Got a budget problem? License and tax the honest
people trying to avoid becoming victims.
FYI (copy below):
State hikes fee for firearms ID card to $100: Expected to
raise $3.6M for state
By Trudy Tynan / Associated Press
Thursday, July 10, 2003
SPRINGFIELD -- A woman seeking to legally carry a $10
container of Mace or pepper spray now has to pay a $100 fee
to the state.
The fee for a Firearms Identification Card, which is
required to carry chemical sprays, ammunition and long guns,
quadrupled at the start of the new fiscal year on July 1,
along with the charges for a license to carry a handgun.
The new $100 fee is expected to raise an additional $3.6
million for the cash-strapped state, according to David
Shaw, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety,
"We were in a situation where the labor and the work that
went into researching firearm permit requests was
outstripping the fee," said Shaw, who did not immediately
know how much the state spent on the criminal and
fingerprint checks required of everyone seeking a Firearms
He said $25 of the new fee goes to the FBI for expanded
interstate fingerprint checks. Cities and towns keep
another $25, and the remaining $50 goes into the state's
general fund. Formerly, local communities kept half of the
About 190,000 of the 270,000 Massachusetts residents with
weapons permits are licensed to carry handguns. Another
80,000 have Firearms Identification Cards, including 11,961
that are restricted to chemical sprays, Shaw said. Those
with cards limited to sprays get free renewals of the
"The unintended result is that it is going to create too
high a bar for some women and others looking for some level
of protection," said Tony Troop of Jane Doe Inc., a
Boston-based group that works with victims of domestic
violence and sexual assault.
Marianne Winters, director of the Rape Crisis Center of
Central Massachusetts, said she would favor training in the
use of sprays, which is not currently required, but
questioned the fee hike and the need for criminal checks
comparable to those for gun owners.
"There is a difference in lethality," she said.
Winters and others are also concerned that many will ignore
the law. "It probably would mean that some women,
especially those who want pepper spray for one activity,
such as hiking alone, would take their chances and not pay
the $100," she said.
Massachusetts is one of two states to require permits and
background checks to carry chemical sprays, which are
considered ammunition under state law, said Lee Police Chief
Ronald C. Glidden, who chairs the state's Gun Control
"The charges are being quadrupled for a system that is
completely broken," said Jim Wallace of the Gun Owners
Action League, which is pushing for a return to lifetime
Firearms Identification Cards.
"They are creating a situation where people who want to be
legal and lawful can't follow the rules and they don't
understand how dangerous this is," he said. "The average
person is being pushed beyond what they are willing to do."
He also complained about months of processing delays that
often stretch beyond the expiration date of gun permits,
leaving renewal applicants in a legal quandary. Municipal
cutbacks have also prompted police in some communities,
including Taunton, to stop taking new applications for gun
and chemical spray permits, Wallace said.
Shaw blamed the delays in part on a flurry of renewals on
the four-year anniversary of the 1998 changes in the permit
Still, Chief Glidden said he urges people to apply for
renewals at least three to four months before their permits
"It takes us a couple of hours to process our part of it,
but then it takes three weeks to 90 days to get the
information back from the state," Glidden said.