Massachusetts should be able to decide for itself who can carry concealed handguns within its borders. However, that may not be the case for much longer. The House of Representatives is on the verge of passing a bill that would make permits for concealed guns reciprocal between states. That would mean that a permit from Utah, a state with notably lax standards for concealed-carry permits, as well as permits from every other gun-toting state, would be valid in Massachusetts. Under the latest version of the bill, people with out-of-state permits would be allowed to carry guns on Massachusetts streets even if state laws would otherwise make it illegal for them even to possess a firearm.
Statistics released last week showed Massachusetts had the second-lowest rate of firearm deaths in the nation, a strong endorsement of its gun-control policies. Utah has every right to pass its own, less stringent requirements. But rules crafted there shouldn’t apply here. This legislation does not affect a person’s right to own a gun for self-defense in their home. It just means more guns on the street. If this bill is brought up in the Senate, John Kerry and Scott Brown — and every other right-thinking senator — should vote against it.