State-federal clash may cause hundreds to lose gun licenses - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

State-federal clash may cause hundreds to lose gun licenses

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

Massachusetts authorities say hundreds of residents previously cleared by a state board to own a firearm may lose their gun licenses because of a clash between state and federal regulations.

The Boston Globe reports that the state began notifying police chiefs last month after federal law enforcement officials said the state's Firearms License Review Board, which considers whether people with misdemeanor criminal convictions should have a license, was clearing applicants who should have been disqualified under federal rules.

It boils down to stricter regulations on the federal level that Massachusetts must mirror.

That group of 340 people includes police officers who without a license could be in danger of losing their jobs. The number of people in danger of losing their gun licenses is likely to grow.

"I think we need to be careful and vigilant, but there should be some type of due process," said Walt Lamon with Culverine Firearms.

Lamon noted that applicants deserve an opportunity to make their case, especially for misdemeanor offenses that date back decades ago.

"I think in this case, Massachusetts took a pretty responsible position with their review.  They said what are the circumstances, let us professionals review and make a decision," Lamon added.

Springfield Police said that there are eleven people in the city who could be impacted by the decision.  They added that the force will meet with the law department to discuss how to proceed in the near future. 

"Massachusetts doesn't give licenses away frivolously and is very careful that the processes are done correctly," Lamon said. 

There are currently 434,089 active license to carry and FID cards in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Firearm Records Bureau does not have the authority to revoke or suspend licenses currently in force. 

The state public safety office said that the most common offense considered by the board that could disqualify an applicant is operating under the influence. 

Jim Wallace, executive director of the Gun Owners' Action League of Massachusetts, called it a "difficult scenario."

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.  Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. All rights reserved. 

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