It’s hard to believe that it’s already been two months since Democratic leadership in the Massachusetts House yanked their omnibus gun control bill from consideration after being barraged with opposition from gun owners and law enforcement groups. House Speaker Ron Mariano was desperately hoping to pass HD 4420 before the House broke for its August recess, but instead, he and chief sponsor Rep. Michael Day have been working behind closed doors to revamp the gun control bill. The state Senate, meanwhile, has been quietly crafting their own anti-gun measure, and on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co Jim Wallace of the Gun Owners Action League joins me to talk over the latest news and scuttlebutt surrounding both bills.
According to Wallace, one of the rumors floating around is that Mariano now wants the bill approved before the Thanksgiving recess, which could mean an unwelcome October Surprise for gun owners in the state. We don’t know what changes are being made to the original bill, which clocked in at more than 140 pages of new restrictions aimed at lawful gun owners, but Wallace doesn’t believe that whatever emerges will be satisfactory to GOAL, its members, or the Second Amendment community.
The GOAL executive director says he hasn’t had any conversations with Day, Mariano, or other members of the House who are working to retool HD 4420. In fact, he says that most rank-and-file Democrats claim to have no idea what revisions are being made. But Wallace did recently sit down with one of the members of the Senate’s “working group” crafting its own legislation, and the experience left him convinced that both bills are going to continue aiming at legal gun owners while ignoring the actual perpetrators of violent crime.
“I said we have legislation [to combat violent crime’,” Wallace relayed.
“Why can’t we use that legislation or something like it that punishes the bad people and leaves us good people alone. I was a little horrified because I’ve known this senator for 20 years, and she said ‘well, I don’t know if we can craft legislation that separates those two things.’ So I don’t think this bill’s gonna be much better.”
It certainly doesn’t sound like it. It’s also an open question as to how much time gun owners will have to digest both the Senate bill and the revised HD 4420 before lawmakers try to swiftly send the bills to Gov. Maura Healey for her signature. GOAL isn’t waiting for the text of these bills to be released to engage gun owners and the general public. Instead, members are continuing the efforts they launched in the summer to educate residents about the dangers to public safety and threats to civil rights that will inevitably be at the heart of the gun control bills.
Wallace says GOAL has been speaking to the public at county fairs and other gatherings in addition to hosting its “Bring Bruen to Boston” rally on the Boston Common last week, and has distributed more than 20,000 yard signs across the state so folks can publicly express their opposition to the anti-2A measures. In an interesting twist, Wallace revealed that several members have reported that their signs have been vandalized; with black marker used in some cases to cross out “Oppose” and write-in “Support” instead. Wallace has been telling members to contact their local police when that happens, noting that Massachusetts law treats damaging or destroying political signs as a serious offense punishable by up to three years in prison.
I’ll second Wallace’s recommendation, though I’d also suggest putting up a trail camera or using another recording device to keep an eye on the signage and collect evidence if and when an angry mom demanding action or another anti-gun activist decides to infringe on your First Amendment rights. More than anything else, though, I’d encourage gun owners to continue to stand up, speak out, and not allow the loud and angry anti-gunners to silence them. Gun owners in Massachusetts are already fighting an uphill battle for cultural acceptance of their right to keep and bear arms, and keeping quiet in the face of these intolerable acts only provides aid and comfort to the prohibitionist forces in the state.