There’s a Chilly Breeze

It seems that Hell just dropped a few degrees. I don’t know how else to describe the prospect of Massachusetts getting a single license issuing authority that removes the discretion of local police. I admit that I don’t pay close attention to things in the Bay State anymore, but wow. Just wow.

I realize that most of you read that and wonder what kind of gun rights hell that describes, and why I would consider it a good thing. Consider that when someone I know described the gun laws of Massachusetts to a Pennsylvania gun owner, the guy didn’t even believe that it was in America. He knew the state was part of this country, but he assumed the laws described were from a country that has a near ban on ownership. Baby steps don’t even begin to describe how reform happens in Massachusetts.

9 thoughts on “There’s a Chilly Breeze”

  1. I don’t think they would do it if it weren’t for Heller and now McDonald. Discretionary and arbitrary licensing isn’t going to pass muster.

  2. That may be good, or bad.

    My understanding is that outside of Boston, the odds of obtaining a class A carry permit was at least 50/50.

    Carry permits were a lot more common in NJ until the judiciary, (which also happens to be the issuing authority) capriciously decided to increase the standard for “demonstrated need” at some point in the late 80’s, and that was pretty much the end of *that*.

    Sometimes, having a single authorities a bad thing, as it provides a single handle for the bad guys to grasp.

    1. Define “outside of Boston.” If you’re talking all the way outside of 495, then the odds might be a little higher than that for a restricted Class A. If you include the majority of the state’s population – including the hub that houses the largest gun club in the state – then that “outside of Boston” part gets a little less useful. Of course, even then, you’re not safe in any city as long as there’s a chance the police chief might ever leave office. I heard about several cities where the new hire stops issuing permits and refuses to renew old ones. When challenged, you might get lucky and get a renewal with all sorts of restrictions on it.

      It is a risk, but considering that the overwhelming population of the state will benefit, it’s one worth taking. I also know that George Peterson knows this issue exceptionally well, and he’s not going to push a bill that hurts gun owners. He benefits from HUGE gun owner support in Worcester County, so if he screws it up for them, he’s not going to hold office long or have many friends left.

      That said, the potential for damaging amendments is always a threat until it is passed and signed. But for an initial bill, how picky can you really get? It’s Massachusetts!

  3. If the Athority is “Shall Issue” it will hurt nobody. My town happens to be about as gun-friendly as any town in Mass can be, and we’re essentially a “Shall issue”, you take you class, fill out the paperwork, and pay your fee, and essentially if you can pass a NICS check you get a Class A LTC with no restrictions.

    If you can’t pass a NICS you get denied, So unless the new authority has room to play games (I’m under the strong impression they are not) it will only help people.

    Of course the idea of needing a permit just to OWN a gun should be considered in the same vein as a poll tax….

    And then there’s the approved handgun roster and the Assault Weapons Ban, “Safe Storage” laws….

    Baby Steps.

  4. I heard about several cities where the new hire stops issuing permits and refuses to renew old ones.

    Yup. Ask the folks in Orange County, CA…

    Have I mentioned lately how much I love Indiana’s Lifetime Toter’s Permits?

  5. As I recall, the situation in Orange County was restricted to carry permits only. The Massachusetts situation is far worse since it’s really a license to own, not carry. The licenses dictate what you’re allowed to even own in your own home.

  6. Even the comment by Costello (misgivings about removing discretion from locals) seems to indicate a lean toward focussing on who shouldn’t get permits. That would seem to indicate an edging toward a “shall-issue” mindset. The new single-point state hoops may be high at first (like many permit systems that subsequently were fixed) but if the basic criteria becomes “the state can’t find a valid reason to deny”, as opposed to “you need to prove a need”, that’s a huge step forward.

  7. An attempt to simplify the state’s gun laws … establishing 13 categories that prevent people from owning a gun … include a person indicted of a crime punishable by up to a year in jail, a person convicted of a violent crime or tagged with a restraining order, a fugitive from justice, an undocumented immigrant, or a person who has renounced his or her U.S. citizenship.

    Doesn’t this mirror federal prohibitions? Hell … sounds to me like MA is preparing for the inevitable national reciprocity on bearing arms.

  8. Maryland is the same way when it somes to carry permits, albeit to a lesser degree. The may-issue laws require that you provide a ‘Good and Substantial Reason’ for wanting a permit, and unless you own a business, carry prescription pads, or have already been shot four times, you’re not going to get one. During a conversation with a seargent at the MD State Police firearms division (responsible for approving permit applications) he said that MD was not a shall-issue state, it was a ‘Hell No’ state.

    I cannot WAIT for the McDonald ruling to come down on the side of incorporation.

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