BOSTON (WWLP) – Governor Deval Patrick has signed a controversial bill designed to reduce gun violence in the state. The new law includes the creation of new crimes, toughens penalties for violators of the gun laws, makes the state compliant with a federal background check system, and increases security at schools. The most controversial provision would allow police chiefs to petition the courts to deny firearm identification (FID) cards for shotguns and rifles.
The new law comes following several high-profile shootings in recent years, including the Aurora, Co. movie theater shooting, the Washington Navy Yard shooting, and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in neighboring Connecticut.
“Everybody has a stake in reducing gun violence, and in very sensible ways and through compromise, this bill helps us all toward that goal,” Patrick said.
Lawmakers who backed the bill say the changes will make communities safer, address mental health, and most of all – keep guns out of the hands of criminals. The local chapter of the NRA and the group “Stop Handgun Violence” are in support of the legislation because, as Speaker Robert DeLeo says, they both share a similar goal: “To keep guns out of the hands of those who would harm others.”
Under the new law, police are now required to trace guns used to commit crimes and report any relevant data. It also closes a loophole with private gun sales by creating an online portal for access to real-time background checks.