I’ve been asked by many people my position on legislation filed by my colleague, Representative Day, to significantly change our state’s gun laws (HD4420). This bill has received a lot of attention in the press recently, and it’s generated more than 100 inquiries from constituents to my office. As I continue responding individually to inquiries, I want to state my position publicly here: I do not support HD4420.
Friends, you all know that I served as a Deputy Police Chief for many years. As such, I am very familiar with our state’s procedures for licensing gun owners. I am very familiar with responsible firearm ownership, and I am proud to support the 2nd Amendment.
I am also, sadly, very familiar with the dangers posed by criminals with guns. The murder of my co-worker, Yarmouth Police Department K9 Sergeant Sean Gannon, and the attack on his devoted K9 companion, Nero, at the hands of a gun-wielding violent felon will forever haunt me.
I must say that I am growing increasingly concerned with the prevalence of guns being used to commit crimes nationwide. It is truly worrisome to watch society become more violent. While there are many, many reasons behind this trend, it also would be wrong to deny that guns sometimes factor into violent crime, and that troubles me.
To the extent any of our laws require improvement, such as to address issues identified by law enforcement in the name of public safety, I am always open to reviewing credible legislation. That’s my job as a State Representative, and on issues like this one, it’s something I have expertise in as a former cop. I believe very strongly in the need to keep the public safe. But, I believe HD4420 goes too far.
When if comes to Massachusetts — a state with already some of the most-restrictive gun laws in the nation — I think our top priority should be enforcing our existing gun laws. We need to crack down on the illegal possession, trafficking, and use of firearms. In particular, we need to take guns out of the hands of violent criminals.
If we’re not sufficiently enforcing the laws we already have, enacting more laws won’t help much. What’s more, implementing even-more-restrictive gun laws and enforcing them against law-abiding, responsible firearms owners takes away people’s constitutional rights without justification, and that’s not okay with me.
I am additionally concerned by rumors that this bill might advance through the legislative process without sufficient public input, hearings, and vetting. This is not acceptable. Should this occur, a bad bill would be further weakened by bad process, and that would concern me even more. At the very least, significant policy changes require a process that is open and accountable.
So, in response to many inquiries, my position is that if I am asked to vote on HD4420 in its current form, I will loudly vote no. I encourage everyone with an interest in this issue to continue contacting your elected officials to make your opinions known.