This morning the Gun Owners’ Action League
(GOAL) filed two amendments to the much-discussed domestic violence reform bill
that will be debated today in the House.
The first amendment reforms the Commonwealth’s licensing laws for
defensive sprays (pepper spray) by removing the licensing requirement entirely
for purchase. The second amendment allows victims of domestic violence to
obtain an unrestricted gun license for free. GOAL’s purpose in filing these amendments is to
provide victims of domestic violence more tools for self-defense.
“Pepper sprays and firearms are important tools for women’s self-defense,” said Jim Wallace, GOAL’s Executive Director. “What is the reason to license pepper spray and make it inaccessible to 95% of the very people who need it? Why should victims have to pay to keep themselves safe? There is no logical reason not to pass these reforms and make our streets and are communities safer.”
GOAL’s pepper spray amendment comes after repeated efforts to push its current legislation, H. 2145, An Act Relative to Non-Lethal Defense Sprays, out of the House Ways and Means Committee over the last year. The legislation would alleviate the need for a license to buy and possess pepper spray in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts is the only state in the nation that requires a license to buy pepper spray. Rep. Kim Ferguson (R-Holden) sponsored the amendment.
GOAL’s amendment to waive the fee for a gun license for victim’s of domestic violence comes after multiple reports of people not obtaining gun licenses due to the high fees. To obtain a license a person must apply at their local police department and pay up to $100 for the license. Rep. George N. Peterson (R-Grafton) sponsored the amendment.
GOAL has filed the pepper spray licensing bill repeatedly over the last decade and has been the largest proponent of promoting pepper spray as a tool for personal protection in the Commonwealth.
H. 2145, the “Pepper Spray Bill”, was released favorably by the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security on June 3, 2013 and was sent to the House Committee on Ways and Means where it remains. It is one of five such bills filed this legislative session.
GOAL is the official state firearms association in Massachusetts, which was founded in 1974 to protect the Second Amendment rights of the Commonwealth’s law-abiding citizens. GOAL's grassroots organization has over 17,000 members and works directly with both legislators and community organizers to establish successful public outreach and educational programs to make gun ownership safe for all Massachusetts residents.