Massachusetts Lawmakers Pass Sweeping Anti-Gun Measure

by Tommy Grant

We warned Firearms News readers back in late June that anti-gun Massachusetts lawmakers were pushing forward with a punitive package of gun-control laws that would further infringe on the rights of lawful gun owners. Now, the state House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed the measure. Calling it “An Act Modernizing Firearms Laws,” the House passed H. 4135 by a 120-to-38 vote. The measure now heads to the state Senate for consideration. The legislation imposes some of the most restrictive anti-gun laws in the country. If approved by the Senate and signed by Democrat Gov. Maura Healey, the measure would expand the definition of already banned “assault weapons” to include a single cosmetic feature, outlawing even more common firearms owned by many Massachusetts residents.

Under the bill, and “assault-style” rifle would be defined as: “A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle with the capacity to accept a detachable feeding device and includes any of the following features: (i) a folding or telescopic stock; (ii) a thumbhole stock or pistol grip; (iii) a forward grip or second handgrip or protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand; (iv) a threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor or muzzle break or similar feature; or (v) a shroud that encircles either all or part of the barrel designed to shield the bearer’s hand from heat, excluding a slide that encloses the barrel.”

An “assault-style” pistol would be defined as: ‘A semi-automatic pistol with the capacity to accept a detachable feeding device and includes any of the following features: (i) the capacity to accept a feeding device that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip; (ii) a second handgrip or a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand; (iii) a threaded barrel capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward handgrip or silencer; or (iv) a shroud that encircles either all or part of the barrel designed to shield the bearer’s hand from heat, excluding a slide that encloses the barrel.”

Along with banning many more firearms, H. 4135 would also expand the states “red-flag” law to further infringe on the right to due process and expand the state’s gun registry program. The registration portion of the measure mandates registration of all guns in Massachusetts, except for nonresidents passing through. Those nonresidents will, however, be required to meet the storage requirements.


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The measure would also implement additional safe storage mandates for guns within the home. Under the proposed law it will be unlawful to store or keep any firearm in any place unless such firearm is secured in a locked container as defined in section 121 or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device, properly engaged so as to render the firearm inoperable by any person other than the owner or other lawfully authorized user. According to an analysis by the Gun Owners’ Action League (GOAL), for purposes of this section such firearms would not be deemed stored or kept if carried by or under the direct control of the owner or other lawfully authorized user. Massachusetts gun owners interested in stopping this horrible piece of legislation in its tracks should contact their state senator and make sure he or she is well aware of their opposition to this measure.  


About the Author

Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for nearly 25 years. 


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