MA Senate passes bill to reduce gun violence

BOSTON (WWLP) - State gun laws have generated a lot of interest, right from the start.

“We’ve gotten flooded with postcards, letters emails and calls. Of all the issues that the state Senate has dealt with, this year since I’ve been in the Senate, this is the one that’s generated the most interest and concern on the part of constituents that I represent,” said State Senator Don Humason (R-Westfield).

The Massachusetts Senate approved a bill that could crack down on illegal guns in the state. Their version of the bill requires the state to join the national background check system. Licensed gun dealers would gain access to real-time background checks during private gun sales. Senate members also filed amendments increasing mental health programs and suicide prevention.

“We have a bill that deals with public safety that deals with mental health that deals with school safety that deals with fighting gun crime and still respects the civil rights of gun owners. And what I’ve been saying all day is we’re one paragraph away from making history,” said Jim Wallace of the Gun Owners’ Action League, a local chapter of the National Rifle Association.

Senate members struck down the measure that would give police chiefs more authority to deny firearm I.D. cards for shotguns and rifles – a victory for the National Rifle Association and the Gun Owners’ Action League.

The gun bill was passed on a voice vote. Next, it will head to a conference committee to hammer out differences between the House and Senate versions.

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