Police chiefs rally for gun safety at the State House

There have been 74 school shootings since Sandy Hook

BOSTON (WWLP) – Members of the Massachusetts House and Senate are stuck on one provision that would give Massachusetts police chiefs the authority to deny firearm I.D.’s for shotguns and rifles.

“There have been 74 school shootings since Sandy Hook, and almost every single one, a rifle or a shotgun was involved,” said John Rosenthal of Stop Handgun Violence.

Police chiefs from across Massachusetts gathered at the State House with one message to state lawmakers as they debate gun violence legislation. “Give us the tools we need to keep guns out of the hands of individuals that we have reasons to believe pose a threat to their communities, their households and our community as well,” said Wellesley Police Chief Terry Cunningham.

That tool would give police chiefs the authority to deny firearm I.D. cards for shot guns and rifles, just as they already do for handguns, but they would have to provide valid reasons why in writing. The measure was approved by the House and then struck down by the Senate just last week.

A local chapter of the National Rifle Association supports the Senate’s decision and said if police chiefs get that authority, then the group will oppose the bill.

“One of the other reasons why suitability, we fight so hard against its expansion lies at the very feet of some of the chiefs who were up there on the stairs. They have abused this authority so it’s a little bit disingenuous for them to ask for an expansion of that authority,” said Jim Wallace of the Gun Owners’ Action League.

With just nine days left in this formal legislative session, state lawmakers will have to act swiftly to get a compromise to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

The bill now heads to a six-member conference committee to hammer out differences between the House and Senate.

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