A joint state House and Senate hearing on a bill that would treat gun ownership like a disease was scheduled Dec. 10, and the Massachusetts Gun Owners Action League—an affiliate of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms—has been sounding the alarm.
Rightly so, considering the language of this legislation, whose prime sponsor is Democrat State Rep. Jon Santiago of Suffolk. CCRKBA was tipped off by GOAL Executive Director Jim Wallace, who has spoken at the annual Gun Rights Policy Conference several times. The conference is jointly sponsored by CCRKBA and its sister organization, the Second Amendment Foundation.
“Mandating that people are screened for gun ownership as if we have a communicable disease is outrageous,” Wallace said in an alert to GOAL members.
This is hardly the first time that gun ownership has been approached in this manner. For years, anti-gunners have contended that gun-related violence is a public health issue, and they have received support from many in the medical community. Rights activists have countered that gun-related violence is a crime problem, and should be handled as such.
Here’s the original language of Rep. Santiago’s legislation:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
SECTION 1. Chapter 111 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after
section 236 the following section:
Section 237. The director shall establish a program for firearm screening and counseling. Such program shall systematically screen all patients for the presence of firearms in the home. The director shall, after consultation with recognized professional medical groups and such other sources as the director deems appropriate, promulgate regulations establishing (1) the means by which and the intervals at which patients shall be screened for the presence of firearms in the home and (2) guidelines for safety counseling for individuals that screen positive for the presence of firearms in the home.
SECTION 2. This section shall take effect 6 months after its passage.
In the GOAL bulletin, Wallace observed, “For many years the anti-civil rights crowd has tried to make gun violence a public health crisis. Now it appears that they want to treat simple gun ownership as a disease!”
He said Santiago’s legislation “shows the disdain for simply exercising our civil rights in the Commonwealth.”