Some of the changes to the Massachusetts gun regulations [H4376] that were signed into law by Governor Patrick on August 13, 2014 went into effect immediately, while other changes are scheduled to go into effect at different times.
Effective January 1, 2015, Massachusetts Licensing Authorities may petition the district court to deny an applicant’s Firearm Identification Card based on undefined suitability measures. Prior to this new legislation, Firearm Identification Cards were purely handled as Shall Issue, without the imposition of an arbitrary suitability standard. Shall Issue meant that if you passed the state and federal background check, after being fingerprinted, photographed, interviewed and paying all applicable fees, you Shall be issued a FID. That process ends January 1, 2015 with the implementation of the new FID suitability language.
Another important area to pay attention to is the new law language that seeks to impose a voluntary expectation on physicians to ask their patients whether they own and possess firearms. Physicians are encouraged to participate in training that educates them about the role of firearms, including firearms ownership and access to household firearms, in impacting rates of attempted and completed suicides. Under this provision physicians will also be asked to assess and report risk of harm that is heightened by the patient’s ownership of firearms. This process can lead to the temporary or permanent “Safe Harbor” of firearms – the confiscation of lawfully owned firearms. The potential for misuse of this provision is, at minimum, concerning.
You can find the full MGL Chapter 284 “An Act Relative To Reducing Gun Violence” herehttps://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2014/Chapter284
Stay tuned for PART III
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