Whether it is gun possession, assault with a dangerous weapon (to wit: a firearm) or use of a gun in a drug trafficking case…the rules for Massachusetts gun charges are about to change..

The aftermath of last week’s tragic Connecticut shootings have brought the issue of gun-related crime to the forefront again. This time, however, it seems clear that federal and state laws will be changed as a result. Further, the approach by law enforcement is likely to be even tougher in crimes in which firearms are used.

Firearms have become an omnipresent part of our society. While people differ as to the merits of gun control legislation, nobody is in favor of violent crime…particularly when guns are used in the furtherance of that violence.

It will come as no surprise to any regular reader of Attorney Sam’s Take that our criminal statutes, as well as how they are enforced, are often effected by current events. Horrific tragedies such as the Newtown killings pull at our heartstrings with the force of a sledge hammer. The media gives voice to our cries for a solution to ensure that it never happens again. In response, our political leaders, both in and out of law enforcement, either try to solve the problem…or, at least, appear as if they are trying to solve it.

Quite often, it is the latter, as in the case of our yet-existing waste of political action regarding anti-bullying.

This time? Well, that remains to be seen. However, you may be sure that the Commonwealth is going to do all it can to seem ever-aggressive when it comes to firearms.

“You mean in terms of gun control?”

Yes, I would expect that, regardless of what changes might be brought to the existing legislation, law enforcement is likely to make legal gun possession to be as difficult as possible…especially when it comes to military assault arms. It is unlikely to be lost on law enforcement that sales for guns such as those that were used by the Newtown shooter, the perpetrator of the massacre, have skyrocketed since the incident. Perhaps it is simply because gun owners are frightened that this is their last opportunity to own such apparently necessary (to them, somehow) gems. Or, perhaps it is for more disturbing reasons.

In any event, I would expect the fight to obtain and keep gun licenses to become tougher. However, the changes will not end there.

Already, we have additional penalties for various crimes when firearms are used in connection with the underlying crimes. Crimes like drug trafficking, home invasion and assault and battery carrier tougher treatment if a gun is used. Those laws are already on the books.

Yet the Connecticut massacre still happened.

So, expect that extra measures will be taken for tougher punishment for crimes when a gun is used.

“Does that make sense? Will making what is already illegal MORE illegal make the difference?”

My opinion? Of course not. And as much of a fan of guns as I am not, addressing the use of guns is not likely to, by itself, prevent another Connecticut massacre from happening. It will simply, at best, make it more difficult for another disturbed and hopeless soul to acquire so much fire power.

Maybe only ten kids will be killed next time. Hardly seems a cure-all to me.

My opinions notwithstanding, the reality is that we are likely to see tougher laws regarding the purchase, ownership and use of firearms.

It is another reason why, if you sense you are being charged with a crime, particularly if it involves the use of a firearm, you want to be sure that your attorney is well acquainted with the criminal laws of the Commonwealth.

Good ol’ Attorney Will Executor who handled a tax case for Uncle Charlie once a few years back. Is not likely to be aware of the new changes in criminal law. Neither the law as it is written or…even more importantly…how it is enforced.

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