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Berkshire County Republican Association Chairman Tyler Hasting, on the left, has a laugh with attorney general candidate Jay McMahon.

Republican Attorney General Candidate Visits Berkshires

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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McMahon's three main priorities are on protecting the second amendment, increasing public safety, and tackling the opioid addiction problem facing the state.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Jay McMahon wouldn't want a "bump stock" on his rifle. 
"You can shoot faster without it and more accurate," the Bourne attorney said. "Your bullets are scattering and they aren't going on target. Anybody who cares about their shots is not going to want a bump stock."
But McMahon vehemently opposes Massachusetts' decision to ban the device. He says it is an infringement on the 2nd Amendment and he wants to defend that right.
"To me, it is not what do you need. To me, it is that is your right," McMahon said. "As soon as they justify taking some part of your right, they're going to justify the rest. We're going to ban the slide stock. They already did large-capacity magazines. You can only have magazines that have up to 10 rounds."
McMahon uses a SeeAll aiming device, which he says improves accuracy immensely. Yet that remains legal. He said when it comes to gun rights, the Legislature is reactionary and doesn't make sense.
"They said he had a bump stock in Las Vegas. So our Legislature, the Massachusetts Legislature, votes to ban bump stocks. Not one person even so much has gotten a hangnail from the bump stock -- forget about Massachusetts, in New England, no one in New England has been injured let alone killed by a bump stock," McMahon said. "And our Legislature goes right in and kills the bump stock, just kills it. It is a felony."
And last year when Attorney General Maura Healey issued an enforcement order banning so-called "copycat" assault weapons, it got under McMahon's skin.
"I saw that as arrogance beyond. It is total callous disregard for the 2nd Amendment right of the American citizens," McMahon said. 
So he has tossed his hat into the ring to run on the Republican ticket against Healey next year. One of his top priorities is defending the 2nd Amendment.
"They don't like that it is menacing looking. They call it copycat assault weapons. They are rifles and nothing more. They've got stuff around it. Some people have a laser, some people have a flashlight. It does nothing to enhance the bullet," McMahon said.
"I say if you have a menacing gun and somebody breaks into your house and you have that menacing gun and somebody looks at it, you may never have to shoot it because they'll realize they have the wrong address."
McMahon said those in government are "are always trying to infringe. Nobody ever says 'hey let's try to expand that right. Why don't we let these people enjoy life?' Why is it that they always want to choke something out."
McMahon visited with a core group of Republicans in the Berkshires last Tuesday. He recorded a few television shows on Pittsfield Community Television and then had lunch with a some members of the Berkshire County Republicans Association, with whom he discussed his major issues.
"My main issue is the opioid crisis," the former military police officer said.
McMahon says he has a three-fold plan to address the opioid crisis and that overdoses have quadrupled since Healey took office. The first step, he said, is to enhance rehabilitation programs.
"Most of the rehabilitation programs in Massachusetts, ones you get sentences to or compelled to attend, have a 99 percent fail rate. The odds are against you of being rehabilitated if you go through a typical rehabilitation in Massachusetts. People say insurance companies don't want to pay for it. Here is the reason they don't want to pay -- they don't want to pay 10 times, 12 times, 20 times somebody going through a program when they know it is not working," McMahon said. 
McMahon said there are other models for rehabilitation that have proven track records -- specifically programs that take a longer period of time to help heal the brain.
"We have the technology and the education to do it. We just don't have the will to do it," McMahon said. "It takes longer for the brain to heal so you keep the people longer and work them through it."
He is calling for involuntary admissions to rehabilitation programs.
"How about if it is a one-car accident and the cops save the guy with Narcan. There is a candidate right there [for involuntary admission]," McMahon said. "Let's save the person. Because if you can get them off of opioids and get them thinking correctly, they are going to be better fathers, better husbands, better employees, they are going to do the careers they are intended to do and they are going to put their hearts and souls into living their life."
His second piece is to "dry up the source." He again criticized Healey's effort fine CVS and Walgreens drugstores earlier this year over prescriptions.
"CVS and Walgreens are not selling opioids over the counter. And they are certainly not selling heroin and fentanyl, which is killing 80 percent of opioid addicts. So what are they doing? You can't go to CVS and Walgreens and get opioids by asking over the counter or even if you have an empty bottle ask to get it refilled. A doctor has to issue the prescription," McMahon said. 
"If the doctor gives a scrip to a guy, why is it CVS or Walgreen's responsibility or any other pharmacy to check to see if anybody else is doing it?"
He wants the office to put the responsibility on the doctors and not the pharmacies. And then he wants to work with law enforcement to put a severe crackdown on heroin trafficking.
"I want to make it so miserable for people in Massachusetts who are selling this poison, make it hazardous to do business. Let them go to another state," McMahon said. "Let's get our people clean from this poison."
He said he'll work with federal authorities to ascertain information about trafficking into the state and then have troopers pull the dealers over. He said Healey is cutting off those ties by pushing for the commonwealth to become a "sanctuary city."
"She doesn't want to deal with the feds. She wants to protect illegal immigrants. There is no other reason. She is not communicating with the feds," he said.
"If you cut off your federal law enforcement assets for political expediency, you just killed all the intelligence that you have on how that stuff is coming into the state. I'm going to do just the opposite. I find that if you do just the opposite of anything Maura Healey is doing, you are probably going to do the right thing."
He further opposes the sanctuary city declaration because he says it makes the state more unsafe. He said Healey is welcoming potential terrorists into the state at the same time she is "disarming the citizens." He wants to move in the opposite direction.
McMahon knows a bit about public safety, too. Right out of high school he took an internship at the Barnstable House of Correction. He worked there and then went to the National Guard.
"I was in a military police unit and from 1973 to 1974, I went to Massachusetts Military Academy where I graduated as second lieutenant. I stayed in there until my enlistment was up," he said.
He earned his law degree from Suffolk University Law School. He went into business management for a number of years and then into general law practice. He worked for just about 30 years in law, starting in 1988, in civil, criminal, domestic, and bankruptcy cases.
He lives in Buzzards Bay with his wife of 25 years, Shelley, and has raised five children.
In the 1990s, he ran for state representative as an independent because the candidate field was large and he felt it was a better chance to avoid a primary.
"I got a lot of votes but I didn't win. The more I thought about it, I decided if I ran for public office ever again, I'd run as a Republican," McMahon said. "I wasn't always a Republican. Ronald Reagan is the guy that convinced me. My father would tell everybody 'we're Reagan Democrats.' And we were for a while. But in the early 1990s, I changed."
He's been fairly silent in the political realm, though he remained active but not as a candidate. But when that enforcement order was issued, McMahon decided he wanted another run. This time, he's aiming for the attorney general job.

Tags: attorney general,   election 2018,   Republican Party,   

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