 AM   #20
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As an update for those interested but not following elsewhere, this came out of the compromise committee and passed in both the senate and house and was signed by the governor. The compromise on FID suitability was to add:

Quote:
A determination of unsuitability shall be based on a preponderance of evidence that 705 there exists: (A) reliable, articulable, and credible information that the applicant has exhibited or 706 engaged in behavior to suggest the applicant could potentially create a risk to public safety; or 707 (B) existing factors that suggest that the applicant could potentially create a risk to public safety.
We'll see how it gets interpreted. The extreme antis that started the fuss aren't happy with this but grudgingly accepted it as a compromise. The governor is upset that the bill didn't include one-gun-a-month, among other things, but signed it. "A step in the right direction" as they say. The rest of us are keeping our fingers crossed that this was a step in our direction, and not the opposite. Time will tell.
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Old August 6, 2014, 04:16 PM   #21
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^^^ Compromise committee?
What did the law abiding gun owners get?

Pfft....what compromise? Just more regulations.
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Old August 6, 2014, 05:09 PM   #22
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Dove,

Is there a mechanism for someone "determined unsuitable" to have a hearing to correct the record?

Who's the ultimate "Determiner"? Judge, police chief, who? One man?

"Behavior to suggest potential risk to public safety" means what? Belonging to the NRA, a shooting club? A Hunter? Could all this be a "behavior to suggest a potential risk to public safety"? Belonging to an opposing party during an election cycle? Could that be enough to get you on the banned list?

WOW! What a sham! I'm sure glad I live in Wyoming.
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Old August 6, 2014, 05:26 PM   #23
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Compromise -> "concurrency", this is the 6 person committee that was created to resolve the dispute between the house and senate versions of the bill

The one man who makes the call is the Chief of Police of the licensing town, but this power is usually handed down to a licensing officer. The big "compromise" legal gun owners got in this bill---in both the house and senate versions, but stronger in the senate and final versions---is that a denial or restriction can be appealed to a court and the burden of proof will rest with the CoP. We're hoping this dismantles blanket "always restrict" town policies.
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Old August 7, 2014, 09:16 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dove
The big "compromise" legal gun owners got in this bill... is that a denial or restriction can be appealed to a court and the burden of proof will rest with the CoP. We're hoping this dismantles blanket "always restrict" town policies.
As the old saying goes... Who is this "we", paleface?

As with the proverbial fellow making that statement, I just don't see how this bill is a Good Thing for us in ANY way. In fact, I think the comparison is very striking. ("We can all agree that our group gets all of the power and gets to make all the decisions, and your group gets very little in return. But that's OK, there will be bureaucrats who will listen your grievances, and could conceivably act to address them. Maybe.")
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Old August 7, 2014, 09:34 AM   #25
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One cannot May Issue a fundamental right.

Can you imagine:

Your vote MAY Issue if you join the RNC.

Your parade permit MAY Issue if it's Gay Pride?

Your newspaper MAY Issue if the White House gets editorial control?
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