The Associated Press

Mass. Senate To Debate Sweeping Gun Bill

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Senate released its own version of a sweeping overhaul of the state’s gun laws on Monday, including many elements of a bill approved by the House last week.

Like the House bill, the Senate proposal would create a web-based portal within the state Executive Office of Public Safety to allow for real-time background checks in private gun sales and would stiffen penalties for some gun-based crimes. It would also create a firearms trafficking unit within the State Police.

The House and Senate bills would both strengthen local police chiefs’ discretion over issuing firearms identification cards needed for the purchase of rifles or shotguns, much like the discretion they currently have over issuing licenses to carry concealed weapons.

The bills would require police chiefs to give written reasons for any applications they choose to deny, however. Their decisions would have to be based on public safety and could be appealed in court.

Jim Wallace, head of the Massachusetts Gun Owners Action League, said the group supports the requirement that police chiefs must issue written reasons when they deny an application, but he said gun owners oppose expanding the authority of chiefs over firearms identification cards.

“We are pleased with many measures in the Senate version,” Wallace said. “However, discretionary licensing for FID cards is not something we can live with or support.”

Both bills would also require schools to have access to two-way communication devices with police and fire departments and mandate that Massachusetts joins the National Instant Background Check System. That includes transmitting information about substance abuse or mental health commitments to a federal database for use by police in reviewing firearms applications.

The House bill passed last week on a 112-38 vote. The Senate bill is scheduled for debate Thursday.

Supporters hope to win final passage of a single compromise version of the bills in both branches and get the legislation to Gov. Deval Patrick before the formal legislative session ends July 31.

Work on the legislation began last year after the 2012 mass school shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

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  • fun bobby

    oh for some reason they forgot to mention that this bill would once again allow police chiefs to discriminate against people on the basis of race or socioeconomic status for even the most basic of firearms permits. why not have a statewide standard and accountability?

    • X-Ray

      The Police Chief becomes judge and jury. Its up to the application to prove he/she with “worhy”, not a right when qualified.

      • fun bobby

        and these same people understand a $10 voting ID is racist as they push to increase the cost of a firearms permit $35-100 on top of the $100 by making the hunters ed class, which is much more in depth but free, no longer acceptable

      • fun bobby

        call your state senator today they are voting tomorrow bill # H.4278

    • proseshooter

      Why have permits at all? I do not need a permit to vote, and the LIV’s object to even the requirement of photo IDs to vote. The right to bear arms is the only fundamental liberty that requires police permission to exercise. Even the requirement that black civil rights demonstrators have a police issued parade permit did not pass Constitutional scrutiny.

  • fun bobby

    please call and email your state senators and tell them you cannot support a expanding a policy that is currently being abused to discriminate against minorities and the poor

    • Jerome

      Nobody reads emails and all you get is a canned message. Jam the phone lines swamp the mail room.

      • fun bobby

        I imagine while they don’t read them that they do have a staffer count how many for and against they get. of course phone calls and real letters are probably better H.4278. they vote tomorrow

  • Jerome

    Direct violation of the 2nd ammendment. People need to sue.

  • knownknot .

    More crap !!! Since when do criminals follow any laws !!!!! All this will do if passed is restrict Law Biding people at the lower ends of society While the rich & powerful live guarded ! These include Lawmakers Judges ect Think about it

    • fun bobby

      that is by design. its discrimination plain and simple and they will expand it tomorrow if you do not give them a call today bill H.4278

  • chfnelson

    MA used a Minuteman as a symbol, but the State has forgotten it was personal arms that started the Revolution. Apparently the State does not want that to happen again.

    All these laws are useless. They only penalize the honest, law abiding citizens, and do nothing to stop crimes. Of course, the politicos are happier putting leaky band-aids on the problem of crime instead of attacking it directly.

    • fun bobby

      call your state senator and tell them NO on H.4278. they vote tomorrow

  • proseshooter

    Considering that instant background checks and firearms tracking are already done by the Federal Government, the proposed law seems to be useless. What Mass. really needs are must issue laws, and statewide pre-emption of gun laws so as to prevent individual communities from passing their own draconian laws, such as those that exist in Chicago and NYC. VIVA LA REVOLUCION

  • NotKennedy

    In the era where the government is now the declared enemy of the Constitution and the Homeland Security has morphed into some naziesque variant of an Armed Occupation Force, why would anyone question the benevolence of a Massachusetts liberal inquisition against firearm ownership? Relax, Fauxcahontas has you covered!

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