Massachusetts Democratic Attorney General Candidate Supports Repealing The Second Amendment

Printed from:

A candidate for statewide office in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts wants to repeal the Second Amendment.

Shannon Liss-Riordan, a labor lawyer from Brookline, is a Democratic candidate for attorney general now that the incumbent, Maura Healey, is running for governor.

For a time, Liss-Riordan also ran in the 2020 U.S. Senate Democratic primary in Massachusetts. She dropped out in January 2020 — well before the primary — about four months after then-Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III joined the race against incumbent (and eventual winner) Ed Markey.

During her bid for U.S. Senate, she called for more restrictions on guns than Markey (D-Malden) did. She said she does not think that the American public should have the right to keep and bear arms.

She made that clear in the aftermath of mass shootings in both Ohio in Texas in August of 2019.

“Politics as usual in Washington has been devastating for the victims of gun violence and their families. I am tired of half steps, old ideas and fake urgency around the problem we face:  the presence of guns in our communities. Enough is enough. It is time we take real action and repeal the Second Amendment,” Liss-Riordan said in a written statement on August 6, 2019. “I agree with the late Justice John Paul Stevens:  the Second Amendment is ‘a relic of the 18th century.’ We need leaders in Washington who understand that, and have the courage and the will to fight to repeal the Second Amendment.”

Alan Gottlieb, founder and vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, disagrees with Liss-Riodan’s position. However, he told NewBostonPost that he gives her some credit.

“Well at least she is honest in her intent to destroy the right to keep and Bear arms,” Gottlieb wrote by email. “Most anti-gun rights politicians say I support the Second Amendment, but ….”

Mark Oliva, the director of public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told NewBostonPost in an email message that it’s a great reason to reject Liss-Riordan’s campaign:


Shannon Liss-Riordan’s demands that our God-given rights should be repealed is alarming. As a candidate for Massachusetts attorney general, she’s openly denying what the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed in the 2008 Heller decision, that Second Amendment rights are granted to each of us as individuals  by our Creator and are protected by the Constitution. These radical views are far out of step with the nation as we’ve seen more than 13.8 million people embrace their Second Amendment rights and purchase a firearm for the first time over the last two years. Gun sales rose in every state in 2020, including Massachusetts. Background checks for gun sales in Massachusetts in 2019 were nearly 90,000. That jumped to over 137,000 in 2020 and nearly 146,000 in 2021. Liss-Riordan’s position that gun rights must be taken away from law-abiding citizens tells voters she’s more interested in accumulating power than serving to protect their rights. These types of edicts are what our Founding Fathers, from right there in Massachusetts, warned of and why they included the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

It is these type of radical gun control policies that forced Smith & Wesson to relocate their headquarters and a portion of their production from Springfield to Marysville, Tenn. The company has over a century’s worth of history in Massachusetts, but the punishing gun policies pursued by Massachusetts public officials are running out businesses, their employees and their economic contributions from the Bay State.


National Rifle Association media relations director Amy Hunter told NewBostonPost that Massachusetts needs someone who will protect rights, not say outlandish things for attention.

“Liss-Riordan’s revelation is no surprise as she’s long supported restricting the rights good folks who follow the law,” Hunter wrote in an email message. “It’s unfortunate that anti-gun candidates like her are more concerned with generating headlines rather than enforcing the laws against criminals and protecting their constituents. The NRA has fought and will continue fighting for Second Amendment rights in Massachusetts.”

Mike Harris, director of public policy for the Gun Owners’ Action League, told NewBostonPost that he thinks this is a good reason to not support Liss-Riordan. 

“Here we go again, a familiar message from an Attorney General candidate in Massachusetts who has little respect for the Constitution and the people’s inalienable right to self-defense,” he wrote in an email message. “I hope the people of Massachusetts recognize that we should not be electing anyone to office, especially an office dedicated to protecting the civil rights of the people, who believes their first job is to begin repealing those civil rights.”

Erin Palette, National Coordinator of Pink Pistols, an LGBT gun rights organization, told NewBostonPost in an email message that Liss-Riordan is pandering to liberals with a proposal she knows could never pass.

“Out of 50 states in this country, 21 of them have passed Constitutional Carry for their residents,” Pallette wrote. “In order to repeal the Second Amendment, three-fourths of the states must ratify the repeal. 75% of 50 means 38 states must ratify, yet 50 minus the 21 with Constitutional Carry leaves only 29. Ms. Liss-Riordan’s plan lacks the numbers to succeed, which is something a state attorney general ought to know. This is simply pandering to a voter base and nothing more.”

The Second Amendment has been part of the U.S. Constitution since 1791, when all 10 amendments of the Bill of Rights were adopted.

It states:

“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.”

In recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that the Second Amendment sets forth an individual right to own a gun (in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008)) and that the individual right extends beyond types of weapons that were available when the amendment was ratified (in Caetano v. Massachusetts (2016)). Muskets were the primary firearm in the United States at the time, although some private citizens also owned cannons.

The process to repeal an amendment to the federal constitution is the same as the one to amend the constitution, as NewBostonPost explained in 2019.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution says that Congress may propose amendments by a two-thirds vote of both the Senate and House of Representatives, which must then be ratified by three-quarters of the state legislatures or by constitutional conventions created by the states. (Another way, never used to date, is by a second national constitutional convention, which must be applied for by two-thirds of the states and called by Congress, followed by ratification of any amendments approved by the constitutional convention by three-quarters of the states.)

Two-thirds of the current 50 states is 34. Three-quarters of the current 50 states is 38.

Amending the U.S. Constitution is usually a difficult and time-consuming process, making it a long shot. About 11,848 amendments have been proposed in Congress since the federal constitution was ratified in 1789, according to the U.S. Senate’s web site; only 27 have been approved.

The only amendment ever repealed is the Eighteenth Amendment. It prohibited “the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors.” Prohibition began with the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1919 and ended after the ratification of the Twenty-First Amendment (which repealed it) in 1933.

None of the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, have ever encountered a serious challenge.

Repealing the Second Amendment is a politically unpopular position in Massachusetts. A March 2018 WBUR poll found that 28 percent of Bay Staters supported it while 67 percent unopposed.

Liss-Riordan is one of two Democrats in the race for state attorney general. The other is Quentin Palfrey; he was the Democratic Party’s lieutenant governor candidate in 2018. There are no Republicans in the race so far.

Liss-Riordan could not be reached for comment on Thursday this week.


New to NewBostonPost?  Conservative media is hard to find in Massachusetts.  But you’ve found it.  Now dip your toe in the water for two bucks — $2 for two months.  And join the real revolution.