“As I enter my third year as your police chief, responsible for overseeing the 123 sworn men and women who serve the more than 60,000 of you day in and day out, my duty compels me to speak up.
“I have read the relevant portions of H.D. 4420, a bill proposing a substantial rewrite of Massachusetts’ existing gun laws. Despite claims this bill attempts to stem the flow of illegal firearms into the state while increasing protection from gun violence, I see no language that would lead one to believe this rationale to be true. Instead, it appears the only thing this bill will accomplish is turning thousands of our law-abiding residents into criminals overnight.
“This bill seems more designed to invade the privacy and vandalize and confiscate the property of law-abiding citizens than it does protecting them.
“As we saw all too clearly this week in the State Forest, our issue is with criminals who have guns NOW, not those we stand to make into criminals LATER. Instead of punishing criminals or those prohibited from possessing firearms, this bill targets lawful gun owners who are some of the most well vetted in both the Commonwealth and the entire nation. There is nothing in this bill that mandates the judicial system enforce the laws currently in full force and effect.
“When was the last time anyone served time under Bartley-Fox? For instance, we now know attempting to shoot and murder seven people, including five police officers, will result in just five to seven years in prison.
“We recently had an incident in our community where a lawfully licensed firearm holder stopped the attempted kidnapping, and potentially worse, of a woman in a domestic violence incident. This gentleman was a contractor working at a residence across the street. Under this bill, if this Samaritan did not have expressed written consent of the victim/homeowner to have his firearm on her premises, he would be subject to a criminal charge. The same goes for an off-duty Plymouth County Sheriff’s deputy who saved countless lives a few years back when he ended a stabbing rampage in a Taunton restaurant.
“Instead of being recognized as the heroes they are, they would be charged with a crime, and recognized at their arraignment.
In nothing else, this bill will make both enforcement and compliance with our laws even more complicated and confusing. As anyone who has had the unfortunate experience of trying to navigate our already-strict gun laws knows, it’s already confusing enough. The firearms law guide used by our officers already clocks in at well over 400 pages. This bill will jostle definitions and provisions all around the books with various changes, placing our laws into an even greater state of misunderstanding and chaos.
“As a licensing authority which consistently ranks within the top ten municipalities in the entire Commonwealth for the number of firearms licenses, this is of grave concern to me.
“As a law enforcement officer first and foremost, I take the duty of protecting persons from any type of violence as my ultimate mission. However, this bill targets the wrong individuals and needs to be reconsidered.
“In closing, I urge our State House delegation to withhold their support from this bill as written.”
Chief Dana. A. Flynn