Massachusetts anti-gunners on the defensive

Gun control activists and anti-gun politicians in Massachusetts are scrambling to save their sweeping legislation obliterating the right to keep and bear arms after ferocious pushback by gun owners, law enforcement, and even some mayors. Gun Owners Action League executive director Jim Wallace shares the latest on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, including a surprising new development in the state Senate.


I strongly encourage you to check out our entire conversation in the video window below, but here are a couple of the major highlights from Wallace:

  • Legislators are getting an earful from constituents over HD 4420, including many who’ve never contacted their lawmakers before now. Wallace says he’s gratified to see the response from gun owners, but adds that there are still far too many across Massachusetts who are blissfully unaware of the threat that HD 4420 poses to their fundamental civil liberties and even their ability to remain law-abiding citizens while maintaining possession of their firearms.
  • There are two things working against the anti-gunners in the House who tried to ram HD 4420 through the legislature before they broke for the month of August: grassroots opposition and political infighting among House and Senate Democrats. The power struggle between the two chambers is real, according to Wallace, and it could end up working in gun owners’ favor.
  • To that end, Wallace tells Bearing Arms that the state Senate is expected to introduce its own gun control bill at some point after the August recess, and while the details have yet to be announced (or even worked out in private), Senate leadership is vowing to conduct a public hearing unlike their House counterparts.

Senate Democrats have said they are interested in pursuing some kind of firearms legislation this session, particularly to deal with a recent uptick in untraceable “ghost guns” that law enforcement officials have observed, without outlining any specific timeline or details.

They offered to convene a hearing on “all gun safety matters” this month before the Public Safety Committee to “ensure that all voices are heard before any decisions are made,” but the offer never found favor in the House.

Representatives huddled for a pair of private summits Mariano and Day hosted last week. During those meetings, Mariano said in his message to lawmakers, many questions “were centered around the challenging new legal landscape” in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen that forced states to rethink their firearms licensing laws.

“As you have heard me say many times, the Bruen decision fundamentally changed how courts review state gun laws and immediately jeopardized aspects of the laws that have made our Commonwealth a national leader in reducing gun violence,” Mariano wrote.


Wallace and the Gun Owners Action League have taken Mariano to task for trying to blame the Supreme Court for HD 4420, which is anything but an attempt to comply with the Court’s decision in Bruen. Instead, as Wallace has noted, HD 4420 is an act of defiance on the part of House Democrats; more akin to the Massive Resistance shown by southern state governors to Brown v. Board of Education than an act of compliance meant to ensure the rights of Massachusetts residents aren’t violated.

The next few weeks will be critical for gun owners in the state, and Wallace says he’s hearing of some excellent grassroots efforts like gun clubs putting together letter-writing events where members can pool their talents and craft personalized communications to their own representatives warning them of the dangers lurking within HD 4420. But with so many gun owners and the general public still in the dark about the many abuses contained within the legislation, Wallace says its vitally important that Second Amendment activists reach out to their family, friends, and fellow gun owners in addition to their local legislators.

Forcing a delay on HD 4420’s vote in the House is a good sign that gun owners have the momentum, but until the bill is defeated outright it still poses an existential threat to the rights of hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents. Lawmakers may be taking a break in August, but gun owners cannot afford to do the same. We need to be ramping up our contacts, as well as clearly communicating to our friends and neighbors why they need to be speaking out against HD 4420 as well.



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