Mass. must be proactive to protect public safety

A man “open carries” a pistol while counterprotesting a “Moms Demand Action” protest in response to a new Texas gun law at Buffalo Bayou Park, Houston, Texas on June 17.MARK FELIX/AFP /AFP via Getty Images Many in Massachusetts were shocked and saddened last month when the Supreme Court refused to block Texas’ law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, before many people know they are pregnant. Fortunately, Massachusetts was prepared for this — in 2020, the Legislature codified abortion rights in state law. But the next shoe to drop will hit closer to home: The court is expected to expand the right to carry guns in public. The Legislature has an opportunity to limit the negative impact of this decision by acting now to draft a comprehensive concealed carry law that will withstand judicial scrutiny while still protecting residents from the worst effects of public gun carrying. The Supreme Court recently accepted a case challenging New York’s requirement that people wishing to carry firearms in public must demonstrate “a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general public.” This requirement is functionally identical to a Massachusetts law requiring that anyone wishing to carry a gun in public, with certain narrow exceptions, first demonstrate a “good reason” for needing to do so. These laws, called “may issue” concealed carry laws, set a higher bar for obtaining a license to carry than in states with “shall issue” laws, which issue a concealed carry license to anyone who meets […]

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