Gun Owners' Action League

37 Pierce Street / P.O. Box 567

Northboro, MA  01532

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Firearm Reform Bill Signed

 Romney Takes Opportunity to Betray Gun Owners

On July 1, 2004 , Governor Mitt Romney signed into law one of the greatest of reforms to Massachusetts gun laws in recent history. In what should have been a day of celebration for GOAL and its members, the Romney administration took a major shot at lawful gun owners and showed their true colors.

GOAL Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Wallace was invited to attend a ceremonial bill signing at 10:30 AM Thursday in the state house press room. Several of the reform bill’s supporters and the entire state house press corps were at the gathering.

In a move that shocked many in the room, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey began the ceremony by hailing this bill as “…an important victory against crime.” The Lieutenant Governor went on to say, “The most important job of state government is ensuring public safety.  Governor Romney and I are determined to do whatever it takes to stop the flood of dangerous weapons into our cities and towns and to make Massachusetts safer for law-abiding citizens.”

After the Lieutenant Governor’s shocking and insulting comments, she then gave John Rosenthal, of Stop Handgun Violence, an opportunity to address the press corps. Of course, Mr. Rosenthal took the opportunity to put his spin on the bill as “gun safety legislation.” During his remarks he stated. “We’re not taking guns away from anyone except assault weapons and cheaply made Saturday Night Specials.” Romney officials also gave Mr. Rosenthal an entire paragraph in their official press release, while GOAL was not even mentioned.

After the “stage” had been set, Senator Stephen Brewer and Representative George Peterson were allowed to say a few words. These longtime friends of gun owners spoke on the importance of the reforms the bill made. “This change will go a long way toward fixing the flaws created by the 1998 law,” said Representative George Peterson.

Governor Romney then took the podium to make a few remarks before signing the bill. Although the Governor did make mention of being a “sportsman” and the reforms in the bill that would help other sportsmen, he spun the bill as a ban.

“Deadly assault weapons have no place in Massachusetts ,” Romney said. “These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense.  They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.”

When asked by a reporter if he supported the renewal of the federal “assault weapons” ban and if he had spoken to the senators about it, Governor Romney replied that it was not really his job to lobby on federal legislation, but that he shared Senator Kerry’s and Senator Kennedy’s position on the issue!

At no time during the ceremony was the GOAL representative asked to speak and set the record straight on what the bill actually did, nor was GOAL even mentioned in the Governor’s press release. GOAL and its members can only take this display as a complete insult to the lawful gun owners and the hard work that went into making reforms happen.

As our members know, S.2367 did not ban a single gun because the Massachusetts “assault weapons” law, unfortunately, does not expire with the federal law. The bill signed by the Governor actually protects Massachusetts gun owners with a permanent reference to federal definitions that provide them with a list of exempt firearms that numbers nearly 700.

With all of this in mind, GOAL is urging its members to contact Governor Mitt Romney and Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey and express their outrage with their betrayal of gun owners in Massachusetts.

Phone: (617) 725-4000
Address: Governor Mitt Romney
State House
Boston, MA  02133
Address: Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey
State House
Boston, MA  02133
Email: Click here

All gun owners should realize that this bill is an enormous victory, but we can not let this insulting spin by the Governor go unchecked. As a reminder, below is a summary of what the bill really does.

The bill:

Changes the size of an FID card and LTC to a more manageable size;

Adds a 90 day grace period for both licenses and cards;

Requires police to give a receipt for confiscated firearms;

License and cards issued after September 28 will be valid for six years;

Creates a seven person board to review the cases of persons denied licenses and cards due to old misdemeanor convictions; and

Protects nearly 700 guns from being declared "assault weapons."