Photo by Patrick Whittemore
STICKING TO HIS GUNS: James L. Wallace, executive director of Gun Owners'Action League, shows his gun permit and pistol.
Gun ownership advocates are pushing for a return to lifetime firearm licenses, saying the state's 1998 get-tough gun control laws have created a bureaucratic nightmare that turns them into lawbreakers, while cash-strapped police departments say they are swamped.
"It's a license that's mandated by a state that cannot supply it," said James Wallace, president of the Gun Owners' Action League of Massachusetts, which is pushing a bill to speed up the process by eliminating renewals - and instead just yanking licenses from people when they violate the terms. "It's taking so long that people are technically illegal, and they're scared to complain, because they're illegal."
For gun owners in licensing limbo, hunting or transporting weapons is out of the question, and even keeping them locked up at home is illegal.