I get an increasing number of calls and emails from people who either want to secure a gun license for the first time (“License To Carry”, or “LTC” in abbreviated legal terms,) or they have been denied a license application by a local police chief, and wish to appeal. Most people think that just hunters and people in dangerous lines of work (such as transporting large amounts of cash to and from a business,) are interested in carrying handguns.
Not so. As a Boston gun license attorney, I can assure readers of this blog that a rapidly growing number of “everyday” citizens either want, or feel the need to carry a gun. It’s not hard to understand: The amount of violence in our society is frightening. Gangs roam the streets not just in urban jungles known for crime, but in the “quiet” suburbs, also. Everyday people fear they could become victims of a Massachusetts robbery crime, or a Massachusetts sex assault. Other people fear the increasing militarization of local police departments, and see in this the makings of government one day threatening the liberty of citizens, if a catastrophic economic crisis ever occurred. Is this an outgrowth of the Tea Party? Conspiratorial thinking? Are these people reactionary extremists? It’s hard to say, but far more people than many would suspect, either carry guns or wish to.
Against this demand, is handgun violence that has reached all-time highs, and vocal calls for increased handgun regulation. How to balance the two competing demands? The Massachusetts Legislature recently considered various proposals on this subject, which I’ve blogged about recently. Just a couple of weeks ago, both branches of state legislature passed and sent to Governor Deval Patrick a “compromise bill – which the governor signed into law. That law provides for the following:
►Massachusetts will become part of a national database to conduct criminal and mental health background checks for gun license applicants. Previously, police departments here were limited in researching criminal and mental health background checks.
►Massachusetts schools will be required to develop approaches to address students’ mental health needs, in the hope of avoiding another Columbine-like disaster.
►Police chiefs will have the ability to go to court to keep rifles and shotguns out of the hands of people they deem dangerous.
These new provisions will be added to already tough gun laws in Massachusetts, which include:
►A complete ban on semiautomatic assault weapons.
►Stringent gun licensing requirements
►Prohibitions against anyone previously convicted of a violent crime or am drug trafficking offense from either owning or carrying a gun.
As I’ve said previously in this blog on this subject, as a Dedham Massachusetts gun licensing lawyer, I think these measure are balanced and in the public interest.