Outraged critics in Lowell, Massachusetts, are denouncing the city's new law that will require those applying for a license to carry handguns to submit a personal "essay" and pay roughly $1,100 toward a set of training classes.
The Lowell law, which was lauded by Police Superintendent William Taylor and subsequently passed through the City Council, would require applicants for unrestricted handgun licenses to write out why they believe they are entitled to receive that license, according to Fox News. Taylor would then have sole discretion over granting or denying all applications.
"I will never write an essay to get my rights as an American citizen," resident Dan Gannon told the Lowell Sun.
In conjunction with local trainer Randy Breton, Taylor will shape a course required for permit-seeking applicants to take. The five-day course would cost roughly $1,100 and would be offered only once this year, according to the Sun. Breton has since criticized Taylor for requiring such an expensive course that would not be offered at the applicants' convenience.
"It's beyond ridiculous," Breton said, the Sun reported.
The new law also has drawn sharp criticism for its purported lack of respect for citizens' constitutional rights under the Second Amendment.
“It is absurd that people should have to write an essay to the town to explain why they should be able to exercise their constitutional rights,” said Jim Wallace, the executive director of Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts, according to Fox News. “We already have a very strict set of gun laws in the state, but this is way over the top. ... It’s like having a college professor say, ‘I’m going to read your essay and, if I don’t like it, I’m going to give it back to you.'"
The Lowell Police responded to the outrage against the "essay" requirement by stating that the written requirement is not really an "essay."
“If you want a license to carry a firearm unrestricted wherever you want and whenever you want, the superintendent is just looking for some documentation as to why,” Lowell Police spokesman Capt. Timothy Crowley said, according to Fox News. “That is not unreasonable to most people.”
The new set of rules passed unanimously and are set to begin being enforced this week.
"We're no longer taking a cookie-cutter approach to issuing firearms licenses," City Manager Kevin Murphy said, the Sun reported.
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