BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS — Massachusetts state law currently allows its municipalities to supersede state firearm permit laws by adding stipulations and requirements. State Rep. James Miceli, however, has introduced a state preemption bill that would make state law the law.
The bill would create a preemption of local laws, disallowing and municipalities from “passing or enforcing ordinances or regulations concerning the lawful ownership, use, possession, transfer, purchase, receipt or transportation of weapons, antique weapons, ammunition or ammunition components.”
Miceli says that the bill “makes sense” because it “strives for a balance between towns and the state government.”
Jim Wallace, the executive director of the Gun Owners’ Action League, an organization that works to “protect and restore Second Amendment freedom in Massachusetts” says that current state law has “created a patchwork of laws across the state, and soon it will be untenable if (the state doesn’t) get in control of it quickly.”
Miceli knows the bill will face certain opposition: “I don’t think it’ll be a priority for the committee, but I’ve got to convince them that this makes sense,” he said.
Stop Handgun Violence director Zoe Grover, who opposes the measure, says the bill is “dangerous” and that current state law allows communities to take a “nuance approach to gun violence … if they see an issue that they can legislate on, they’re able to do something in their own community that might not always be appropriate for the whole state.”
But the conflicting local laws Grover supportd present more problems than solutions for law-abiding citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights.
Though it is always a gun owner’s responsibility to know the laws wherever they choose to carry a firearm, the “patchwork” of inconsistent local laws to which Wallace referred has the potential to cause significant legal issues for firearms owners and carriers who run the risk of becoming a criminal simply by crossing a municipal line within their own state.
Though there is a great disparity regarding what it means to “preempt” local laws, most states have at least some degree of preemption. Check your state’s Attorney General’s website to learn whether or not your state preempts local laws and to what degree.