When the Massachusetts Senate approved its omnibus gun control bill last week, just one of the chamber’s four Republicans cast a vote in favor of the legislation. Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr’s vote in favor of the anti-gun bill, which had been rejected by Second Amendment groups in the state, is now rightfully drawing the ire of conservatives who reject Tarr’s explanation that the legislation was a “narrower and reformed version” of the anti-gun legislation adopted by the House last fall.
It’s true that S.2572 was shorter in text and narrower in scope than H.4139, but that doesn’t mean that it was any less problematic. Without even considering the text of the legislation, the fact that the Senate approved the bill just a week after it was introduced and without a single public hearing should have been enough for Tarr to cast a “no” vote. Instead, he’s bragging about all the supposed improvements he made to the legislation… none of which were important enough to convince groups like Commonwealth 2A or the Gun Owners Action League to give their own stamp of approval.
“I was able to work with my colleagues to further reform the bill through the adoption of several important changes to the legislation, including the ‘grandfather’ clause to protect lawful gun owners, and other amendments that focus on punishing those who break the law — while protecting those who abide by it, Tarr said.“Throughout all of the process that remains, I will continue to work to ensure that public safety is our top priority, and that we seek to strengthen it without infringing on the rights of safe, responsible gun owners and sportsmen,” he added.
… his explanation didn’t stop former GOP gubernatorial nominee Geoff Diehl, who is running for a Republican State Committee seat, from blasting Tarr for siding with Democrats on the gun control bill.“With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats?” quipped Diehl, a Whitman conservative and former GOP lawmaker, in a fundraising pitch to supporters.Diehl’s fundraising email mentioned his wife, Kathy Joe Boss — who is also running for a GOP state committee seat — and had photos of his two daughters firing rifles at a gun range. He praised the Senate’s three other Republicans for voting against what he described as a “horrible” bill.“Enough is enough,” Diehl wrote. “We need more Republican Senators and Representatives, ones who will vote Republican on issues, unlike many of our current elected officials like Senator Bruce Tarr.”Tarr fired back at Diehl’s criticism, noting that as a “gun owner and sportsman” he understands the “concerns that many have about legislation on Beacon Hill that would impact the rights of law-abiding gun owners.”“The legislative process is long and still developing, and it is deeply disappointing that someone would try to oversimplify the process for personal fundraising purposes and attack a fellow Republican at the same time,” he said. “My public service is focused on final outcomes that are fair and respect the rights of everyone involved, and that is how I will continue to treat this bill.”