BOSTON (WWLP) – Governor Deval Patrick plans to sign a bill Wednesday that hopes to reduce gun violence in the state. The bill became a top priority after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in neighboring Connecticut back in December of 2012.
Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo issued a statement that read, “We seek not to be the safest state in the nation, but strive to make our communities the safest in the world… this legislation gives us the tools to reach that goal.”
The bill creates an online portal for access to real-time background checks during private gun sales. Failure to report a lost or stolen firearm would call for a stiffer fine. The most controversial provision would allow police chiefs to petition the courts to deny firearm identification (FID) cards for shotguns and rifles.
School safety initiatives were also included in the bill. Schools would have to establish two-way communication with the police and fire department. Plans to address mental health and suicide prevention were added, but nothing in the bill explains how it would all be funded.
Warren Republican Todd Smola told 22News he has some concerns, “I think the focus on school safety has to come with some sort of financial resource. If we don’t put our pocketbook where our policy is, then that policy crumbles.”
Republican state lawmakers echoed that the bill is not perfect and that they would be revisiting the issue again in the future.