Massachusetts gun owners are furiously contacting state lawmakers in an effort to derail anti-gun legislation that was suddenly introduced without notice Wednesday in the state House of Representatives and passed almost unanimously.
The legislation, Amendment 1, would outlaw all kinds of accessories and upgrades to firearms used for competition, hunting, target shooting and/or self-defense. Submitted presumably as a response to the Las Vegas massacre, the bill does not mention “bump fire stocks” that are currently at the center of a gun control storm.
According to Jim Wallace, executive director of the Gun Owners’ Action League of Massachusetts (GOAL), the legislation was introduced without warning by State Rep. David Linsky, a 5th District Democrat. Here’s what it says:
“Whoever possesses, owns or offers for sale any device which attaches to a rifle, shotgun or firearm, except a magazine, that is designed to increase the rate of discharge of the rifle, shotgun or firearm or whoever modifies any rifle, shotgun or firearm with the intent to increase its rate of discharge, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison by not less than 3 nor more than 20 years.”
If the bill passes, it takes effect 180 days after it is signed by the governor.
The National Rifle Association has alerted its members in Massachusetts, but some critics are using social media to blame the NRA for this, alleging that the gun rights organization folded on the “bump stock” issue last week. NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and chief lobbyist Chris Cox issued this joint statement:
“In the aftermath of the evil and senseless attack in Las Vegas, the American people are looking for answers as to how future tragedies can be prevented.
Unfortunately, the first response from some politicians has been to call for more gun control. Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks.
This is a fact that has been proven time and again in countries across the world. In Las Vegas, reports indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved. Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law.
The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations. In an increasingly dangerous world, the NRA remains focused on our mission: strengthening Americans’ Second Amendment freedom to defend themselves, their families and their communities. To that end, on behalf of our five million members across the country, we urge Congress to pass National Right-to-Carry reciprocity, which will allow law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families from acts of violence.”
GOAL is urging its members to call the State Senate at (617) 722-2000 and urge them to oppose the language of Amendment 1.
Wallace, in his alert to gun owners, noted that, “The first part is loosely worded and doesn’t provide definition as to what rate of fire is. As written it will include any gun including a bolt-action rifle. In other words, if a bolt-action rifle is modified so that the bolt can operate with more ease, or less friction, it could be considered a felony.
“The third part is extremely egregious,” Wallace added, “as it will give the state regulatory authority over the maintenance and enhancement of all firearms. Can you imagine what our Attorney General will do with this?”