Monday, February 3, 2014

Assistant House Minority Leader George Peterson’s Statement on Release of Gun Violence Task Force Report

Assistant House Minority Leader George N. Peterson, Jr. (R-Grafton) issued the following statement today in response to the release of the report of the Gun Violence Task Force:

“After a brief review of the report issued this afternoon, I thank Speaker DeLeo and the Gun Violence Task Force for their diligent work in providing this in-depth analysis and action plan in a timely manner. The work performed by this group is vitally important as the topic of firearm safety progresses at the state level.

The findings released today make targeted recommendations surrounding firearm safety training, school safety, and the reduction of the number of types of firearm licenses available in the Commonwealth. Addressing these issues in the coming months will benefit the state’s residents and lawful firearm-owners alike.

While the report released today highlights Massachusetts’ better than average record of suicide, homicide, and firearm-related incidents, the findings fail to show that since the Commonwealth adopted strict firearm laws in 1998, the aforementioned firearm-related events have in fact doubled in that time. This omission begs the question of the necessity for the restrictive laws passed more than fifteen years ago.

Furthermore, the report has asked for the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Gun Control Advisory Board, to make recommendations relative to the suitability of an individual to be licensed to own a firearm. To me, this approach leaves too much discretion to the state’s Police Chiefs and Advisory Board. It is my belief that a better way to handle factors relative to firearm ownership should be the explicit definition of those persons who would be prohibited from owning a firearm. Further to that point, if Chiefs and the Gun Control Advisory Board are to have discretionary power over the issuance of licenses, they should also have the burden of proof, upon appeal, to demonstrate why that individual is not suitable to possess a firearm.

As is the case with any legislation, the devil will be in the details. However, I look forward to joining my colleagues on the other side of the aisle in producing legislation that protects the Commonwealth’s residents, while respecting the Second Amendment rights of our state’s citizens.”

House Minority Leader’s Statement on the Retirement of State Representative George Peterson

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement today following Assistant Minority Leader George Peterson’s announcement that he will not seek re-election to the House of Representatives:

“While I am sad to hear that Representative Peterson will not seek re-election to the House of Representatives, I wholeheartedly support his decision, and wish George and Diana nothing but the best.

For the past two decades, George has been a great colleague, an invaluable membership of my Leadership team, and a cherished friend. A zealous advocate of the outdoors and a champion of Second Amendment rights, Representative Peterson truly embodies what it means to be a public servant. His passion and dedication for the residents and businesses of the Ninth Worcester District are what make him such an effective member of the Legislature.

I thank Representative Peterson for his service to the Commonwealth and look forward to standing beside George as he continues his tireless advocacy on behalf of his constituents during his remaining time on Beacon Hill.”

Assistant House Minority Leader George Peterson’s Statement on Forthcoming Retirement from the Legislature

Assistant House Minority Leader George N. Peterson, Jr. (R-Grafton) issued the following statement today announcing his retirement from the Massachusetts House of Representatives:

“Today, with a heavy heart, but a clear mind, I announce that I will not seek re-election for the office of State Representative. My decision to retire from the House of Representatives has been extremely difficult. However, this next chapter in my life will allow me to join my wife Diana in spending quality time with our children and grandchildren as we travel around the country.

For over 20 years, Beacon Hill has been my second home. While my heart has always been in Grafton, and with the people of the Ninth Worcester District, my time in Boston has been invaluable. Being a legislator, particularly a Republican lawmaker, can be a test of will and patience. However, I wouldn’t trade my time as a member of the Massachusetts Legislature for anything. My tenure in the House of Representatives has not only allowed me the opportunity to forge relationships with my colleagues in the Legislature, but also has provided me the platform necessary to help make the Commonwealth a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

Perhaps the hardest part of leaving the job I love is bidding farewell to the House Minority Leader, our Leadership team, and all of my Republican colleagues. This group of lawmakers, albeit small, works day in and day out to effect positive change in the lives of the residents of Massachusetts. We have cheered one another along in victory, and remained strong and united in defeat. I am forever grateful to them for their guidance and friendship.

I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to thank the staff for all of their tireless work, and continued dedication. Since being elected in 1994, I have worked side-by-side with some truly incredible aides and analysts. These individuals are continually the first ones in, and the last ones out. We as legislators would not be where we are today without their unwavering support.

This announcement is not my departure from Massachusetts and its political landscape. While I may be hanging up my hat as an elected official, this state is home, and I care too much about its wellbeing to walk away altogether. I will forever have the dedication to continue to make the Commonwealth an ongoing source of pride for future generations.”