Monday, August 01, 2005

Stupid Question

(post formerly titled: Fuckers)

OK, so this is yet another rhetorical question concerning the "common sense" laws of the Commonwealth, but I'm asking it anyway. This is taken from the comment I posted earlier on this post. I figure it would make for a more readable, less cryptic post if I put it up here instead.

Not that I don't enjoy saying "Fuckers" when called for, thank you very much.

Question: Is it too much to ask that the laws of the Commonwealth apply equally to those who wrote them, those who enforce them, and those who live under them?

From Massachusetts General Law Chapter 140: Section 131 Licenses to carry firearms; Class A and B; conditions and restrictions, subsection (e):

Within seven days of the receipt of a completed application for a license to carry or possess firearms, or renewal of same, the licensing authority shall forward one copy of the application and one copy of the applicant's fingerprints to the colonel of state police, who shall within 30 days advise the licensing authority, in writing, of any disqualifying criminal record of the applicant arising from within or without the commonwealth and whether there is reason to believe that the applicant is disqualified for any of the foregoing reasons from possessing a license to carry or possess firearms. In searching for any disqualifying history of the applicant, the colonel shall utilize, or cause to be utilized, files maintained by the department of probation and statewide and nationwide criminal justice, warrant and protection order information systems and files including, but not limited to, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The colonel shall inquire of the commissioner of the department of mental health relative to whether the applicant is disqualified from being so licensed. If the information available to the colonel does not indicate that the possession of a firearm or large capacity firearm by the applicant would be in violation of state or federal law, he shall certify such fact, in writing, to the licensing authority within said 30 day period.

The licensing authority may also make inquiries concerning the applicant to: (i) the executive director of the criminal history systems board relative to any disqualifying condition and records of purchases, sales, rentals, leases and transfers of weapons or ammunition concerning the applicant; (ii) the commissioner of probation relative to any record contained within the department of probation or the statewide domestic violence record keeping system concerning the applicant; and (iii) the commissioner of the department of mental health relative to whether the applicant is a suitable person to possess firearms or is not a suitable person to possess firearms. The director or commissioner to whom the licensing authority makes such inquiry shall provide prompt and full cooperation for that purpose in any investigation of the applicant.

The licensing authority shall, within 40 days from the date of application, either approve the application and issue the license or deny the application and notify the applicant of the reason for such denial in writing; provided, however, that no such license shall be issued unless the colonel has certified, in writing, that the information available to him does not indicate that the possession of a firearm or large capacity firearm by the applicant would be in violation of state or federal law.

Forty days.

Not 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, or more.


I applied for my License to Carry (read: own) a Firearm with the Boston Police licensing department 96 days ago on April 27th. On May 11th, I passed the qualification range test required by the city with a score of 286 out of a possible 300 points (+95%).

Here's how my communications with the licensing department have been going. Please don't let my experience destroy your faith in our public servants.

Three weeks ago:

Yes, Mr. [last name], you're application is still in process. We're waiting to get the information back from the state. Call back at the end of the week, could you?

Last week:

We're still working on your application - should take another week, week and a half.

This week:

It's still being "checked over", call back next week.

Can anyone explain to me how this isn't anything more than a de facto handgun ban in the City of Boston. I mean, hey, if you can't get what you want through legitimate legislative channels, order those who enforce the law to violate the law to suit your particular agenda.

It's the Massachusetts way.

Now, does anyone think for one minute that if the authorities acted this way in denying a federal housing loan to an African-American resident of Boston, or a marriage license to a gay couple in the city, or a driver's license to someone based solely on their age, that there wouldn't be hell to pay and reams of legal paperwork being filed by the ACLU on behalf of the oppressed minority?

Welcome to Massachusetts.

And, oh yeah, it will cost me another $175 to have a lawyer write them a letter to ask what's up. As if I have money just burning a hole in my pocket after completing the costly application process.

Like I said, before...