Local Reps Stand Against Proposed Gun Legislation
State Rep. Jim Miceli, D-Wilmington and State Rep. Jim Lyons, R-Andover.
But they did it without the support of Tewksbury's two state reps.
Rep. Jim Lyons, R-Andover and Rep. Jim Miceli, D-Wilmington, were among 28 Republicans and 10 Democrats who voted "No" on H-4278. The vote was 112-38.
"The democrats voted to further restrict second amendment rights," said Lyons, in a statement released Wednesday night. "Reactionary legislation that punishes law abiding citizens in Massachusetts. I joined 27 of my republican colleagues and voted no."
The bill had originally been introduced in May and was immediately met with stiff opposition from 2nd Amendment advocates, including the Gun Owners Action League (GOAL).
According to a report published by The State House News, a revamped version of the bill was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee Wednesday morning and was immediately put before the full House for debate.
The changes quelled some of the opposition to the bill.
"We have been very successful in changing the gun language in this bill," said Jim Wallace, 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."
According to The State House News, the version approved by the House included the following provisions:
- A police chief can deny a firearm identification card (FID) �if there is credible information that the applicant poses a safety risk.
- Allows licensed gun dealers to access criminal offender record information (CORI) and obtain a CORI check when hiring employees.
- Sets up a criminal firearms and trafficking unit within the State Police. This was a measure pushed for by GOAL.
- Directs the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services to set up an online portal for private sales.
- Increases fines for failure to report a lost or stolen firearm.
- Sets up penalties for gun dealers who also fail to report lost or stolen firearm.
- School districts would be required to have a school resource officer for security purposes and schools would be required to develop plans to address students� mental health needs.
- Allows minors to hunt under the supervision of an individual with a FID card or a license to carry (LTC).
"The main problem is that we really don't know exactly what the bill does," said Miceli. "I've read through the whole thing twice. It's not clear if the (school resource officer) is paid for by the state or if it's an unfunded mandate."
Because of those questions and concerns, Miceli voted in favor of of a motion to delay action on the bill. The motion was defeated.
"We only got this bill this morning," said Miceli. "I said to the Speaker (of the House Robert DeLeo) that I felt like this was getting rammed down our throats."
Republican Doug Sears, who is running against Miceli in the November election, said he opposed tougher gun legislation on principle.
"There are enough gun laws on the books in Massachusetts," said Sears. "Beacon Hill should be repealing gun control laws, not enacting more like H4278."
Debate in the House over this legislation is far from over. The Senate is expected to take up the Bill this week and will likely send it back to the House after approving their own version. The current Legislative session ends on July 31.