On April 12, 2007 Governor Deval Patrick filed H3978 "An Act to Reduce Gun Violence". Among other things, this bill would make it a crime for Massachusetts licensed gun owners to purchase more than one rifle, shotgun, firearm, machine gun, large capacity weapon or large capacity feeding device in a thirty day period.
In the letter to the Massachusetts General Court that was attached to the bill, the Governor directly blamed the licensed gun owners of the Commonwealth for the illegal gun market. “First, this legislation shrinks the supply of illegal guns, by limiting gun buyers to one firearm purchase per month, reducing gun trafficking by “straw purchasers” who purchase firearms for prohibited buyers.”
As a result, GOAL has sent the following letter to the Governor which includes a Freedom of Information Act request for the specific proof that licensed gun owners are responsible for the illegal gun trade.
"It is time that the supporters of this type of legislation provide the public with specific proof that our members are to blame for illegal gun trafficking," said Jim Wallace, Executive Director of GOAL, "not simply unsubstantiated reports ginned up by anti-civil rights groups, but specific confirmable proof. Over the past decade our members have been forced to bear the consequences of the terribly misguided laws passed in 1998. Now with the ranks of lawful gun owners decimated by ill-conceived laws, our new Governor is trying to blame the rest of us for the growing crime in our state. This type of blanket accusation reflects an appetite to persecute an entire group of people rather than prosecute the few that might be guilty."
April 30, 2007
Governor Deval Patrick
Boston, MA 02133
On behalf of the members of Gun Owners’ Action League I am writing to you today concerning legislation you have recently filed, specifically H3978 “An Act to Reduce Gun Violence.”
In your letter to the General Court attached to the bill you state, “First, this legislation shrinks the supply of illegal guns, by limiting gun buyers to one firearm purchase per month, reducing gun trafficking by “straw purchasers” who purchase firearms for prohibited buyers.” One can only take from this statement that you blame the lawfully licensed gun owners of the Commonwealth for the violence that is taking place on the city streets.
Governor, since the passage of the 1998 Gun Control Act the number of licensed gun owners has been decimated, yet crime rates are soaring out of control. The current over-reaching laws have barred hundreds of thousands of citizens from practicing their civil rights to keep and bear arms. Since the passage of the 1998 Act, the number of licensed gun owners in Massachusetts has been decreased from 1,500,000 to approximately 270,000.
I find it incomprehensible that nearly a decade after the passage of some of the most persecutory gun laws in the nation, our own government could be holding the remaining 15% of lawful gun owners accountable for the illegal gun supply in Massachusetts. Keeping in mind that under the current laws a citizen’s License to Carry a firearm can be revoked or suspended at any time if the issuing authority suspects that the licensee is “unsuitable”, your accusation is even more unreasonable.
With these facts, I hereby request under the Freedom of Information Act any and all documents, memos, briefings, case files, prosecution documents, police reports, etc. specifically proving that the lawful gun owners of the Commonwealth are responsible for the illegal gun trade in Massachusetts.
James L. Wallace
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