As gun owners and supporters of the Second Amendment we are used to lawmakers and public officials coming up with new ways to subvert the law and enact defacto gun control. That being said, the Chief of Police of Lowell, Massachusetts, has set the bar to a new low. Massachusetts’ law mandates that it is an, “unrestricted right-to-carry” gun permit state. However, the police chief still has to issue the permit. In this case, the chief of the Lowell, Massachusetts Police Department has mandated that the residents of Lowell submit a written essay to the chief of police that explains just why they want that particular right. To actually receive the permit, the applicant must receive a passing grade.
The whole “shall not be infringed argument” is self-explanatory and needs no further explanation here, but how can anyone even conceive an essay requirement as a fair judge of whether to issue an “unrestricted right-to-carry” gun permit? I have read more than one report from police officers… based on their writing skills, more than a few would not have qualified to carry a firearm. However, that is not to say they were not good coppers. There is a lot that goes in to writing a report or an essay, including time, sleep, stressors, and education to name a few, but none of those have anything to do with the restriction of a Constitutional right.
English, writing skills, grammar, they are all subjective to the interpretation of the reader. Even the SAT, the standard requirement to enter most four-year universities, requires multiple readers to grade an essay, but not in Lowell. In Lowell, the Chief merely makes up a rule and assigns a reader. In fairness, the Chief did not make the rule, he merely brought it up to the city council who approved it, but you get the idea.
Adding insult to injury, in addition to the essay requirement, the residents of Lowell are also required to pay up to $1,100 for firearms training in order to obtain their permit.
The Local Perspective
Once the story broke, The Shooter’s Log immediately went to Mike Pelonzi, President of Magnum Anti Ballistic Systems Corporation. Beyond making some of the most innovative ballistic panels (Check back in the next couple of weeks for a story on Pelonzi’s ballistic solutions), Pelonzi is also a certified firearms training instructor in Massachusetts, which him an ideal candidate for a local perspective.
Pelonzi said, to be certified as a firearms instructor, you have to submit all of your training certificates and a written lesson plan to the Colonel of the MA State Police. Once approved, you are certified to teach the course. Students seeking a CCW who successfully pass that course are and issued a MA certificate, which is supposed to be—and was until now—accepted through all police departments in the state.
However, Lowell, MA, Police Chief William Taylor’s new plan calls for additional requirements such as the essay and fees up to $1,100. Although the details are a bit vague as the department’s website has not yet been updated, it is rumored that the increase in fees is due to the Chief’s requirement that citizens be required to take a class taught by the police department instead of private instructors. Pelonzi noted that the average firearms safety class costs between $75 and $125, plus $100 for the license application fee.
Pelonzi concluded the interview by noting, criminals do not take firearm safety classes. We already have a system that requires training and an application that goes through a full NICS background check. Lowell’s new requirements add a burden to the law-abiding citizens and potentially denies them of their Constitutional rights, but does nothing to deter crime.
Jim Wallace with the Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts released this statement: “It is absurd that people should have to write an essay to the town to explain why they should be able to exercise their constitutional rights. We already have a very strict set of gun laws in the state, but this is way over the top. It’s like having a college professor say, ‘I’m going to read your essay and if I don’t like it, I’m going to give it back to you.’” “We’re no longer taking a cookie-cutter approach to issuing firearms licenses,” he said, in the Lowell Sun.
More time? More time for what? How is more time than the law dictates and burdensome, unnecessary requirements anything more than discrimination and an unlawful requirement to enact backdoor gun control by either denying citizens of their Constitutional rights or at a minimum delaying those rights?
How do you feel about Lowell, Massachusetts, new requirement to obtain an “unrestricted right-to-carry” gun permit by writing an essay and increasing the fees? Share you opinions in the comment section.