Eighteen days after four gun rights groups joined several retailers and private citizens in a federal lawsuit against Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker over his COVID-19 shutdown that includes gun stores and ranges, two growing women’s gun rights groups in the state appealed to the lieutenant governor for help in removing roadblocks to their exercise of Second Amendment rights.
LaKasha Robbins, co-founder of Massachusetts Women Gun Owners (MWGO) and that state’s delegate to the D.C. Project, sent the letter to Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito on behalf of both organizations.
“Women represent the fastest growing segment of new firearms owners in the United States,” Robbins noted. “A significant portion of those women are women of color or represent other increasingly – disenfranchised demographic groups of women.”
Gov. Baker’s coronavirus order drew the lawsuit filed by the Second Amendment Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, Commonwealth Second Amendment, Inc., and some retailers and private citizens. The legal action was supported by the Massachusetts Gun Owners Action League (GOAL), which is not a named plaintiff.
Instead, GOAL recently joined with the National Rifle Association in an amicus brief supporting the lawsuit.
“While we completely respect the health crisis we are in and the noble efforts of our law enforcement and first responders,” Robbins said in her letter, “the ultimate responsibility for keeping ourselves safe rests directly on our own shoulders. The current roadblocks established by the Massachusetts State Administration have made that impossible for many in our community.”
Robbins’ letter asks Polito’s support and assistance in making several things happen:
- Issue an emergency order extending all firearm related licenses, including retailers, for 180 days past the end of the COVID-19 crisis, or until they can be processed.
- Re-classify firearm retailers and shooting ranges as “essential” entities. These places are essential to exercising our Second Amendment rights. The Administration initially released guidelines based on the federal guidelines and included the classification of firearms-related activities and businesses as essential only to later rescind that specification. That resulted in confusion and further increased the disenfranchisement of women and other demographic segments of Second Amendment supporters.
- Work with retailers, clubs, etc. to establish health related guidelines that will allow all activities while complying with risk mitigation requirements (social distancing, masks, disinfection and other things needed to mitigate risk)
- Order the State Police to reactivate firearm safety training using the protocols necessary for safety. This is a state mandate for citizens attempting to exercise their civil rights. Shutting down certified training is shutting down access to a protected right.
- Require local firearm licensing authorities to establish safe practices to process new applications for firearm licenses.
- In general work with our community and cease actively working against us.
GOAL Executive Director Jim Wallace told Liberty Park Press earlier that his organization has had a difficult time communicating with Baker’s administration or the governor, personally. Massachusetts has some of the strictest gun control laws on the map, and the shutdown has made it virtually impossible for gun owners to exercise their rights.
In her letter to Polito, Robbins stated, “The right to keep and bear arms is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution as a fundamental civil right as the Second Amendment. The Founding Fathers specified this natural right to secure our nation and ensure citizens had the means to protect themselves and their loved ones. Our heroic Law Enforcement Officers are a blessing in helping women being safe; however, law enforcement rightfully recognizes that they are unable to guarantee the safety of any individual citizen. They are there to keep the peace and enforce the law.
“As did our Founders,” she added, “our present-day law enforcement officials concede that self-defense is an individual responsibility. This fundamental Natural Right (i.e. God-given) allows us to protect ourselves and our families from domestic violence and other acts of violence to which women disproportionately fall prey. Considering the current public health emergency and the potential threats that could result from it, this is not the time to disempower women – or any other Americans, for that matter.”