After House Approval, What Will Massachusetts Senate Do With "Lawful Citizens Imprisonment Act"?

(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Massachusetts House Democrats steamrolled gun owners and their Second Amendment rights on Wednesday, approving their latest version of the “Lawful Citizens Imprisonment Act” on a largely party-line vote of 120-38 after making some changes meant to mollify the unanimous opposition from the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association.

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While the Democratic majority was willing to exempt off-duty cops from the concealed carry prohibitions included in the bill, they weren’t about to throw lawful gun owners in the state any bones. Instead, while claiming that the legislation will reduce “gun violence” in the state, the House majority voted to subject legal gun owners to a plethora of new restrictions on their fundamental right to keep and bear arms.

The revised measure makes slight modifications to where people can carry firearms, expands the state’s assault weapons ban to include firearms developed after 2004, and aims to stem the flow of illegal firearms.

The bill also includes language that prohibits someone from bringing a gun into schools or government buildings and polling locations.

The House unanimously voted on an amendment to exclude law enforcement from this prohibition, a major win for the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association.

People wishing to bring a firearm into private residences must obtain permission from the homeowner, the bill said. However, businesses could prohibit the carrying of firearms onto their property.

A major focus of the bill is also cracking down on “ghost guns” or untraceable firearms, by registering them with the state. As ghost guns are becoming more common Day said he hopes that serializing these firearms will help police trace where they are coming from and who’s putting them out on the street.

The updated legislation requires receivers – the part of the gun that contains the firing mechanism – to be serialized, but not the barrels or feeding device.

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Is Day really dumb enough to believe that criminals who are using home-built firearms to commit carjackings, armed robberies, and drug-fueled shootings on the streets are going to serialize and register their guns with the state just because its the law… or does he just assume that his constituents are so ignorant that they’ll buy into that ludicrous proposition?

Rep. David K. Muradian, Jr., R-Worcester, called the legislation an “egregious infringement” on all lawful gun owners of Massachusetts. He said that creating further legislation on firearms doesn’t reduce gun violence.

Muradian criticized the gun violence data Day cited because it did not differentiate between someone who was in lawful or illegal possession of a firearm.

“Passing such an overreaching piece of legislation where our laws are already some of the strongest in the country with actual data showing a 2% death rate in Massachusetts, to me, seems extreme,” he said.

Peter J. Durant, R-Worcester, said that legislators need to focus more on prosecuting criminals who would engage in “felonious acts” instead of restricting firearms.

“Firearms of any sort or capacity are perfectly safe in the right hands. Let’s not leave them only in the wrong hands, he said. “Instead, maybe we can focus on the social issues that plague our society.”

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The problem is that the Democrats who rammed H4135 through the House do think they’re focusing on a social issue that “plagues” society; legal gun ownership. They view the Second Amendment as protecting a wrong, not a right, and anything they can do to make gun ownership more expensive, burdensome, and downright legally dangerous is a win in their book.

We’ll be talking more about H4135 with Mike Harris of the Gun Owners Action League on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, including what might become of the bill now that it’s crossed over to the Senate. That chamber is hardly a bastion of Second Amendment activism, but political infighting between House and Senate leadership has caused the Senate to start working on its own gun control bill, which has yet to be introduced. Will the Senate take up H4135 in addition to their own bill, or will senators instead pass their own anti-gun legislation and hammer out the differences in a conference committee? Will the Senate’s legislation include items that weren’t a major focus of H4135, like the establishment of new “gun-free zones”, or will it focus more on new licensing and training mandates for gun owners along with expanded bans on so-called assault weapons and “large capacity” magazines?

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Those are just a few of the questions swirling around the latest push to criminalize the right to keep and bear arms in the Bay State. The biggest question of all is how many gun owners in Massachusetts are going to start looking for greener pastures. We’ve already seen a record number of Massachusetts residents flee the state in recent years, and I have a feeling that there are lot of gun owners checking Zillow or Redfin today wondering if it’s possible for them to make their own escape from a state government so hostile to their civil rights.

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