As supporters of HD 4420 try to rally their fellow lawmakers behind a plan to hurriedly enact the sweeping gun control bill into law before the end of the month, Massachusetts’ Gun Owners Action League has released a detailed response to what its labeled the “Lawful Citizens Imprisonment Act.”
In a sign of just how terrible this legislation truly is, GOAL’s markup of the bill stretches to nine pages, and the group acknowledges at the outset that it “by no means represents the entirety of the concerns of Gun Owners’ Action League or the Second Amendment community,” and is instead “simply a response to the incredibly vague and dishonest ‘summary’ provided to the legislature by leadership.” I’d encourage you to read the entire takedown by GOAL here, because its far too long to quote in its entirety, but I do want to highlight a few specific issues raised by GOAL, starting with the bill’s new definition of “safe storage”. According to that vague and dishonest summary put out by Democratic leadership in the legislature:
SECTION 43 of the bill (Safe Storage Definition): “Secured in a locked container”, at a minimum the container must be capable of being unlocked only by means of a key, combination or similar means and it must be able to deter all but the most persistent from gaining access. A room or a store even if capable of being locked and surveilled is insufficient.
As GOAL notes, the language is both vague and overly restrictive; defining what isn’t “sufficient” while failing to provide any example of what lawmakers mean by deterring “all but the most persistent” from accessing a firearm.
• Who is to determine what that new definition of “most persistent” actually means? How does one quantify “persistence”?
• Why would a secured room (vault) not comply with safe storage?
• Retailers must comply with safe storage laws.
Think about that for a second. Firearm retailers are being told that if they don’t take unspecified steps to keep their inventory locked up they’ll be committing a crime, and even a secured vault apparently won’t suffice. That’s not the only new mandate imposed on FFLs either. GOAL outlines a whole host of additional requirements, including a provision that will give any thieves who do manage to break in to a store a handy “shopping” list of customers and what they purchased.
SECTION 55 of the bill (Retailers)
• Must be a licensed retailer to sell any/all feeding devices.
• Retailers are required to confiscate any expired license presented to them.
o Forward them to the local licensing authority.
o Notify Criminal Justice Information Services.
o Issue a receipt to the license holder for their confiscated expired permit.
o Notify the license holder of their responsibility to surrender their firearms and ammunition.
• Retailers must keep a record book and record all firearm, feeding device and ammunition sales, transfers and rentals. To include the customer’s name, sex, address and occupation.
• Retailers will now be inspected once a year by the State Police instead of the local licensing authority.
• State Police can develop the rules for inspections.
GOAL has spotted another major issue for both gun owners and gun sellers; new requirements for transporting firearms from distributors to FFLs. According to its analysis of HD 4420, Section 57 of the bill would require common carrier employees to possess a license to carry firearms in the Commonwealth in order to transport firearms, feeding devices, barrels, frames, receivers and ammunition. GOAL warns that every employee in a common carrier facility like UPS or FedEx could have to possess a license to carry in order to comply with the law, while their facilities would have to have a storage area that meets the new definitions of the “safe storage” provisions. GOAL warns that this “would essentially mean that interstate and intrastate commerce of lawful products would cease” and would lead to gun shops shutting down in short order, “leaving no legal means of obtaining products in Massachusetts.”
Section 57 of the bill would also obliterate the junior shooting sports by prohibiting anyone younger than fifteen from handling “any handgun, semi-automatic rifle, or semi-automatic shotgun,” which GOAL notes are all “in common use throughout the junior shooting sports world.” In fact, HD 4420 would ban anyone under the age of fifteen from taking part in sanctioned shooting sports events and firearms training.
GOAL is also sounding the alarm on the proposed training requirements contained within HD 4420, which the group contends will have an immediate and chilling effect on those trying to lawfully exercise their Second Amendment rights.
SECTION 56 of the bill (New Training Mandates):
• Written Exam of unknown content.
• injury prevention and harm reduction education.
• active shooter and emergency response training when lawful gun owners are not allowed to carry in most places under this bill.
• applicable laws relating to the use of force.
• de-escalation and disengagement tactics.
• live firearms training – to be determined by the State Police.
• Students must meet new established minimum requirements.
• Criminal Justice Information Services will issue certificate rather than the instructor.
• This is essentially SWAT training for everyone 15 years of age and over.
• No such certified training courses currently exist to meet these standards. Such a course, if it did exist, would likely take a week to teach at a cost of thousands of dollars. This would eliminate people from being able to afford to exercise their civil rights.
Which is exactly what the designers of HB 4420 are hoping for; to allow for the theoretical exercise of our right to keep and bear arms while utterly destroying it in practice.
Again, be sure to check out GOAL’s entire analysis, and don’t think for a second that this threat is Massachusetts-specific. If lawmakers in Boston adopt the “Lawful Citizens Imprisonment Act”, we’re sure to see anti-gun Democrats across the country borrow many of its unconstitutional provisions for their own legislation going forward.