The state’s largest gun rights organization
has put the safety on its criticism of a new gun control bill proposed by House
Speaker Robert DeLeo, D-Winthrop.
The Gun Owners' Action League of Massachusetts stated in a press released that it was declaring itself officially “neutral” on the new version of the bill while at the same time, praising the “vastly different piece of legislation” that was originally proposed.
"We have been very successful in changing the gun language in this bill," said Jim Wallace, the executive director of GOAL. "GOAL has told the Legislature that we are neutral on the bill. We believe this is a victory for the 2nd Amendment in Massachusetts."
The organization believed the previous bill focused too much on “gun licensing provisions that prevented those with misdemeanors from obtaining licenses and providing police chiefs with unfettered discretion to issue or deny licenses.” These concerns were address to GOAL's satisfaction in the new version, the org noted, crediting outreach by its more than 17,000 members in influencing changes to the bill that would not take away an individual’s right to choose to access a firearm.
The organization also offered other “crime fighting measures” which it says was the point of DeLeo’s bill in the first place, including the creation of a criminal firearms division for the Massachusetts State Police and new interstate gun trafficking measures to stop the "iron pipeline" that the org believed was “proliferating gun violence in the Commonwealth.”
DeLeo said in a statement, posted by State House News Service this morning, that the discussions between all involved created an acceptable bill.
"Since we unveiled the gun safety bill, I have been in discussions with gun safety advocates, experts, gun owners and House members,” DeLeo said. “Our work has resulted in a bill that is fair and comprehensive. I believe that the bill the House will debate tomorrow represents one of the most effective gun laws in the country, an important public safety measure that can serve as a model to other states."