Massachusetts City To Require Citizens To Write An Essay Before Obtaining A Handgun License

Hannah Bleau

If you live in Lowell, Massachusetts, want to get your handgun license, suck at writing essays and don’t have $1,100 to spare, I have some bad news for you.

The City Council recently approved a measure which would require those applying for an unrestricted handgun license to submit a personal essay on why they believe they’re entitled have such a license. Police Superintendent William Taylor gets to make the final decision. He gets to decide if your reason is “good enough.”

From Fox News:

“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, executive director of Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts. “We already have a very strict set of gun laws in the state, but this is way over the top.”


State law sets guidelines and requirements, but gives local chiefs of police broad discretion in implementation. While other cities and towns in Massachusetts have tough licensing regulations, Lowell’s new requirements, which also include taking a gun safety course over and above one already required by the state, prompted complaints at a public hearing last week.


“I will never write an essay to get my rights as an American citizen,” resident Dan Gannon told the City Council.

Oh, and applicants will also have to spend up to $1,100 for training classes. Which is completely reasonable. (Except not.)

Local firearms-safety instructor, Randy Breton,  said it seems as if authorities designed the “training requirement” as a way to drastically reduce the number of people who can legally carry a weapon. Honestly, who has $1,100 laying around for that?

“It’s beyond ridiculous,” Breton told the Sun.

While critics are blasting the new “essay” requirement, Lowell Police spokesman Capt. Timothy Crowley said we shouldn’t view it as 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,” Crowley said. “That is not unreasonable to most people.”

However, attorney Richard Chambers, who sometimes represents the rejected handgun applicants, said it’s an essay in every sense of the word.

“An essay when you’re in school is when you write something, you turn it in and they grade it,” Chambers said. “This is an essay. And it’s also just another layer of bureaucracy they’ve tacked on to block people from exercising their rights.”

I don’t live in Lowell, but this would be my essay. Freedom-loving citizens of Lowell, feel free to copy it. I don’t mind.

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.” -Second Freaking Amendment