Massachusetts Newly Proposed “Bona Fide Firearms Collector” Regulations
Massachusetts – The Patrick Administration through the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security has proposed yet another change in regulations regarding firearm issues. This particular change would alter 501 CMR 6.00 MACHINE GUN LICENSE BONA FIDE COLLECTORS OF FIREARMS.
This regulation determines who is eligible to receive a machine gun license under Chapter 140, Section 131(o)(ii) and 131 (p).
(o) No person shall be issued a license to carry or possess a machine gun in the commonwealth, except that a licensing authority or the colonel of state police may issue a machine gun license to:
(ii) a bona fide collector of firearms upon application or upon application for renewal of such license.
(p) The executive director of the criminal history systems board shall promulgate regulations in accordance with chapter 30A to establish criteria for persons who shall be classified as bona fide collectors of firearms.
While the intentions of the newly proposed regulations are not spelled out, what is clear is that they will further restrict machine gun license holders.
Comparing the current regulations and the newly proposed, the administration is removing the words “demonstration” and “test firing” from the regulatory language. The new language also adds the ability of licensing authorities to establish restrictions on the license and set further conditions on the actual licensing. This is the same abused authority that is currently given to local licensing authorities over Licenses to Carry.
To understand what is being done here we must cross reference several things (all found below):
1. Sections 9, 11, 12 and 15 of the Governor's legislative package H.4102 “An Act to Reduce Firearm Violence” that deal with changing the laws regarding machine guns, and
2. The last sentence of the proposed Firearms Exhibition regulations, and
3. The proposed regulations concerning “Bona Fide Collector”
After reviewing these items collectively, it appears that what the administration is attempting to establish is a license that might allow a citizen to possess a machine gun, but that the licensee would never be allowed to fire it. For certain, they would never be allowed to let anyone else fire it.
Once again, the citizens of Massachusetts are facing a systematic erosion of our Second Amendment rights and the continuation of a culture of government that continually abuses and persecutes lawful citizens. GOAL urges our members to oppose these regulations and the combined effort of the Patrick administration to erode our rights.
The regulations are scheduled to have a public hearing on Monday, July 20, 2009 at 10:00 am at the Massachusetts State Police Headquarters, 470 Worcester Road, Framingham, MA 01702. To submit written comments in advance of the hearing, please send them attn: Catherine Bailey, Assistant General Counsel, Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, One Ashburton Place, Room 2133, Boston, MA 02108. An official copy of the proposed regulations may be obtained from the same address.
Current Regulatory Definition:
Bona Fide Collectors of Firearms: A “bona fide collector of firearms”, for the purpose of issuance of a machine gun license, shall be defined as an individual who acquires firearms for such lawful purposes as historical significance, display, research, lecturing, demonstration, test firing, investment or other like purposes. For the purpose of issuance of a machine gun license the acquisitions of firearms for sporting use or for use as an offensive or defensive weapon shall not qualify an applicant as a bona fide collector of firearms. An individual licensed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44 Sections 921-929 and 27 CFR part 178 shall be deemed a bona fide collector of firearms for the purpose of this regulation.
Newly Proposed Regulation Definition:
Bona Fide Collectors of Firearms: A “bona fide collector of firearms”, for the purpose of issuance of a machine gun license, shall be defined as an individual who:
(a) Is licensed to carry firearms pursuant to M.G.L. c. 140, S 131:
(b) Is licensed to engage in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms, or importing or manufacturing ammunition, or is a person licensed to be a collector of curio and relics pursuant to 18 U. S.C. c. 144, SS 921 through 929 and 27 CFR Part 478;
(c) Meets at least one of the following criteria
1. Is an individual who can demonstrate that he collects firearms for investment purposes; or
2. Is an individual who can demonstrate that firearms are necessary for historical display or research or lecturing conducted by the individual; and
3. Is subject to such license conditions and restrictions as the licensing authority deems proper.
Newly Proposed Firearm Exhibition Language
Firearms Exhibition means any event held at a sporting or shooting club or facility open to the general public or to non-members where firearms, rifles, shotguns or ammunition, all as defined in M.G.L. c.140 § 121, are provided to attendees for the regulated shooting on the premises of the said sporting or shooting club or facility.
(2) Machine Guns. The use of machine guns, as defined in M.G.L. c.140 § 121, is prohibited at any firearms exhibition.
Sections of H.4102 pertaining to changes in the machine gun laws:
SECTION 9. Section 129C of chapter 140, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “purpose”, in line 84, the following words:- , provided, however, that nothing in this subsection shall allow for the holding, handling, or firing of a machine gun by any person other than a person licensed to possess a machine gun under section 131(o) or police personnel receiving instruction from a firearm instructor certified by the municipal police training committee or the colonel of the state police.
SECTION 11. Section 130 of chapter 140 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by 70 inserting after the word “shotgun”, in line 8, the following words:- or machine gun
SECTION 12. Section 130 is hereby further amended by inserting after the word “years”, in line 28, the following words:- ; and provided further, that nothing in this section shall allow for the holding, handling, or firing of a machine gun by any person other than a person licensed to possess a machine gun under section 131(o) or police personnel receiving instruction from a firearm instructor certified by the municipal police training committee or the colonel of the state police
SECTION 15. Section 131 is hereby further amended by striking out, in lines 341-347, subsection (o) and inserting in place thereof the following subsection:-
(o) No person shall be issued a license to carry or possess a machine gun in the commonwealth, except that a licensing authority or the colonel of the state police may issue a machine gun license to an individual who possesses a valid license to carry under this section and is:
(i) a firearm instructor certified by the municipal police training committee for the sole purpose of firearm instruction to police personnel;
(ii) a bona fide collector of firearms upon application or upon application for renewal of such license; or
(iii) a law enforcement officer employed by such licensing authority or a law enforcement officer employed by or appointed as a special state police officer by the colonel.
Gun Owners' Action League is the official state firearms association in Massachusetts. We are an association of law-abiding citizens who believe in the basic right of firearms ownership for competition, recreation and self-protection. GOAL works hard to defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights against those in Massachusetts who wish to infringe upon the freedoms guaranteed by our forefathers. The programs sponsored and developed by Gun Owners' Action League are supported by competitors, sportsmen, recreational shooters and law enforcement throughout the state. We were formed in 1974 to protect the right to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We are recognized as the state's premier gun rights association. www.goal.org