All Out Assault on Our Civil Rights
In the short weeks since the horrible murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School government officials have launched an all out attack on our civil rights. Using that tragedy as a launching point the President, the Massachusetts Governor and certain local politicians have put lawful gun owners in their sights once again. The strategy is simple enough. The public was rightfully horrified over these senseless murders and quickly began demanding answers and action from their government officials. Rather than telling the public that government would take on the daunting task of finding out how to deal with the human criminal element, certain political "leaders" found it easier to give the public someone else to be angry with. That someone else is us, the lawful gun owner.
For several decades Gun Owners' Action League and other Second Amendment civil rights organizations across the state have worked tirelessly to convince government officials that they should be focusing on the human criminal element. Instead, we face legislative policies that continually attack the inanimate objects such as guns. Worse yet what we often see, as we are now, is an assault directly on our civil rights.
Lawful citizens will face a daunting task in protecting ourselves against a very organized attack. We will have to be focused, organized and aware as the waves of attacks are going to come from all directions. We are already seeing the launch of "executive orders" from the White House, and legislative proposals from federal and state legislators. There is also no doubt that we will be facing newly proposed regulatory schemes that do not require any legislative process.
Focusing on what lawful citizens are already facing here in Massachusetts is a host of legislative proposals. The actual legislation that has been filed will have to be studied carefully over the upcoming weeks, but we already know some of what may come:
- Seven round limits for feeding devices;
- Forced sale or destruction of previously legal magazines over ten rounds;
- Prison sentences of up to 15 year for failure to comply;
- Mandatory insurance on firearms;
- Mandating certain types of civilian firearms be stored at a club or range, not at home;
- Mental and physical health waivers to be signed upon applying for a gun license;
- Expanding local licensing authorities discretion to deny or restrict licenses to all guns including FID cards;
- Creating new crimes of assault with a firearm that requires no physical action by the lawful possessor;
- And more.
Below is just one example of how the so-called assault weapon law would read if the Governor's bill were to pass into law:
Chapter 140, Section 131M. No person shall sell, offer for sale, transfer or possess (i) an assault weapon that was not otherwise lawfully possessed on September 13, 1994; or (ii) a large capacity feeding device that has a capacity of, or that can readily restored or converted to accept, more than ten rounds of ammunition; or (iii) a large capacity feeding device that such person lawfully possessed before the effective date of this act that has a capacity of, or that can readily be restored or converted to accept, more than seven but no more than ten rounds of ammunition, where such device contains more than seven rounds of ammunition. Whoever not being licensed under the provisions of section 122 violates the provisions of this section shall be punished, for a first offense, by a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than ten years, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and for a second offense, by a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $15,000 or by imprisonment for not less than five years nor more than 15 years, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
The provisions of this section shall not apply to: (i) the possession by a law enforcement officer for purposes of law enforcement; or (ii) the possession by an individual who is retired from service with a law enforcement agency and is not otherwise prohibited from receiving such a weapon or feeding device from such agency upon retirement.
Any large capacity feeding device that has or can readily be restored or converted to accept more than ten rounds of ammunition that was legally possessed by an individual prior to the enactment of this act must be sold or otherwise disposed of within one year of the act's effective date. Such large capacity feeding devices may only be sold or disposed of to a purchaser authorized to possess such weapons.
Lawful gun owners and all citizens must stand together in the face of these assaults and let our elected officials know that we will not stand for attacks on civil rights. The message must be made clear that we expect them to address the issues that will truly keep our society safe. Issues like dealing with the human criminal elements, the badly needed reforms of the mental health system, how to identify, treat and care for individuals who should not have access to anything that can cause harm to themselves or others. At the same time we need to make sure that even this net is not cast so far that it includes people who have simply needed a little help through a difficult time in their lives.
While we sort through all of the upcoming attacks and proposals here are some thing you can do to be pro-active:
- Get to know who your local and national legislators are. Make the personal contact them with and make them aware that you are simply the mechanic, plumber, carpenter, doctor or lawyer next door.
- Build on that relationship in a positive way so they become very familiar with who you are as a constituent and neighbor.
- Most local legislators have district office hours so that you can often make an appointment in your town and avoid having to make a special trip into the State House.
- Make an appointment and bring a few friends with some very clear points you would like to make and some suggestions and action items for them.
- Asking your local legislators to meet with a GOAL representative to get more detailed information is always helpful.
- Local state representatives and senators often have local fundraising events such as barbecues. Attend these events with friends and families and take a moment to mingle with the crowd and express your concerns over what is happening.
- Form a local discussion forum at the local school auditorium and VFW hall. Invite local politicians, law enforcement and a GOAL speaker to open up discussion about what really needs to be done and what has already not worked in Massachusetts.
- Make sure that GOAL has your email address so that you can receive our Friday News and periodic updates as more information comes in.
- Post information at your local club so that people without internet and email access are getting updates on action alerts.
- Spend just a few minutes at your club meetings going over what is happening at the State House.
- Invite your local legislators to a club meeting to address the members on what is happening and what they are doing to protect your rights and go after the human criminal element.
- And of course if you have friends that are not GOAL members, please ask them to join and support us.
On behalf of all us in this civil rights struggle, GOAL thanks you for all your support and the privilege of being your representation. Thank You