Fox News is reporting today that the city leaders in one Massachusetts are taking heat for a new requirement that applicants for an unrestricted gun license to carry must “state in writing” why they should get the license, and the reaction to that story is nothing short of outrage.
According to the Lowell Sun, the policy takes effect this week “despite a final plea from gun-rights advocates…for looser restrictions.” In addition to what critics say is a required “essay” to justify their permit, the newspaper also noted that applicants must take a gun safety course and “provide additional documentation, such as prior military or law-enforcement service, a prior license-to-carry permit, or signed letters of recommendation.”
Jim Wallace, executive director of the Massachusetts Gun Owners Action League (GOAL) was quick to call foul. He was quoted by Fox News observing, “It is absurd that people should have to write an essay to the town to explain why they should be able to exercise their constitutional rights. We already have a very strict set of gun laws in the state, but this is way over the top.”
In a telephone chat with this column, Wallace said GOAL is not only taking issue with Police Supt. William Taylor, but also the entire city council. He brusquely noted that “they’re the ones who passed it.” Wallace likened the new rule to a “poll tax.”
This, according to many in the Second Amendment community, is the kind of thing that happens when a civil right is regulated as if it were a government privilege. Once the right to bear arms is subject to the discretion of a police chief or some bureaucrat, private citizens trying to exercise their civil rights are either discouraged or outright denied.
The newspaper reported that one gun safety course that apparently passes muster runs five days and costs $1,100. Another course is not being offered in the state this year, the story said.
This afternoon, GOAL issued a statement to the press declaring, “All of these mandates are not required or supported by state law and are purely designed to discourage or outright prevent lawful citizens from exercising their civil rights.” The statement further criticizes “rogue municipalities” and promises that the group will seek emergency legislation to “drastically change the definitions and powers of ‘Licensing Authorities.’”
“Massachusetts is among the most restrictive states in the nation when it comes to licensing our civil right to keep and bear arms,” Wallace said. “There is no documented evidence that licensed gun owners are a threat to public safety. That being the case, there is no problem that exists that would warrant such outrageous measures.
“The only conclusion we can arrive at,” he added, “is that the Lowell City Council wants to prevent lawful citizens from exercising their civil rights and has implemented what amounts to a ‘Poll Tax’ for lawful gun owners.”
The Fox story has garnered hundreds of reader comments, and they’re almost all critical. This is the kind of “reasonable gun control” that anti-gunners think should be the law of the land. Gun owners obviously think something different.
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