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The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

In Support of Massachusetts Gun Laws and The Right To Carry On Campus

The pro-gun lobby is very anti-Obama because, according to an NRA (National Rifle Association) publication, Obama wants to ban the sale of almost all hunting ammunition, prosecute people who use guns for self-defense in their own homes, and wants to increase the tax on guns and ammunition by 500%. Among other things. What people seem to be conveniently forgetting is that the President cannot propose legislation, so the gun lobby may be better off with Obama as President rather than as a Senator, so he can’t create legislation against firearms.

But I’m not here to write about Obama and the gun lobby, but Massachusetts gun laws. I believe that the laws in MA are fine as they are and that most people should be aware of them. I also believe more people should be licensed to carry a firearm.

Out of an informal poll of people I know, no one knew that MA is a concealed carry state. The law states that if you are licensed to carry, you must carry concealed. You’d be surprised at the number of people you walk past each day who are carrying a gun with out you even knowing. The licensing structure in Mass has three levels: FID card (Firearms Identification Card) License to Carry Class B and License to Carry Class A. In order to receive a license to carry in MA you must be 21 years of age or over, take a State Police approve pistol safety course, fill out an application, get two letters of recommendation, and write a letter stating your need for a license to carry. The police will take your fingerprints when you turn your application in and send them to the State Police for approval from the Colonel and a CORI check.

Also, if you live in the Boston area, you may be required to go to the State Police firing range and prove your competency on the range with a gun provided at the range by an officer. You may also be required to be a member of a gun club. Membership at a club can cost around $150, and the course costs around $100. All that plus the $100 dollar fee paid when you turn in the application can make it a little expensive. But most of the communities in MA either will issue or may issue, which means they will either give you your license if you meet all the requirements or they may issue a restricted license if you meet all the requirements.

All that seems complicated, but its not. What the different licenses boils down to is that an FID card lets you own a rifle and fire it on private property, at a range, or while hunting. A Class B license allows you to own pistols with capacity of 5 rounds or less but you cannot carry them concealed, except I believe on the way to the range, and you cannot draw it to protect yourself. A Class A allows you to own high capacity firearms and clips (high capacity is defined by the state as holding 10 or more rounds) and allows you to carry a pistol concealed and draw and use it in defense of yourself or family if your life is threatened.

Interesting fact: there is no limit to the number of firearms you can carry concealed, as long as they are concealed. Police can stop you if the outline of a firearm is visible in your clothes (this is known as the gun imprinting).

The gun laws in MA are pretty fair, as long as you don’t have a violent criminal record, haven’t been in a mental institution, and you can pay for everything, you’ll most likely get your license.

There are places where you are prohibited from carrying by federal law. Mainly, this is Federal property such as Post Offices and government buildings, but one place you cannot carry no matter what is on school property. This includes public schools, private schools, and college campuses. The big one here is college campuses. The Virginia Tech shooting is still fresh in some people’s minds and might have seen fewer fatalities if other students, who had been licensed as per local law, were carrying that day. They could have possibly stopped the shooter before he did as much damage as he did.

There is a growing movement lobby for the right to carry firearms on college campuses and, personally, I feel that lumping colleges in with K-12 schools in the law needs to be re-examined. Many colleges allow drinking on campus and have bars. If they feel that students are responsible enough to drink on campus, then why don’t they allow students that the police feel are responsible enough to carry guns to do so on campus? Banning guns from college campus does not stop shootings, as people determined to do so are going to go ahead regardless of what the law says. So if we allow students to carry to class (if they are licensed to do so; I want to reiterate that I’m a fan of requiring licenses to keep people who have violent criminal records or are mentally unstable from obtaining firearms, legally at least) perhaps the next college shooting, if it can’t be averted by the police, can be stopped by someone before it go too far.