Massachusetts 2A Group Shines a Light on Shady Gun Control Moves

Townhall Media

As Massachusetts lawmakers huddle behind closed doors to put the finishing touches on a massive gun control bill, the Gun Owners Action League is reminding voters of all of the shady anti-Second Amendment moves and backdoor dealings that have taken place in the legislature since the Bruen decision was handed down. 


The group has unveiled a new website called documenting the legislature's twisted path towards their latest infringements, and on today's Bearing Arms Cam & Co GOAL executive director Jim Wallace explains why they're shining a light on both the bad policies that could soon be enacted, but the process of enshrining them into law. 

"People know how bad the process was, but they really don't know how bad the process was," Wallace relayed. 

"So we started in July of 2022, which is when they snuck in an amendment to codify 'suitability' [in issuing carry licenses], which the Court said you couldn't do, but they snuck it into a technology bill. The only way we got wind of it was a reporter called us, so we started calling all kinds of reps because it was a House bill, and were told 'we're not voting on guns today.' I told them 'you better check with your Speaker, because you are."

As Wallace explains, that bill was designed to update the state court system's computerized records; an idea that was broadly popular with both Democrats and the few Republicans in the legislature. By amending the bill to include the unconstitutional edict on "suitability", Speaker Ron Mariano was essentially daring lawmakers to scuttle the entire piece of legislation if they objected to the amendment, and Democrats fell in line behind the Speaker's machinations. 


Fast forward to February 2023, when Mariano tasked Rep. Michael Day with drafting new gun control language designed to flout the Bruen decision. Day embarked on a "listening tour" around the state, and then proceeded to completely ignore the concerns of gun owners by crafting a bill that would gut their Second Amendment rights. 

June 26, 2023 – Rep. Day releases and files HD.4420,  An Act Modernizing Firearms Laws. A 140 page bill that flies in the face of the Court’s ruling (Bruen).

June 28, 2023 – GOAL releases our analysis of the bill and labels it ‘The Lawful Citizens Imprisonment Act”.

June 2023 – Speaker Mariano announces he wants the bill done by July 31st.

July 24, 2023 – The overwhelming negative response from lawful Massachusetts citizens forced Speaker Mariano to temporarily put the bill on hold.

October 16, 2023 – Rep. Day abandons HD.4420 and files a new, “redrafted” version of his gun control bill. HD.4607, An Act Modernizing Firearm Laws. This version is 122 pages long.

October 10, 2023 – The Committee on House Ways and Means holds an illegitimate joint hearing with the House Committee on the Judiciary cutting the Senate out of the process.

  • The House leadership uses a sleight of hand maneuver and attaches the gun law language to an existing budget bill (H.4090) already in the House Ways and Means Committee.
  • House ways and Means guts the budget bill to only include the gun language and uses it as a vehicle to bring the bill up for a vote with no legitimate committee process.

October 18, 2023 – The House announces yet another new bill number H.4135 and takes up the bill in formal session with very little notice and no hearing.

  • House republicans, and some democrats, object to the bill moving as budget bills have special processes that must be followed.
  • The majority votes this down on a roll call, the rules are suspended, and the bill moves forward for a vote with another new number - H.4135-2 for further amendments.
  • The bill is amended multiple times on the floor,  and is again renumbered as H.4139 and is passed by the House on a roll call vote of 120 to 38.

The Senate, meanwhile, had objected to the House's rushed timeline, but Senate leadership engaged in some shenanigans of their own when they finally unveiled their own gun control bill in January. Rather than introducing a Senate bill and putting it through the normal legislative process, which includes public hearings and a chance for gun owners to provide testimony, they instead posted it in the form of an amendment to H.4139: S.2572

That amendment didn't last long, however. 

February 1, 2024 – The Senate recommends substituting the language for H.4139 and takes up the bill in formal session as H.4135.

  • The bill is amended multiple times and again renumbered as S.2584.
  • Several senators and spectators are confused about the amendment processes.
  • The Senate passed the bill to be engrossed on a roll call vote of 37 to 3.

February 26, 2024 – The new language is sent to the House for their approval.

  • The House denied the Senate language without a roll call.
  • The House suspended their rules to appoint a conference committee delegation of Rep. Day, Rep. Gonzalez and Rep. McKenna.

February 29, 2024 – The Senate suspended their rules to appoint a conference committee delegation of Sen. Creem, Sen. Lovely, and Sen. Tarr.

And that's where things stand as of today; a committee operating behind closed doors and without public input crafting what is likely to be the most draconian gun control measure introduced in the state in at least 25 years, if not in history. 


Democrats have such huge majorities in both the House and Senate that they could have passed their gun bills through regular order, so why did they act in such a duplicitous and underhanded fashion? My guess is that they simply don't want to give the very people who'll be subjected to these new provisions a chance to publicly testify in opposition. There's been a grand total of ONE hearing on the House bill (held back in October), and none whatsoever on the Senate side of the aisle; a blatant attempt to silence objections, and from a party that claims to be worried about an existential threat to democracy. 

Check out my conversation with Jim Wallace for more on the underhanded way Massachusetts Democrats are acting to infringe on our Second Amendment rights, and why Gov. Maura Healey's recent moves on criminal justice "reform" are likely to make the state a more dangerous place in the future. Massachusetts residents have every right to keep and bear arms, but according to Wallace, they will need a firearm for personal protection if the governor gets her way. 

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