On Wednesday, January 23, 2008
the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security will be holding a public hearing on bills pertaining to "Gun Trafficking and Gang Violence". The hearing is scheduled to take place at 1:00 PM in room A-1
. The following list of bills is set to be heard:
H2293 An Act Establishing a System of Ballistic Identification
H2340 An Act to Improve the Tracing of Guns Used in Crimes
H2342 An Act Protecting Children and Adults from Unsafe Handguns
H2343 An Act to Close a Loophole in the Assault Weapons Ban and Further Reduce Gun Violence in the Commonwealth
S1354 An Act Regarding the Prevention of Illegal Gun Trafficking and Gun Violence Among Youth in the Commonwealth
S1383 An Act Preventing Illegal Trafficking of Firearms
H.2293 and H.2340 attempts to resurrect the discredited idea of creating a ballistics database for every gun sold in the Commonwealth We note that both are based on a fundamentally flawed concept.
Recently, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives released a report on firearms that were traced. Although the BATFE carefully indicates that the overall data should not be used to construe crime trends, they do show for those crime guns that were traced, an average “time to crime” of more than 12 years.
H.2342 would place into statute the language of 940 CMR 16.00, the Attorney General’s regulations on handguns. Given the supreme amount of confusion these regulations are currently causing, such a move would be extremely unproductive for the economic health and safety of the commonwealth.
H.2343 would prohibit licensed dealers from transferring so-called “assault weapons” currently lawfully owned under state law, unless the sale was to a law enforcement official.
S1354 Despite its title, the bill has nothing to do with youth, and the term Youth or Minor is not mentioned anywhere in the bill. This bill does attempt, through further regulation of licensed firearms owners and dealers, to address problems caused by persons who have no license.
Of the 21 sections in the bill, two-thirds are specifically aimed at the law abiding gun owner. Specifically, four create new regulations for law abiding gun owners, five create new crimes aimed only at licensed gun owners, and five involve greater data collection on licensed gun owners! S.1354 represents a continued journey along the failed path of placing more regulation on gun owners in a vain attempt to curb crime.
S1383 This bill creates no new penalty for persons who own or sell firearms illegally. The title is a misnomer, because the bill seeks instead to restrict the purchases of law abiding citizens with firearms licenses.
The entire presumption of this bill is that licensed gun owners are guilty of committing crimes, which is not borne out by the facts. The sponsors apparently believe that by controlling sales made by gun owners with licenses, we can somehow affect the firearms being used by persons without licenses. It is a fundamental error in logic that ensures S.1383 would have no effect on reducing crime. S.1383 is a type of “one gun a month” bill hidden under another title.