BOSTON – When asked last night by Jim Braude of NECN if police chiefs should have discretion to deny issuing firearm identification card licenses to people trying to purchase shotguns and rifles – the same discretion police chief’s already have on handguns – Republican Charlie Baker replied, “I don’t think that matters.”
“Voters are seeing the real Republican Charlie Baker, someone who refuses to take a position on tough issues and tells voters it doesn’t matter what he thinks,” said Massachusetts Democratic Party Executive Director Matt Fenlon. “If you want to be governor, it does matter what you think. Voters need someone with conviction, and Republican Baker is yet again showing he’ll put his finger in the political winds before he figures out where to stand.”
Police chiefs and gun control advocates believe the issue does matter and rallied at the State House last week in support of obtaining the ability to keep shotguns and rifles out of the hands of those they deem unsuitable.
In news reports, Thomas Cunningham, Wellesley police chief and former president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police said the issue, “is really important to (police chiefs). It’s important to keep people safe.”
And Boston Police Chief Bill Evans said, “the last thing we need is to make it easier for people to get their hands on these high-powered guns.”
And Ed Davis, former Boston police chief said, “I think it makes sense to allow the police chiefs to have discretion both for handguns and for shotguns and rifles. The people in the community who have a very good understanding of who shouldn’t have weapons are the police chiefs.”
Founder of Stop Handgun Violence John Rosenthal said, “giving Police Chiefs the same licensing discretion for rifles and shotguns as they currently have for handguns, is just common sense. More discretion for Police Chiefs in protecting public safety absolutely matters and will save lives from preventable gun violence.”
Unfortunately Republican Charlie Baker won’t even tell voters what he believes and went as far as to say, “I don’t think that matters.”
Republican Baker’s latest example of telling voters “I don’t think that matters” comes just two weeks after he said his opinion on the Hobby Lobby case “doesn’t matter.” He was forced to walk back those comments after drawing national attention.
While Republican Baker refused to offer an opinion on a public safety matter that is paramount for police chiefs, he was eager to share his feelings about Jon Lester.
“Wanting the Red Sox to succeed cuts across party lines, but so should wanting to keep our Commonwealth safe,” said Fenlon. “How are voters supposed to trust Republican Charlie Baker’s commitment to public safety if he thinks his opinion about keeping guns off our streets doesn’t matter?”