Gun Bill Up For Debate By Massachusetts House

BOSTON — House lawmakers have begun debating a bill intended to tighten Massachusetts’ gun laws.

The bill up for debate Wednesday would require police chiefs to give reasons for denying gun licenses to individuals seeking them. Those denials would have to be based on public safety and could be appealed.

Milford State Rep. John Fernandes says the bill gives police chiefs greater authority beyond whether a person is a felon or in the country illegally.

“The person may have been involved in some domestic violence calls but not arrested,” Fernandes said. “So these kind of behaviors the courts have in the past said, you know, ‘Chief, you could take a look at that.’”

The bill would also create a web-based portal within the state Executive Office of Public Safety to allow for real-time background checks for private gun sales.

Penalties for some gun-based crimes would be stiffened under the bill, which would also create a firearms trafficking unit within the State Police.

The legislation seeks to improve safety at schools by requiring each district have access to two-way communication devices with police and fire departments.

The Massachusetts Gun Owners Action League, which was critical of an earlier version, is supporting the bill.

With reporting from the WBUR Newsroom and the Associated Press

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on wbur.org.
  • vito33

    I can’t believe we don’t already have a firearms trafficking unit.

  • gingerde

    24 hours to review a bill that supports legal controls for guns and public safety is more than enough time. No one’s liberties are being affected: all of our people need to be safe. Let’s have Massachusetts be an example for sanity in this country.

    • fun bobby

      Wrong. This bill expands a provision in state law that is currently being used to deny people their basic civil rights based on skin color or last name or gender.
      would you support a bill to let local unelected police chiefs decide who could vote based on race or gender or any other factor?

    • fun bobby

      tell me which part of this bill seems sane to you, I think there are a couple but there are several parts that are not only insane, they are racist

    • Obie

      An example? To what, the half-dozen states who care about gun control? The others are laughing at us as our legislators keep depriving us of our liberties, bit by bit.

      I also suppose you think it’s sane for the bill to re-up the prohibition on legal, non-resident aliens from obtaining gun licenses. You know, even after a federal court said that was unconstitutional two years ago, see Fletcher v. Hass, 851 F.Supp.2d 287 (2012). The state legislature giving the finger to federal courts? Yeah, totally sane.

      • fun bobby

        I spoke to goal and they are saying that this bill will be great for them because it would be such a clear cut case in federal court, seems pretty bass ackwards to me

        • Obie

          I would actually agree.

          For years, the state has been successful by arguing in response to lawsuits that the gun licensing scheme does not violate the 2nd Amendment since FID cards are “shall issue”. Now that they’ll become descretionary licenses subject to suitability determinations, the state can no longer make that argument.

          Still the mere fact that every Massachusetts citizens’ right to own any firearm if any kind is now revokable on the whim of ones local police chief should bother everyone as an excessive governmental overreach, no matter what your stance on gun control.

          • fun bobby

            its horrible, I hear they even are trying to take away the ability of legal aliens to bear arms even after they had it granted to them in court.

          • Obie

            I don’t think that provision was intentional, but rather an error in drafting. In regards to aliens, they simply repassed the same language that is on the books after it was ruled unconstitutional.

            While it won’t bear any change with permanent resident aliens being issued licenses, it goes to show our elected leaders still have no idea what they’re doing and voted for a clearly and unarguably unconstitutional provision despite their oaths to the contrary.

            By the time I was able to write my rep yesterday regarding the provision, the law had already passed. This is what happens when you give the public four hours to review the updated bill. Transparency at its best.

          • fun bobby

            they may as well call it the MAsafe act

  • fun bobby

    β€œThe person may have been involved in some domestic violence calls but not arrested,”
    if they were engaged in domestic violence why would they not be arrested?
    this law would allow police chiefs to deny people their rights because they are black or Hispanic or a woman or its part of the chiefs political agenda. there is no oversight in this process and the police routinely ignore the parts of it they feel like. This law would expand that. this is institutionalized racism and expands discrimination in the commonwealth. this is the opposite of what we need call your lawmakers and tell them no more jim crow in the commonwealth!

    • Obie

      Not all violence is physical, and thus not necessarily arrestable.

      • fun bobby

        either its domestic violence or its not, if it is arrest them and take away their guns, if there is a restraining order filed take away their guns. otherwise they need to be left alone. obviously the police chief was not going to say “we need this power so we can prevent Hispanics and blacks from lawfully acquiring arms” even though that has been the practice and what this law would expand

  • fun bobby

    please please educate your self about this bill ands call your legislators today

  • fun bobby

    this bill would for example allow someone to be denied because they were dishonorably discharged from the military. until two years ago you could receive a dishonorable discharge for being a homosexual. those discharges are still on their records as well as anyone who has a sodomy charge from back in the day when homosexuality was a crime

    • Obie

      That’s actually not true. A dishonorable discharge is considered a federal conviction, and must occur as the result of courts martial.

      Homosexuality was handled as an administrative discharge.

      The gun legislation is still a mess, though.

      • fun bobby

        interesting, on the form it just asks if you have ever been dishonorably discharged

    • Dataninja

      Sounds like you know this from personal experience?

      Wonder if this guy still got his permit denied, do you know?


  • Erin Schwartz

    This bill is not only elitist and racist, it is anti-family and un-American.

    How do the fascists down on Beacon Hill expect struggling working class
    families to protect themselves from local thugs, neighborhood sex
    offenders, and crooked cops clad in SWAT gear?

Most Popular