Massachusetts is now considering tough new gun laws that would make the state one of the toughest in the country with regards to the possession of shotguns and rifles. A special committee was formed in the Massachusetts legislature following the mass shootings in Newton, Connecticut, to review existing gun laws. After a year of input from experts and other careful review, the committee has determined a strategy to improve gun laws.
The first prong focuses on improving reporting throughout the state to the federal background check database. The idea being that people with a history of mental illness would be precluded from obtaining guns after a gun dealer ran them through the required federal check.
Another component of the bill is much broader. It gives more latitude to local law enforcement officials to deny licenses for shotguns and rifles. The chairman of the special committee tasked with crafting the new measure says that local police chiefs need that ability to use at their own discretion. He says that local police can look at their records and see how many times they have responded to a disturbance call at a particular address over a period of time. The chairman says that local police know who poses a greater threat in their own communities, and therefore, should be denied having weapons.
Gun rights advocates opposed to the bill say that there needs to be some form of hearing on the matter first where both parties can voice their opinions. They say that police already abuse their discretion too much by restricting gun ownership.
Massachusetts gun owners need to know that gun ownership is a constitutionally protected right. They also need to know that there are legal ways to defend those rights if they are ever imperiled.
Source: NPR, "Already Tough On Gun Control, Massachusetts Aims To Get Tougher" Tovia Smith, May. 28, 2014