Massachusetts has passed a strict gun control bill in response to the Supreme Court’s recent decision striking down “may-issue” licensing laws.
Democrats in Massachusetts say the bill makes only “minor changes” to follow the court’s ruling while leaving most of the state’s restrictions in place, Mass Live reported.
Massachusetts passes gun control law
The Supreme Court had ruled in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen that New York’s concealed carry law, which required “proper cause,” imposed an arbitrary burden on the right to bear arms.
The decision put other Democratic states with subjective, “may-issue” licensing laws, such as Massachusetts, on notice.
The new bill in Massachusetts removes provisions that require “good reason” to carry and, at least theoretically, removes discretion from local police officers over licensing. But the bill still imposes steep burdens including, importantly, an apparently subjective “suitability” standard.
Republican Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr insisted that the language on “suitability” was changed to induce officers to follow “reliable, articulable and credible information” in deciding whether an applicant poses a “risk to public safety.”
The law also requires police to conduct personal interviews with anyone who applies for a permit and asks them to deny applications to those with a permanent or temporary harassment prevention order.
Supreme Court? What’s that?
Democratic Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues admitted the bill makes “minor changes” to bring the law into “compliance”, while “preserving many of the protections that are currently in place.” In other words, Democrats are giving an unconstitutional law a make-over.
The state’s liberal Republican governor, Charlie Baker, has urged lawmakers to get a bill to his desk.
“It’s certainly my hope we get something that we can use to both validate the laws we already have here in the commonwealth but also to a couple other things we need to do to comply with what the federal Supreme Court did,” he said.
New York’s governor Kathy Hochul (D) responded to the Supreme Court by signing a law that bans carrying firearms in many public places, including New York City’s dangerous subways, while requiring gun owners to hand over their social media accounts to the state to prove “good moral character.”
California’s attorney general has similarly floated a “good character” requirement that includes, among other factors, “absence of hatred and racism.”