NORTH ADAMS -- Northern Berkshire residents will have the opportunity to air their concerns about any of the 65 proposed firearms bills currently being deliberated by the state Legislature's Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security during a public forum on Monday.
The forum, hosted by state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, D-North Adams, will take place in the second floor conference room at City Hall from 6 to 8 p.m.
Cariddi said Friday that she is holding the public forum in response to numerous requests from residents in her district to listen to their concerns on the many firearms-related bills.
"I want to be sure that all of the residents in my district, with all their different points of view, are heard in this process," she said. "I figured that by holding this public hearing now, I'll be able to gather comments from residents, which I've been accumulating since January, and deliver them along with my correspondence to the Joint Committee at its next hearing."
Among the bills being considered are petitions to repeal the ban on assault weapons and other large capacity feeding device and to create a voluntary firearm turn-in program. The bills pertain to a wide range of firearms issues, including the lawful sale of ammunition, the lawful sale of handguns, youth hunting programs, bow hunting, gun violence, licensing, mental illness and firearms and firearm license disqualifiers. The Joint Committee's last public hearing is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 13 at the State House in Boston.
"There are some bills aimed at repealing everything to those that may be more helpful to curbing illegal trafficking. I'm not sure if any of these bills will make it through the Legislative session, but it's a hot topic right now," she said.
Forum participants must be a resident of the First Berkshire District, which is comprised of North Adams, Adams, Cheshire, Clarksburg, Florida, Hancock, Lanesborough, New Ashford, and Williamstown.
Those attending the forum, who wish to speak about any of the bills, must sign up at the beginning of the hearing. Cariddi will call upon each individual that signs in and allow them to speak for about three minutes.
Cariddi may ask follow up questions.
"I'm going to try to run this forum as true to a Legislative hearing as I can," she said. "If we have a large overflow, we'll keep the comments to roughly three minutes. If we have only a few people, we may go a little longer. I think that most individuals who have formed an opinion on this topic are already able to deliver their opinion in a concise fashion."
Anyone not able to appear to testify in person can submit a letter of testimony. The letter can be mailed directly to the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, State House, Room 167, Boston, MA 02133 or to Representative Cariddi's office at City Hall, 10 Main St., North Adams. Cariddi strongly recommends that all written testimony be submitted as soon as possible.
To view any of the 65 bills being considered, go to: https://malegislature.gov/Committees/Joint/J22