The Associated Press

Gov. Patrick Outlines New Gun Control Bill

BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick is filing gun control legislation he says will close loopholes in Massachusetts’ existing laws while strengthening mental health services.

Some of the measures in the bill Patrick unveiled on Wednesday have been filed by the governor in the past, including restricting gun owners to purchasing one firearm a month.

The bill would also tighten access to high-powered rounds of ammunition, create four new types of firearms-related crimes and mandate buyers to undergo background checks before purchasing weapons at gun shows.

It would also require Massachusetts courts to send all relevant mental health records to the state’s criminal justice information system so the federal government could include this information in a national gun license registry.

Patrick said that would bring Massachusetts into compliance with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

His bill also includes $5 million for Department of Mental Health programs, including training teachers to recognize symptoms of mental illness in students.

Patrick said the mental health issue is critical to a comprehensive effort to reduce gun violence.

“Mental illness is a disease that can be treated, and our communities are safer when the appropriate services and supports are available for people in need,” he said in statement. “I am encouraged by the palpable consensus in our Legislature that the time for action is now.”

The push for tighter gun laws has intensified in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., with top leaders in the Massachusetts Legislature also promising action on gun safety measures.

Among the ideas being weighed by lawmakers are proposals requiring gun owners to buy liability insurance and setting tighter standards for firearms licenses.

Gun rights advocates have faulted Patrick, saying some of his proposals would punish law-abiding gun owners. They argue there should be no limit on the number of guns that licensed owners can purchase.

Instead of writing ever-tougher licensing requirements, activists say, state and law enforcement officials should focus on keeping guns out of the hands of hard-core criminals and the mentally ill.

Patrick’s bill would also:

- Require private gun sales to occur at the business of a licensed dealer so that the sale can be tracked electronically;

- Prevent the furnishing of a machine gun to any person under the age of 21;

- Establish tiered punishments for possessing different weapons on school property and give police the authority to arrest without a warrant in order to quickly diffuse a dangerous situation on school property;

- Create the crime of assault and battery by means of a firearm, assault by means of a firearm, being a felon in possession of a firearm and commission of a violent misdemeanor while in possession of a weapon;

- Increase the authorized minimum penalties for third and fourth offenses of illegal possession and carrying of firearms, shotguns, rifles and machine guns, and increases the maximum punishment for a second offense.

Included in Patrick’s proposed $5 million for additional mental health services is $2 million for mobile crisis teams that travel to locations with individuals in crisis and provide specialized mental health service to prevent potential harm or violence by connecting those individuals with treatment.

Patrick’s proposal also includes $900,000 for crisis intervention training for law enforcement and other first responders and $500,000 for the state’s Child Psychiatric Access Program to help with the early diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.

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  • Marine/Father

    I really do not have a problem with one purchase per month, but how will that help deter crime? Are “Straw Purchasers” that prevalent in Mass? I am willing to concede to certain things, like smaller magazines, increased background checks, or an expansion of mental health reporting, but whatever idea they propose should have a semblance of logic in it. Frankly, I am a good person, taught weapons safety for the Marine Corps, and to think that anyone can only buy one gun is somehow going to prevent another Newtown is asinine.

    I know the governor does not think to well, this new tax increase is only a way to leave a legacy, and not something that is inherently good for our state.

  • twosidesormore

    >The bill would also tighten access to high-powered ammunition,

    also called hunting rifle rounds… .308WIN, .223WIN, .30-06 Springfield, .22-250 REM?

    what is he talking about? do all the gang members south of Boston use “high power ammo”? I guess .22LR and .25AUTO are at the core of american gun violence…both low-end, weak ammunition…

    …more smoke screens…like prescribing brain surgery when the problem is really hemorrhoids….

    • X-Ray

      Just another case of people writing laws on firearms that have no idea what they are talking about .on what the evidence says about what would be effective. The attitude is, “I’ve made up my mind, don’t confuse me with facts.”

      • Futo Buddy

        yup, i heard oboma say “magazine clips” too.maybe he should ban “automobile cars” those kill lots of kids

  • X-Ray

    There is no a thing as “Gun Violence”. Would you call a injury inflicted by
    a drunken driver as “Car Violence”? Of course not. A gun, even a so-called
    “Assault Weapon” does not do anything until it is picked up, loaded, aimed and
    fired. Calling it “Gun Violence” deflects the responsibility from the real cause
    of the violence, the operator. It also obfuscates the path needed actions to
    ameliorate the problem by shifting the spotlight from the person doing the assaulting.

  • Justin Costa

    Why o why do we keep going after law abiding legal citizens who do everything right have to pay $100 to apply for a weapons permit that can be denied this state has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country make it harder to own one why It not just a second amendment right

    Article XVII of the Massachusetts Constitution states, “The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it

  • X-Ray

    If all the actions Gov. Patrick proposes were, in fact, implemented in the Newtown shootings, nothing would have changed. The perp stole the weapons from a licensed owner, killed his mother, illegally armed himself and transported firearms, then committed additional assaults and murders. All of which is already against the law. Patrick’s proposals would only burden the law-abiding while not hindering the criminal.

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