Eventful Week for Sportsmen and Women in the Bay State as Committees Take Up Priority Policies

Contact: Joseph Mullin, Assistant Manager, Northeast States

Highlights

  • Throughout last week, several committees in Massachusetts held public hearings on a variety of sportsmen-related policy priorities.
  • From anti-sportsmen bills, such as exposing firearms owners to unjust liabilities, as well as bans on “large capacity feeding devices,” to pro-sportsman legislation that would institute state-level firearms preemption and support for interstate firearms transportation, the Massachusetts General Court had a busy week discussing bills of interest to sportsmen and women.
  • The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation submitted testimony on these crucial topics and worked with in-state and national partners to coordinate outreach and engagement.

Why It Matters: Sportsmen and women have played a crucial role in funding conservation efforts in the United States for over 80 years. The American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF), a “user pays – public benefits” structure in which those who consumptively use public resources pay for the privilege, and in some cases the right to do so, has served a shining beacon for the management of fish and wildlife and their habitats. Legislative efforts to undermine the interests of sportsmen and women pose the risk of curbing these much-needed dollars, thus harming agencies’ abilities to fund on-the-ground conservation efforts. Conversely, policies that encourage and expand the abilities of hunters, anglers, recreational shooters, and trappers have the potential to immediately bolster financial support for state fish and wildlife agencies, thus supporting their mission-driven conservation projects.

Throughout last week, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) opposed the following legislation:

House Bill 888 – Non-Lethal Animal Population Control
House Bill 888 would undermine the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s management authority by requiring the Division to “limit all population management and control activities to non-lethal and contraceptive practices” in certain areas. Follow this link to read CSF’s testimony.

House Bill 2436 – Exposing Firearms Owners to Liabilities and Damages
This legislation would unjustly punish lawful firearms owners by exposing them to civil liabilities and damages without due process. Subjecting firearms owners to civil liabilities and damages resulting from crimes committed with property stolen sets a dangerous precedent through which the court would be shifting the blame for the commission of one crime to the victim of another. Please follow this link to read CSF’s letter of opposition.

House Bill 2489 – “Large Capacity Feeding Device” Ban
This bill would require owners of “large capacity feeding devices” to declare the possession of such devices with the state, creating an unusual trail of record keeping. It is an effort to deter the ownership of such magazines and has the potential to thwart much-needed funding through the American System of Conservation Funding. Please follow this link to read CSF’s testimony.
 

Additionally, CSF supported the following policies:

House Bill 2512 – State Firearms Preemption
This legislation would create an express state preemption over the local regulation of “lawful ownership, use, possession, transfer, purchase, receipt or transportation of weapons, antique weapons, ammunition or ammunition components.” Click here to read CSF’s letter of support.

House Bill 2536 – Interstate Firearms Transportation
Introduced by Massachusetts Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Representative David Vieira, this bill would implement state-level recognition and support for the interstate transportation of firearms. Follow this link for CSF’s letter of support.

Senate Bill 1584/House Bill 2444 – Ammunition Sales
These companion bills – one of which introduced by Caucus Co-Chair Representative Angelo D’Emilia – would permit ammunition retailers to sell and deliver ammunition to lawful purchasers “through the internet, U.S. Mail or by any other means common to interstate commerce” without the need to be licensed in the Commonwealth. CSF’s letter of support may viewed here.

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