Proposed Arsenal Law!

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Proposed Lowell law would tighten rules for gun owners - Lowell Sun Online

Proposed Lowell law would tighten rules for gun owners

By Lyle Moran, lmoran@lowellsun.com
Updated: 05/06/2011 06:35:57 AM EDT


LOWELL, MA -- When thieves broke into a home in the Acre neighborhood on a weekend in early January and stole about 40 guns from a homemade vault, police were not notified until the homeowner returned to his property early the next week.

Since then, two men have been indicted for their alleged roles in the crime, but just a handful of the guns stolen from 9 Dublin St. have been recovered.

"Those weapons are out on the street and in the hands of criminals," said Lowell Police Superintendent Kenneth Lavallee.

In order to prevent similar incidents in Lowell and the movement of guns from the hands of law-abiding citizens to lawbreakers, Lavallee, Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone and Rep. Kevin Murphy helped city officials craft a home-rule petition seeking the power to require owners of 10 or more firearms to notify police of the weapons' location within 24 hours of possessing them.

The proposed law would also require owners of more than 10 firearms to secure them in a locked safe or vault and install an alarm system with central monitoring that would notify police when the alarm is activated.

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to send the home-rule petition to the state Legislature. If the proposal receives state approval, Lowell would be the only community in the state requiring residents who possess large numbers of firearms to tell the city of their location and install an alarm system, Lavallee and gun-owner advocates said.

Secure storage of the guns should help prevent thefts, and the alarm systems would enable police to respond quickly to potential thefts and keep the guns out of criminals' hands, said Lavallee.

"The main idea is to prevent guns from getting out on the street," he said.

Police would also benefit from knowing if they are entering a home where the homeowner or potential thieves are armed, an important ability Lavallee compared to firefighters knowing if the homes and facilities they enter are housing hazardous chemicals.

Lowell also wants to require all owners of more than five firearms in the city to store them in a locked safe or vault. Violators of the law would face up to five years in state prison or up to 2.5 years in a jail or house of correction. Fines of between $5,000 and $10,000 could also be levied on violators.

James Machado, executive director of the Massachusetts Police Association, praised Lowell's proposal for its potential public-safety benefits, but said law-enforcement officials must make sure there are strong protections in place so that criminals are unable to access any gun database the city would create.

"The police will have to be careful how they alert each other," Machado said. "It is not something you want to talk about over the air."

Machado also cautioned that the law will only be effective if it calls for gun owners to place their weapons in safes and vaults that are extremely difficult to penetrate. A lock box where people typically place their insurance papers should not qualify, he said.

The home-rule petition defines a safe or vault as a fireproof container with a combination key or locking mechanism that is fastened to the wall or the floor.

Murphy, a Lowell Democrat whose district includes Dublin Street, said the city was wise to take the home-rule route because it would be much more difficult to pass statewide legislation with similar provisions. If the petition makes it through the legislative process and proves successful in stemming gun violence in Lowell, it could become a statewide model, he said.

"I hope the argument that we are only talking about the city of Lowell, which is an urban center with gun-violence issues, will help its chances," Murphy said.

But the state's most prominent gun-owners group hopes to see Lowell's proposal rejected by state lawmakers. Jim Wallace, executive director of the Gun Owners' Action League, said he is worried Lowell's proposal would make an already confusing system of laws regulating licensing and storage of firearms more confusing.

State law requires lawful owners of firearms, rifles or shotguns to secure them in a locked container or equipped tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device to prevent any unlawful person from using the weapon. Police should know where licensed gun owners live because of laws already in place, and police are able to respond quickly to any incidents, Wallace said.

"They already know who we are and where we are," Wallace said.

The Gun Owners' Action League believes the state should place its focus on handing out harsh punishments to gun thieves. Gun-related deaths have increased by 68 percent since the state passed a gun-control law in 1998, according to Wallace.

The group has sponsored legislation known as the "Civil Rights and Public Safety Act," which would create stiffer penalties for prohibited persons who possess firearms and create laws concerning breaking and entering with the intent to steal a firearm. The legislation would also create a unit within the State Police, which would be called the Criminal Firearms and Trafficking Division, that would help the state attorney general's office investigate and prosecute crimes involving the unlawful use of firearms.

"If you take people off the street stealing guns, we would not have these problems," Wallace said.

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This is the top of a VERY slippery slope. While some may argue it does not directly infringe on the Second Amendment because it does not prohibit gun ownership, it does place requirements on certain owners that are in no way just. Instead of requiring law abiding citizens to inform the police of how many guns they have and requiring them to lock them up, how about if the law abiding citizens require the police to lock up criminals????
 
I know of one state that already requires proof of a safe prior/at time of purchase. Not a big fan of this whole idea. Not that safes are a bad idea, quite the contrary. However, notifying the authorities as a requirement, don't think so. Unless I decide to show what I have, no one needs to know.
 
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These morons need to actually read the heller decision. The requirement of locking the firearms in a safe is the opposite of heller. Then they need to read McDonald to see that heller directly applies to them. The alarm system requirement would most likely be unconstitutional but the requirement to notify law enforcement would probably be found constitutional.
 
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I just moved back here from Lowell and Lavalle is a total douche. While you can get a CCW in Mass. the local CoP can deny you for any or no reason and he won't give them out period, end of story unless you're politically connected or related to a senior LEO on the Lowell PD. I was carrying $10,000 worth of guns to publicly advertised classes and he wouldn't give me a CCW except a restricted one for "sporting" purposes. I carried to and from the classes on the theory that I was "sporting" in teaching the classes, which is skating on very thin legal ice.

Lowell is a crime-ridden cesspit. I will never set foot in the Commiewealth of Mass. again if I have a choice.
 

darkminstrel

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The proposed law would also require owners of more than 10 firearms to secure them in a locked safe or vault and install an alarm system with central monitoring that would notify police when the alarm is activated.

I stopped reading right there. Load. Of. Pants. It's the first step to back-door registration; 'Thank you, sir, for reporting your total number of owned firearms. Now could you give us the serial numbers for our records? ...just in case they get stolen of course.'
 
The alarm system requirement would most likely be unconstitutional but the requirement to notify law enforcement would probably be found constitutional.
Why stop there, the government could pass legislation that requires EVERYONE purchase health insurance and then fine you up the wazoo through the IRS if you don't... oh wait, they just did that.
 
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The proposed law would also require owners of more than 10 firearms to secure them in a locked safe or vault and install an alarm system with central monitoring that would notify police when the alarm is activated.

I stopped reading right there. Load. Of. Pants. It's the first step to back-door registration; 'Thank you, sir, for reporting your total number of owned firearms. Now could you give us the serial numbers for our records? ...just in case they get stolen of course.'
Um, dude, it's in Massachusetts. They already have gun registration. Any gun you buy has to be registered via form FA-10 within 7 days.
 
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I just can't believe this.. How can you all be so negative about another great idea from the State of Messychoices... Have you forgotten all the other wonderful ideas..decisions..legislation and representation that's come out of this State..to the benifit of this Country?

Why..there's..umm..err... Nevermind.....
 
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As soon as I read "Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone and Rep. Kevin Murphy helped city officials craft a home-rule petition seeking the power to require owners of 10 or more firearms to notify police of the weapons' location within 24 hours of possessing them" I quit reading. Stupid, stupid, stupid. How did this AG pass the bar?
 

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