Sunday, October 29, 2006

What's Wrong with Kerry Healey on Gun Control

Kerry Healey is the Republican candidate for governor in Massachusetts. She gets high (95%) marks from various 2nd Amendment watchdog groups like GOAL and NRA. One must consider those marks relative though. Most anywhere else someone with that high a rank would be abolishing gun licensing or at least making it "must issue" and supporting principles like the "Castle Doctrine" and "no confiscation".

In contrast consider her latest proposal to centralize firearm licensing decisions to the state level. It is drawing fire from both the moonbats and the local police chief associations. In MA the local police chief has total decision authority on granting licenses. The theory is that the local police know who the "bad actors" are and can deny them access to firearms. In practice this allows gun-banning police chiefs in some towns to restrict, or even deny, virtually all license applications as a matter of policy. There is an appeal process, but it is slow and onerous. Obviously the police chiefs don't want this power taken out of their hands, so they are endorsing Deval Patrick.

The problem with Mrs. Healey's proposal is that centralizing this decision authority at the state level eliminates all possibility of appeal and even worse will make it trivial for some future governor or the legislature to totally restrict gun ownership. If Kerry Healey were a true 2nd amendment supporter she would advocate the elimination of firearms licensing, not its centralization. At a minimum she should be proposing that police chiefs not be allowed to make blanket policies restricting firearms licenses; they should be required to make such decisions on a case-by-case basis, and the appeals process needs to be streamlined.

By way of further comparison, consider the other choices:

Her Democratic opponent, Deval "free-em-all" Patrick, is a left wing liberal who wants to illegally limit firearms purchases to one-a-month and make private sales subject to the same background checks as retail sales effectively eliminating private and gun show sales. The Green/Rainbow candidate, Grace Ross, is even worse. She wants to "Make guns harder to get and easier to turn in. Track the bullets and the guns, and begin to hold manufacturers responsible for so many tragedies in our communities." Compared to these 2 almost anyone scores high.

The independent candidate, Christy Mihos, is a bit better. He received basically the same ratings as Kerry Healey. He claims to be "a firm believer in Second Amendment rights" and to support "Castle Doctrine". Sounds good except his definition of the Castle Doctrine appears to apply only to one's home, which wouldn't be much of a practical change from current MA law. He also favors "clarifying the state's existing gun control laws", whatever "clarifying" means. I suspect it does not mean abolishing. He has not been very forthcoming on clarifying his position. He might, or might not, be better than Kerry Healey in this regard, but at the rate the election is going the only thing he is going to do is steal enough votes to make Deval Patrick our next governor.

The bottom line is that Kerry Healey is no real 2nd Amendment rights supporter, she just looks like one in comparison to everyone else.

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