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“Critics are blasting a Massachusetts city’s new law that they claim requires residents applying for a license to carry handguns to write ‘an essay’ and pay upwards of $1,100 for [five days of] training,” reports. “The new laws take effect this week in Lowell, a city of 110,000 that lies 35 miles north of Boston. Pushed by Police Superintendent William Taylor and passed by the City Council, they require applicants for unrestricted handgun licenses to state in writing why they should receive such a license.” And to think the American revolution started in Massachusetts. gives us the numbers involved . . .

According to Taylor, Lowell has about 6,000 licenses-to-carry issued. The “vast majority,” he said, are restricted, which do not allow residents to openly carry guns.

Lets be clear about that. “Massachusetts is not a traditional open carry state,” informs, “but it is not a crime for Class A License holders to open carry. However, it is reported that some jurisdictions will use this as an excuse to revoke permits.”

What are the odds in gun-friendly [/sarc] Lowell? And let’s be clear about the Bay State’s classification/restriction system [via, emphasis added]:

FID (Firearms Identification Card): Permits the purchase of rifles and shotguns with a capacity of no more than 10 rounds and their carrying for hunting and sporting purposes.[4] FIDs are “Shall issue”, except if the applicant fails a background check or is deemed “unsuitable” by the Police Chief.

LTC-A: This license allows purchase any firearm legal in the state of Mass, are authorized to own “large capacity” firearms holding greater than 10 rounds assuming the magazine is “pre-ban” (Manufactured prior to September 13, 1994) post ban high-capacity magazines are not legal in MA with the exception of Law Enforcement. An LTC-A is the only permit that allows concealed carry in MA assuming it has not had any restrictions placed on it by the Chief of Police or issuing authority.

LTC-B: This license allows purchase/possession of all high capacity rifles/shotguns and standard (not high) capacity handguns. One may only purchase/possess handguns that are not on the Large Capacity Weapons Roster, nor in the presence of a magazine with a capacity of greater than 10 rounds. Handguns must transported unloaded and locked in a case at all times with this license; no ccw is permitted. This license is no longer being issued as of 2015.

Additionally, LTC permits may have the following restrictions, however, none of these restrictions have been clearly defined by state law, and are subject to each Chief of Police’s definition of such. Violation of the restrictions imposed by the licensing authority shall be cause for suspension or revocation of the license and a fine of $1000-$10,000:[3]

Employment: restricts possession to business owner engaged in business activities or to an employee while engaged in work related activities, and maintaining proficiency, where the employer requires carry of a firearm (i.e. armored car, security guard, etc.). Includes travel to and from activity location.

Target and hunting: (Most Common restriction)– restricts possession to the purpose of lawful recreational shooting or competition; for use in the lawful pursuit of game animals and birds; for personal protection in the home; and for the purpose of collecting (other than machine guns). Includes travel to and from activity location

Sporting: restricts possession to the purpose of lawful recreational shooting or competition; for use in the lawful pursuit of game animals and birds; for personal protection in the home; for the purpose of collecting (other than machine guns); and for outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, camping, cross country skiing, or similar activities. Includes travel to and from activity location.

Other: (Very Rare) Issuing Chief has special reason or direction for the restriction of the permit. Can vary greatly.

Jim Wallace, executive director of Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts, is telling Lowell residents not to submit the essay and contest any subsequent denial in court. Good luck with that.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts residents can rest assured that no one’s coming for their guns. Why should they? The government stops you from keeping and bearing arms in the first place. Or in certain places. Same you-know-what, different wrapper. [h/t NM]

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  1. —Sporting: restricts possession to the purpose of lawful recreational shooting or competition; for use in the lawful pursuit of game animals and birds; for personal protection in the home; for the purpose of collecting (other than machine guns); and for outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, camping, cross country skiing, or similar activities. Includes travel to and from activity location—

    I would think “Urban Hiking” (walking downtown) would qualify as an outdoor recreational activity. {or similar}.

  2. In addition this is a may issue state and here in Springfield if you’re not part of establishment you cannot carry open or concealed. This because of the Chief of Police was interviewed when he was appointed and and when asked stated that is his decision because it says right in the Constitution that he can regulate firearms.

      • Start a relocation fund for a friendlier town if he gets replaced.

        What else are you gonna do? Get him whacked?

        • “What else are you gonna do? Get him whacked?”

          We don’t talk like that, we say “Antney, I got a little problem I need you take care of” ……

  3. How many times do you have to write FU?

    When your neighbor dictates how you interdict their dictatorness [slow-fu<K], then you have to respond with spectacular violence [fast f<K]. I'm not advocating for that, just telling you what has already been decided by history. (I could quote Sun Tzu, or Clausewitz or a few other strategists for you, but if I have to, you likely wouldn't get it, and that's not being snobby)

    • Once a license was required, it ceased being a right, and became a highly regulated and controlled privilege.

  4. Born in Mass. Hated it then, hate it more now. It’s just a de facto British Colony. Graves in Lexington and Concord are turning.
    Now in Texas, a free state. 2 kinds of Texans, those born here, those that got here as soon as they could.

    • What about the third type? Commiefornians trying to change things to be like the cesspool they left behind?

      • Need I remind you that the “Commiefornians” you talk about ruining other states most likely were born in some other state. The native Californians I know are almost 100% second amendment supporters.

  5. and who does that restrict? The less well off and the lesser educated.

    The less well off can’t afford the training, and might not have the time (some people have multiple jobs to make ends meet), and the lesser educated might potentially write a poor essay, both of which would bar them from getting a permit..

    Sounds like Jim Crow laws minus the specfic color bias

    • My first thought too. This is exactly like the “literacy tests” in the old south. Also, $1100? As the saying in real estate goes “the law says we can’t discriminate, but our prices say we can.”

    • Here in the People’s Republic, each Chief can make their own rules. For example, when I moved to my town, it was required that I get a Voter Registration card. The Town Clerk said that I didn’t need one and it would cost me $3.00. I had to get it. I also had to sign a paper listing carry restrictions (mine was issued for “Personal Protection” back when that was an option) like I couldn’t carry in places that served alcohol. The Chiefs (or their designees) have mostly absolute power over issuance and restrictions.

      I’m heading to NH soon!!

  6. Well considering the quality of what is laughingly called public school education over the last thirty plus years just how many people have the competency to pen an essay properly but more importantly how many people are competent enough to judge the quality of an essay?

  7. The ordinance makes literacy a requirement for observing a Constitutionally protected right. I can’t see this surviving a court challenge.

    • Probably not but that’s not the point. It’s the arrogance of politicians and political appointees enacting knowingly unconstitutional laws then telling the citizens (for whom they work) screw or pony up their personal fortunes to contest the laws in court. See also NY SAFE Act, Andrew Cuomo.

  8. I don’t understand. you wrote that a class A license in Mass you cannot have a gun with capacity over 10 rds unless pre-ban, I’m in Western MA and I just bought a glock 19 that holds more than 10 rds and is definitely not pre-ban. I think you might want to add that that part is for rifles not handguns.

    • No, it’s for both. New mags are limited to ten rounds. The guns can be capable of holding more, but the mag size is limited. Unless you bought that gun from a cop, or the magazine (not the gun) is pre-ban, you’re illegal.

      And you didn’t buy a new Glock, either, since Glocks don’t comply with the AG’s regulations and can’t be sold by FFLs.

      So what you bought is a used Glock with a pre-ban mag.

      • I concur. I’m still a little hazy on the mag stuff. A date stamped mag is pretty self-explanatory but is an unstamped hi cap mag presumed to be pre or post ban?

        • @Rad Man, that’s the $64,000 question. IIRC, “hi-cap” mags made during the federal AWB were supposed to be stamped “Restricted Law Enforcement/Government Use Only,” or words to that effect. So hi-cap mags bearing such stamp would likely be considered “post-ban” in MA, a state that allows pre-ban mags (for now).

          There aren’t a lot of cases about this that I know of. When I buy a pre-ban mag, I buy only from a top FFL like Four Seasons Firearms and others, and I get solid paperwork to back it up.

  9. RF,

    I’m surprised that Jim didn’t mention this: the Class B is gone as of last year. Also, no license is needed for pepper spray and the CLEO can be required to state their reason for denial in writing. The restrictions are still there though. So, not a big improvement but I;m glad that GOAL got something done.

    Oh, I almost forgot to say that my town requires a statement on why you should be issued a license to carry.

  10. I’m so glad I’m no longer incarcerated in MA. I had guns that I brought in from out of state and had to leave the regular capacity magazines at my parents house. It was really stupid giving my parents my 12 round XD 40 mags. I had a pistol that was in essence a single shot.

  11. This is even worse thn Claifornia (up to 16 hours of training, including 8 hours of classroom time). Just what are you supposed to do for five days of “training”? Even if a whole day is devoted to class, that means four days of shooting. That’s a lot of shooting. No, the real purpose here is to prevent most everyone other than security guards getting Class A licenses.

  12. Just ’cause I want to rant, my son’s 21 year old friend just got his brand new LTC. It still says “Class A” (but maybe the state still has a stock of the old-style cards) and it has NO RESTRICTIONS! MFSOB! My son, who didn’t apply until he was 24 got a Class B (which doesn’t allow CC and you can’t buy a pistol that can ACCEPT a magazine of greater than 10 round capacity).

    So much for “equal before the law”. I am so pi$$ed! 8~(

  13. OK, sorry, I know I am an unpatriotic stick in the mud. But I get so tired of hearing about people having gun rights problems in (and this list is not complete) NY, NJ, MA, MD, CA, HI, Canada, Mexico, Australia, the UK, etc. If all the serious people of the gun would pool in the states that have decent gun rights, we could get critical mass and solve all the gun problems there. I’m reminded of of a Sam Kinison routine about us sending food to Ethiopia in the mid-80’s:

    “You want to help world hunger? Stop sending them food. Don’t send them another bite, send them U-Hauls. Send them a guy that says, “You know, we’ve been coming here giving you food for about 35 years now and we were driving through the desert, and we realized there wouldn’t BE world hunger if you people would live where the FOOD IS! YOU LIVE IN A DESERT!! UNDERSTAND THAT? YOU LIVE IN A F-ING DESERT!! NOTHING GROWS HERE! NOTHING’S GONNA GROW HERE! Come here, you see this? This is sand. You know what it’s gonna be 100 years from now? IT’S GONNA BE SAND!! YOU LIVE IN A F-ING DESERT! We have deserts in America, we just don’t LIVE in them, a-holes!”

    I could paraphrase that for people in commie states: “You wouldn’t have as many gun rights issues if you people would live where the the gun rights are! You don’t need legislation, or lawsuits, you need a U-Haul!!! You live in a blue state!! Understand that? See your government and the people who vote them in? They’re LIBTARDS and they will always be LIBTARDS. The real POTG know there are blue states, we just don’t live in them, a-holes!

    Completely unfair rant, I know. I’m so ashamed of myself…

    • The ratio of moonbats to normal people is incredibly high, and gun ownership is low. So the moonbats convince the people who don’t care about guns to vote along with something that sounds good on the outside, but is intensely rdidiculous if you actually are a gun owner. I should know, I used to be one of those low information voters.

  14. I prefer an essay movie trailer style:
    The following motion picture has been rated PG13

    In a world where the only thing standing between yourself and your civil rights is a tough cop with a sharp pencil and grammar skills, comes one man…with an essay. This summer, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the Essayist. A lone compassionate man who writes essays for people who earn their civil rights but holds a deep dark secret, a passion for AK47s and mayhem. Watch Arnold take out the bad guys and yet take the time to write passionate essays about having to earn your civil rights.

    Random dude: I can’t figure out how to write this essay to get my rights. I need help, I need the Eassyist.

    Mr Essayist: FREEZE! Lose the guns or I redecorate in brain-matter grey, got it?

    Random dude: I need to know what to say to get my rights. What should I say?

    Mr Essayist: You crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.

    Randome Dude: That sounds pretty tough, think the chief will buy it?

    Mr Essayist: Why am I wasting time with a dime-store putz like you when I could be doing something much more dangerous, like re-arranging my sock drawer?

    To be or not to be……Not to be

    The Essayist – writing the story of your life today! Coming soon to theaters!

  15. So u should be able to buy any gun u want in Massachusetts right. Standard capacity is whatever magazine is sold with the firearm right. I’m not sure how government can say standard for military and LE is one thing and standard for civilians is another thing. A definition is a definition correct.

  16. Thank you for picking this up! We are just asking the Superintendent to follow the letter and spirit of the law and stop putting blockers in the way of law abiding citizens!

    • “We are just asking the Superintendent to follow the letter and spirit of the law “

      There might be part of the problem you (and all of us) face. Don’t ask. Tell.

      Agents of the State are not our superiors. We really need to stop thinking in those terms. That’s why these issues are very much “cultural issues” and “public education issues.”

      Colorado showed us all how to do this sort of thing: recalls.

      Extend that idea to lawsuits (Title 1983, for example). This Police Superintendent is not your “better” you have to “ask” to do his job properly. TELL HIM: “Do your job properly or we will find someone who will.” Ditto the City Council.

      But, I get it. You don’t have the votes for that. That’s the challenge. Someone above said that the rabid anti’s in that AO are leading this sort of thing, and those that ‘really don’t care about guns’ follow along. If that’s true, THEY are the ones to reach.

      I envision a flier/brochure/pamphlet that says something like:

      “Imagine if you had to submit an essay before you could:

      Write a Letter to the Editor of Your Paper
      Attend the Church of Your Choice
      Request a Lawyer upon Arrest
      Prevent Yourself from Being Tortured for Information
      Refuse Someone Entry Into Your Own Home

      Imagine that. Because those are coming next.”

      And FLOOD the area with this (and others). Have ‘activists’ handing them out at the entrances to stores (with permission, of course, yada, yada).

      All the while, pool money and hire a lawyer to file the lawsuits.

      In other words, like they did in Colorado, go on offense. Don’t “ask” and wait with bated breath for them to say “no.” The passive strategy is giving them ALL the power.

      In short, make it painful for these power-hungry Statist to stay their course. “Recall” them. If the only thing they truly value is keeping their own power (in the form of their job), attack them there.

  17. What is this, the fucking SATs or a LTCF app.

    I would CHEERFULLY write an essay as a requirement for a Mass permission slip. *blech* Problem would be that no good would come from any of my written words (in this case).

    … would be a good read though. Ralph would appreciate.

  18. My old home town. Many of my classmates and several friends are officers there. Sadly, more than few of them would struggle writing a coherent statement extemporaneously about why they need to breath. A statement like this would certainly stump them.

    On a side note, many, if not a majority of the residents are ESL which make the requirement of writing a statement for the LTC application to potentially be discriminatory. The utilities there send out notices in at least 3 languages for liability reasons as I recall.

  19. Does going of to war for this country, training on rifles, pistols. grenade launcher, rocket launchers, machine guns and artillery pieces and actually using them in the real world count as an exemption to the essay requirement and a pass for mandatory class room instruction?

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