Hundreds of Massachusetts gun owners turned out on the Boston Common on Wednesday to rally in opposition to a sweeping gun control bill that threatens the Second Amendment rights of all residents. The “Bring Bruen to Boston” rally was put together by the Gun Owners Action League to keep pressure on lawmakers as they work behind closed doors to retool HD 4420, billed as the “Lawful Citizens Imprisonment Act” by GOAL executive director Jim Wallace.
Riding Shotgun with Charlie host Charlie Cook was among those standing and speaking up for his Second Amendment rights in Boston, and I’m very pleased that he could join me on today’s Bearing Arms Cam & Co to detail his experience and outline the dangers inherent in the proposed legislation.
“It was the opportunity to get together, to get everybody at the Boston Common to rally, and then after they had some rallying and some speeches, a lot of people went over the statehouse to speak with their representatives about the nonsense that is HD 4420.”
As written, HD 4420 stands to obliterate the right to keep and bear arms through new mandates effecting gun owners, firearms dealers, and even distributors shipping firearms to local 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.
Cook is a firearms instructor as well as a gun owner, and he believes these proposed rules would make it nearly impossible for would-be gun owners to get the training required in order to receive a license to carry; a prerequisite for owning a handgun in the commonwealth. With a limited number of ranges in hte state, a live-fire requirement would create huge bottlenecks of applicants, which in turn would lead to months or even years-long waiting periods before folks could exercise their fundamental right to keep and bear arms.
After opposition by gun owners and law enforcement groups forced the House to back down from its plan to ram HD 4420 through the legislature before recesssing in August, House Democrats vowed to tweak the legislation, while the Senate is working on its own gun control bill. GOAL’s Jim Wallace says lawmakers are still trying to get something enacted before the end of the year, so gun owners may be in for an unwelcome October Surprise in the form of a revamped and repackaged bill that still poses the same existential threat to the right to keep and bear arms. Cook tells me that he’s run across some gun owners who are reluctant to get involved or to show their opposition to HD 4420 because of the anti-gun attitudes that are so prevalent in the state, but unless they’re willing to watch their rights disappear with the stroke of a pen, it’s absolutely critical for them to stand up and speak out as hundreds of their compatriots did in Boston on Wednesday.