Ugh..Typical Leftist Garbage

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Oct 26, 2005
Central PRM
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Police chiefs blast Healey on gun permits

Gun group endorses proposal

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WORCESTER— Area police chiefs are concerned that gubernatorial candidate Kerry Healey will take from them an essential tool they say is needed to curb gun violence if she becomes governor and removes their right to issue gun permits.

Worcester Police Chief Gary J. Gemme said yesterday the Healey campaign had an opportunity to tell several police chiefs about her gun licensing proposal Tuesday when she spoke before the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs Association.

“Not once during that meeting did she mention that she wanted to take this discretionary authority away from police chiefs,” Chief Gemme said. “I think that speaks volumes about her commitment to public safety.”

Chief Gemme learned about the lieutenant governor’s position yesterday morning, he said. It was during the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference in Boston this week that the Healey campaign approached the MMCCA and asked for an audience with the group so Ms. Healey could speak on public safety.

Chief Gemme said he considered the proposal to remove police chiefs’ ability to issue or revoke gun licenses a huge issue, and Ms. Healey’s talk to the group an opportune time to bring it up.

Nate Little, campaign spokesman for Ms. Healey, said the proposal is to bring statewide uniformity to issuing permits.

“The goal is to have a uniform set of standards so everyone in the commonwealth is treated equally when applying for an FID (Firearm Identification) card,” he said. “The goal here is not to undermine local chiefs.”

Ms. Healey made the statement about the gun licensing proposal around the same time the Gun Owners Action League endorsed the Republican gubernatorial candidate.

Mr. Little said the proposal is still in its infancy. Several ideas include creating a police commission in the Executive Office of Public Safety to develop guidelines for the gun licensing proposal. The commission could be picked by state police chiefs, he said.

Local chiefs would be solicited for guideline ideas and a statewide panel would make the decision on whether someone would be granted a gun permit, Mr. Little said. Local chiefs would be able to speak in front of the panel to say whether someone should or should not receive a gun license.

Chief Gemme instituted a new gun license policy more than a year ago in the city stricter than the state’s law. The state bans felons from getting gun permits. Chief Gemme considers anyone unsuitable who was arrested for a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of more than two years, any drug arrest, any driving-under-the-influence arrest, other alcohol-related arrests, or affiliation with gang members.

Anyone arrested on charges of committing physical violence or threatening to commit violence, or anyone involved in a domestic violence incident that results in the issuance of a restraining order would also be banned under the chief’s policy.

Chief Gemme’s policy earned the backing of the Massachusetts Police Chiefs Association, which has argued that the chief has the authority to determine the suitability of a person and has the right to set standards for his own community.

Democratic candidate Deval L. Patrick, who sat down with Worcester police two weeks ago, earned the backing of Chief Gemme. Mr. Patrick has proposed adding 1,000 police officers in the state and is committed to funding police, the chief said.

“How can’t I support a candidate that has that kind of agenda versus a candidate who was going to strip us of one of our tools,” the Chief Gemme said.

Leicester Police Chief James J. Hurley and Hudson Police Chief Richard A. Braga said local police departments know their communities and residents and whether someone should be carrying a firearm.

“There is no statewide organization that knows my community or its members like my licensing officer and the other members of the Police Department,” Chief Hurley said.

The local officers can spot if someone is having problems such as alcohol or drug abuse or if a domestic situation is getting out of hand, Chief Hurley said. Local police aware of the situation can call in the permitted person and talk to him or her.

“It is a step backward and people would slip through the cracks that otherwise might not,” Chief Hurley said of Ms. Healey’s proposal.

When a person fills out a permit, the local department reviews it and checks it. The department then sends it to the state for review, Chief Hurley said. The state already has a number of checks and balances in place, he added.

Some people applying for a gun permit might have no record and appear to be a good candidate, but their agenda might be devious, Chief Gemme said. The Police Department has experienced this when gang members recruit someone to buy a gun.

That gun essentially becomes a community firearm used by the gang members, Chief Gemme said. His gang unit and other officers might know the person applying for the permit has friends in gangs, but the state panel won’t, he said.
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