Proposed bill would restrict gun rights for domestic violence

On behalf of Brian D. Roman, Attorney at Law on Friday, July 18, 2014.

On July 9, lawmakers in the Massachusetts House of Representatives took up a debate regarding increasing the scope of the current state gun laws. On the agenda, House members considered a provision in a proposed bill that would allow local police chiefs the authority to deny gun licenses to individuals based on the recommendation of local law enforcement. The proposed bill also contains a provision that allows a person previously denied a gun license to appeal the decision.

Milford State Rep. John Fernandes, who is a proponent of the bill, says that it gives police chiefs more discretion to deny gun licenses than the current standard of denial, which focuses solely on whether a person is a citizen or a felon. Fernandes pointed out a hypothetical situation in which police may have been called to a residence several times on domestic violence related matters in the past, yet did not arrest an individual. According to the representative, that would be a situation in which a police chief imbued with greater authority could potentially deny that person's gun rights based on public safety.

The Massachusetts Gun Owners Action League, which is a group that had previously opposed a similar bill is now pledging its support for the proposed measure.

Massachusetts defendants facing charges of domestic violence, domestic assault or other similar allegations need to know that an unfavorable legal outcome can have far-reaching consequences. For example, a conviction related to family violence could soon prevent a law enforcement professional from legally possessing a tool necessary for the performance of their job.

Additionally, domestic violence charges can damage a person's reputation. Even if the allegations are false, legal proceedings can be especially caustic to other professional and personal relationships. That's why it is important for defendants facing such charges to employ all available means to avoid a conviction.

Source: WBUR 90.9, "Gun Bill Up For Debate By Massachusetts House" Jul. 09, 2014