The Honorable Harold P. Naughton, Jr., House Chair
The Honorable Michael O. Moore, Senate Chair
Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security
State House, Boston

Dear Chair Naughton, Jr., Chair Moore, and Distinguished Members of the Committee,

On behalf of cities and towns across the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Municipal Association is writing to record our opposition to H. 2122, An Act Relative to Constitutional Rights, before your committee for public hearing today.

This bill would prohibit cities and towns from enacting or enforcing any “ordinance or regulation concerning the lawful ownership, use, possession, transfer, purchase, receipt or transportation of weapons, antique weapons, ammunition or ammunition components.” If this bill is passed, it would immediately invalidate any such municipal ordinance or regulation currently in effect.

Under a 1986 Supreme Judicial Court decision, the Court confirmed that cities and towns have the authority to enact and enforce gun-related ordinances. These ordinances, the Court decided, fall squarely within a municipality’s power to preserve peace and order as long as they do not conflict with any State General Law. As of the date of that decision, 103 cities and towns already had a gun-related ordinance in place, ordinances that had been publicly deliberated and enacted by local legislative bodies comprised of community residents.

The needs of individual cities and towns are best understood at the local level. The MMA opposes any effort to restrict local authority, especially when it comes to the health, safety and welfare of their citizens.

We respectfully ask you to issue an unfavorable report to H. 2122, because this bill would invalidate over a hundred existing gun-related ordinances, and strip municipalities of their authority to set policies that local citizens desire to preserve peace and order in their community. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to have your office contact me or MMA Senior Legislative Analyst Brittney Franklin at 617-426-7272 at any time.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Geoffrey C. Beckwith
Executive Director & CEO