Massachusetts Senate Close to Unveiling New Anti-Gun Bill

We’re still a few weeks away from the Senate Democrats’ self-imposed deadline to introduce an omnibus gun control bill, but Gun Owners Action League director of public policy Mike Harris says the bill is likely to include many non-starters for Second Amendment advocates; from live-fire training to expanding the state’s “red flag” law.
Harris joined me on today’s Bearing Arms Cam & Co to discuss the latest rumors around the Senate legislation, which is still a work in progress several months after House Democrats approved their own gun control bill, nicknamed the “Lawful Citizens Imprisonment Act” by the good folks at GOAL. Harris says one of the major concerns is over the live-fire training mandate for gun owners, which he believes will pose unique challenges for residents. If you’re reading this, you probably have the same fundamental objection that Harris does: we don’t require training and licensing for any other constitutionally-protected right. You don’t have to pass a civics test in order to petition the government for a redress of your grievances or a Con Law exam before your Fourth or Fifth Amendment rights kick in, so why should you have to take a class or pass a test before you can exercise your Second Amendment rights?
Constitutional questions aside, however, there’s another big reason to oppose this kind of mandate.
“We do not have public ranges in Massachsetts,” says Harris. “They don’t exist. I can name, off the top of my head and across the entire state, four for-profit ranges where you can go and rent range time.”
All of those ranges are in the eastern part of the state (though none of them are in Boston proper), so simply getting access to a range to go through the live-fire training and testing is going to be a big issue for residents. And remember, in Massachusetts you need a license to simply own a firearm, so this mandate would apply equally to those who want to keep a gun in their home and those who want to carry it on their person.
The lawmakers who’ve been drafting the bill have supposedly been educating themselves on the intricacies of Massachusetts gun laws (and guns themselves), but based on who’s been teaching them I doubt their homework is going to benefit gun owners.

Members of Attorney General Andrea Campbell’s office and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security covered the intricacies of firearms, including describing different parts of weapons to senators, Senate Majority Leader Cindy Creem told reporters on her way out of the meeting.

The private discussion took place only days after Senate President Karen Spilka said the chamber would offer up its own firearms-related reform bill by the end of January, a response to a proposal the House approved last year after some controversy.

Creem said it was still too early in the process to identify top priorities that could be included in a Senate gun reform package, but ticked off tackling ghost guns and the process for converting a semi-automatic firearm into an automatic weapon.

“We’ve learned there’s just so much crime out there and it’s scary and if we could get rid of all the violence, that would be great,” she said. “But … I don’t have a bill yet. I’m still in the thinking (phase),” Creem said.

A spokesperson for the Executive Office of Public Safety referred questions to Spilka’s office, which said senators “heard from the Attorney General’s Office and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, who shared information on firearm issues and gun safety, as the Senate continues to craft gun safety legislation.”

Creem said the discussion offered members a chance to get information on different firearms-related phrases and gun safety. The presentations by state officials “have been some time coming” after lawmakers expressed interest, Creem said.

“There were a lot of members in the Senate who wanted to have an opportunity to not take positions but they were members, like I was to begin with, that didn’t know what a Glock switch was, what’s a frame,” Creem said.


I appreciate that legislators are trying to educate themselves on the issue before crafting legislation, but relying on employees of an anti-gun attorney general and governor to provide that instruction isn’t exactly a great way to do so. Groups like the Gun Owners Action League can provide another perspective or additional information that those officials may be clueless about, like the lack of publicly accessible ranges and the training bottleneck that will inevitably ensue if the live-fire mandate becomes law, but in Massachusetts many lawmakers simply don’t hear what GOAL and other 2A organizations have to say.

Even if they want to ignore groups like GOAL, they might still find it harder to brush off concerns from their constituents, and Harris says it’s not too early for gun owners to reach out to their senators and House members ahead of the official unveiling of the Senate bill. We’ll be welcoming the GOAL folks back to Cam & Co in the very near future, but if you want to stay up to date on the latest legislative attacks against our right to keep and bear arms, sign up for the group’s email alerts at

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