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Gun Legislation Unveiled On Beacon Hill

Public Safety Committee Co-Chairman Rep. Hank Naughton appears with House Speaker Robert DeLeo at the Tuesday morning unveiling of the House’s anti-gun violence bill. (State House News Service)

Public Safety Committee Co-Chairman Rep. Hank Naughton appears with House Speaker Robert DeLeo at the Tuesday morning unveiling of the House’s anti-gun violence bill. (State House News Service)

BOSTON — Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo on Tuesday morning introduced long-awaited legislation that aims to decrease gun violence.

“I’ve learned that while Massachusetts has some very strict gun laws, we can still make improvements to make our state a safer place,” DeLeo said.

The bill is the result of research by a committee the speaker appointed after the Newtown school shootings to recommend new gun laws.

The legislation mandates Massachusetts enter records of mental health commitments and adjudications in the federal background check database, and requires all secondary handgun sales to occur at a location operated by a licensed firearm dealer. It also increases the penalty for not reporting a lost or stolen firearm and instructs authorities to trace the origin of any firearm used to commit a crime.

John Rosenthal, from the group Stop Handgun Violence, applauds those ideas.

“I think it’s very important to have a point-of-sale background check, even if you have been licensed, just to make sure that nothing has changed from the time you had that background check and got the license,” he said.

The Gun Owners’ Action League opposes several of the changes, such as giving police chiefs discretion by expanding the so-called “suitability” clause to firearm ID cards.

“The suitability clause, as far as license to carry, has probably been one of the most widely abused pieces of law as far as firearms in Massachusetts, resulting in lawsuits all over the state constantly,” said Jim Wallace, GOAL’s executive director. “And, to expand that I think is just a real problem. It’s a real non-starter for us.”

Wallace said he hopes the new plan improves on state laws passed in 1998, but he’s not optimistic.

“One of the things that disturbed me the most was that nobody behind that podium recognized that Massachusetts gun laws have been an abject failure,” Wallace said.

This new legislation would do little to prevent guns trafficked across state lines. In 2012, more than half the guns seized by law enforcement in Massachusetts were traced to other states, mainly New Hampshire and Maine.

“The only way we’re truly going to be able to address some of those issues is with federal legislation,” said DeLeo.

“Ultimately, gun violence must be addressed at the national level,” he said. But, then he added, “In the face of continued absence of federal leadership, leaders in state government have to step up wherever we can.”

DeLeo is hopeful the omnibus bill will move through the State House swiftly and land on the governor’s desk by the end of this legislative session, July 31.

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  • Thinkfreeer

    And who is going ensure that all of the police chiefs are suitable?

    • fun bobby

      great question, the current law states that they must issue or deny a permit in 40 days. if you call Worcester to get a permit they will make you get an appointment several (6) months in the future and then tell you it will be 12 weeks minimum. that’s 84 days. are there any consequences? no
      so many of the chiefs ignore the law and in this state on this issue there is no accountability

  • X-Ray

    Using DeLeo’s logic, we should investigate and deny sales and ownership of cars to those who drink or, at least, anyone having any history of drunkedness. In MA we already have the strictest gun control laws in the country, and we blame the bulk of our problems on other states with lesser restrictions. Yet our solution is to further restrict the freedoms of our law-abiding citizens. More illogic.

  • paul

    Can we get a link to the text of the bill?

    • D. G.

      Currently, it’s HD4253, and when the MA House Clerk posts the bill, you can find it on the Docket Book tab, here: https://malegislature.gov/People/ClerksOffice/House

      • fun bobby

        thanks for being on point with the links

        • D. G.

          Here’s the current link to the bill:

          https://malegislature.gov/Document/Bill/188/House/H4121.pdf

          • fun bobby

            oh god I read it it was a nightmare. a whole slew of mandatory minimums. you actually get in less trouble to have an illegal gun than if you improperly store your legal gun! and instead of fixing the racist may issue for LTCs they expand it to FID! its not right I just hope that something can be done. it looked like we were really close to ending may issue and then they come up with this garbage

  • D. G.

    More insane gun grabbers, trying again to insanely grab more guns…

  • rickrabin

    No, bills are posted at https://malegislature.gov/

  • lowCal90
  • Guest

    I left this state. Which was very sad because it is a beautiful state with lots of history and pride. But today its completely overrun by blatant corruption and some of the farthest fanatical-leftists in the entire nation. Its a damn shame.

  • some guy

    I left Massachusetts. Which was very sad because it is a beautiful state
    with lots of history and pride. But today its completely overrun by
    blatant corruption and some of the most fanatical-leftists in the
    entire nation. Its a damn shame.

    • fun bobby

      its like they want to be the leftist version of texas

  • fun bobby

    “The school department of a city or town, a regional school district or a county 32 agricultural school shall, subject to appropriation, employ at least 1 school resource officer to 33 serve the city, town, regional school district or county agricultural school. The school resource 34 officer shall be appointed jointly by the superintendent and the chief of police, in the case of 35 school department of a city or town, or by the superintendent and each chief of police in any city 36 or town served by a regional school district or county agriculture school.


    gee I wonder if the cops will support a law that creates plenty of new jobs for cops? will the pay for these cops come out of the schoolbook money?

  • fun bobby

    “I think it’s very important to have a point-of-sale background check, even if you have been licensed, just to make sure that nothing has changed from the time you had that background check and got the license,” he said.
    yeah this will stop the people who get permits then wait a long time without getting any guns and then commit a crime and then buy a gun in a private sale, because that happens.

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