June 29, 2023
Gun owners in Massachusetts are suddenly staring disaster in the face, thanks to a new measure now under consideration in the Democrat-led state legislature.
Among other things, HD 4420 would expand the definition of already banned “assault weapons” to include a single cosmetic feature that anti-gun Massachusetts find objectionable but have nothing to do with the “lethality” of a firearm. For rifles, that includes a folding, telescopic, thumbhole or detachable stock; pistol grip; forward grip; a threaded barrel or a barrel shroud. And for pistols, it would put on the ban list any handgun with a threaded barrel.
This bill would also require all lawfully possessed firearms to be registered with the state and would require owners to notify the state if a firearm is modified even in the simplest manner, such as adding optics, replacing a trigger or adding grip panels. The legislation proposes to serialize and register all magazines, a consideration that even Connecticut knew was impossible to implement. This includes mandated reporting to the state of any lost or destroyed magazines.
Also, the proposed restrictions on where a concealed carry permit holder can lawfully carry a firearm would be effectively reduced to zero under this bill. The new proposal would expand the definition of prohibited places to include all public, commercial, and private property by default, unless the property owner explicitly posts a sign stating that firearms are welcome.
Additionally, the proposed legislation further infringes on protected free speech rights by seeking to regulate words on the internet by banning "downloadable gun code,” digital instruction in the form of computer-aided design files or other code or instructions stored or displayed in electronic format as a digital model that may be used to manufacture or produce a firearm, firearm receiver, feeding device or firearm component using additive manufacturing.
Gun-ban proponents who support the bill say they are simply acting on the results of a “Gun Law Listening Tour”—a ruse held earlier this spring to make lawful gun owners believe that their voices would be heard.
“This bill was supposedly the results of the so-called listening tour,” the Gun Owners Action League (GOAL) stated upon introduction of the measure. “Apparently, no one was listening, because everyone who attended said lawful gun owners were not the problem.
“This proposal does not represent that premise at all! In just a cursory review of the proposal it is obvious that it represents a full-scale attack on the Second Amendment in the Commonwealth.”
Mark Oliva, managing director of public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), called the measure “Orwellian.”
“This is the most egregious gun control legislation that has been considered by any governing body in the United States,” Oliva said in an exclusive interview with Firearms News. “This is nothing short of a confiscation bill to allow the state attorney general to use the state police to forcibly confiscate all post-1994 firearms without any consideration of compensation. That is an outright violation of the Constitutionally protected rights of law-abiding Americans. This provocative legislation is inviting unwanted conflict between law enforcement and Massachusetts citizens.”
As Oliva also noted, the new legislation runs afoul of U.S. Supreme Court precedent in several important Second Amendment cases—reason enough for the measure to be defeated.
“This massive and sweeping gun control proposal is unconstitutional on its face and isn’t in keeping with the U.S. Supreme Court’s holdings in Bruen, McDonald or Heller,” he said. “Massachusetts’ state legislature is forgetting that a revolution was born in their state when a tyrannical government attempted to confiscate firearms from its citizens in Concord and Lexington more than 200 years ago. This legislation is dangerous in more than one sense of the word.”
Ironically, the bill’s author, Democrat Rep. Michael Day, said the measure was spawned by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in New York Rifle & Pistol Association V. Bruen. The measure will now go to the House Judiciary Committee for review.
About the Author
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for nearly 25 years.
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