What if your second amendment rights could be abolished with the stroke of a pen?
If some Massachusetts legislators have their way that is exactly what can happen. How can this be possible?
One word: “unsuitable”
Massachusetts gun laws are some of the most restrictive and convoluted in the country. To simply own a firearm in the state one must have either what is referred to as a Firearms Identification Card or a License To Carry. (Interestingly enough the so-called license to carry doesn’t even always allow you carry a firearm. Who knew?)
So where does the concept of suitability come into play? Well the issuance of a license to carry is discretionary. Basically if a licensing authority (usually a police chief or a designated licensing officer) deems you to be “unsuitable” then they can elect to simply not issue the license to you.
What is your recourse? Hire an attorney and then try and prove the denial was “arbitrary and capricious”, which is a logical contradiction as the process by definition is “arbitrary and capricious”.
Massachusetts gun owners also have the option to get a Firearms Identification card, which allows them to purchase “low capacity” rifles and shotguns. (What defines low capacity and high capacity firearms is a whole other discussion).
The issuance of the Firearms Identification Card is essentially statutory where if an applicant applies and matches defined criteria (such as not being a prohibited person) then the applicant shall receive the Firearms Identification Card.
H.4121 would like to add the concept of “suitability” to the Firearms Identification Card application process.
Since either a License To Carry or a Firearms Identification Card are required in Massachusetts to simply own a firearm, then if a licensing authority deems you “unsuitable”, then your second amendment rights are essentially gone.
Supporters of suitability argue the idea that suitability gives the power to licensing authorities to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. This argument is rather odd, since criminals tend not to apply for a license to commit crimes.
What happens if someone speaks out at a town meeting opposing additional funding for the police budget?
What happens if a licensing authority doesn’t like the color of your skin? What if you have differing political views from the chief?
Why should a woman being stalked and threatened have to wait for an appointment to apply for a right already hers and then be told that she doesn’t have to right to carry or even own a firearm for her protection?
Remember this saying, first it is a right, then it is a privilege, then it is a crime.