My Stance on H4121 - Gun Violence Act
The Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security is meeting this week to debate new gun legislation which adds more restrictive requirements and onerous regulations to Massachusetts’ law abiding gun owners. Below is the written testimony that Susannah sent to the committee.
Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security
Boston, MA 02133
Dear Senators and Representatives,
My name is Susannah Whipps Lee and I am a candidate for the Second Franklin House District. I want to take some time today to represent myself and the vast majority of my constituents regarding H 4121, the newest and most onerous of a long line of attempts by the legislature to limit the Constitutional freedoms of the citizens of the Commonwealth. Our incumbent Representative, my opponent, has co-sponsored this bill in direct opposition to the core values of the law-abiding, legal gun owners across the District.
For the record, I am a firearm owner, and shooting sports enthusiast. A week doesn't go by, when the snow is off the trap range, that you do not find me practicing at one of district’s many gun clubs. I'm proficient; I'm safe; and I'm enthusiastic. I also have a Class A License to carry and maintain my proficiency in the safe and accurate handling of a handgun.
I come from a family of shooting sports enthusiasts and ardent Second Amendment supporters, and as is so often the case, the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree. My father George Whipps is a competitive shooter and my brothers are avid hunters. I grew up in a family where respect and safety regarding firearms was paramount.
My initial opposition to the bill Speaker DeLeo is sponsoring comes from my strong "rural family DNA", and better represents the folks in this district than Ms. Andrews ever could. My position can be broken down into two separate yet equally valid concerns.
Firstly, this bill is the most regressive and restrictive firearms control bill in the country. The legislation of firearms ownership and possession has been a miserable failure in the control of violence worldwide simply because firearms are not violent. If we were ever given a poignant example of the wisdom of this idea, we did a short time ago in California where a sick and violent young man killed people with a machete, his car and finally a firearm. While "doubling down on ineffective", this bill intrudes on basic American freedoms. I want to be clear that I see the sapling of a gun registry growing in this bill and adamantly oppose it! We have a Constitutional right to keep and bear firearms, as well as a Constitutional right to private property and privacy in our homes.
But equally as troublesome, yet more subtle is the way this bill ties "gun violence" to mental illness. I personally find it both broad-reaching and offensive to create the inference that there is a correlation between emotional/psychiatric distress and murderous behavior. Few families live their lifetimes without experiencing a relative with mental illness or substance abuse issues. Almost none of them experience murder.
A more simple and kind solution is to simply start holding people who misuse firearms accountable for their behavior. If we became, again, a society who held the individual responsible for his/her behavior and stopped making excuses that grant impunity, we'd go a long way to reduce all sorts of crime, violence included.
In closing, I want to express my unconditional opposition to H 4121 because it will be grossly ineffective, and restricts the rights of the honest law abiding folks in the Commonwealth. H 4121 also unnecessarily stigmatizes decent people who may be struggling with personal issues unrelated to violent behavior.