Where candidates for Mass. governor stand on gun control

BOSTON (AP) — Stemming gun violence and illegal gun trafficking has been a major topic of discussion in Massachusetts in recent months despite the state’s reputation for having some of the nation’s most stringent laws already in place.

Differences in approach to gun safety issues have emerged between Democratic and Republican candidates for governor.

Charlie Baker

The 2010 Republican nominee for governor said he supported the gun safety bill recently approved by the Democratic-controlled Legislature and signed by Gov. Deval Patrick.

Baker said the new law satisfied what he considered the three major issues surrounding gun safety: Participation by Massachusetts in a national mental health database; increased penalties for crimes committed with guns, and more focus on gun trafficking.

“And the fact that you have the gun safety people and the gun owners folks for the most part reasonably content with this legislation, I think is a good thing,” Baker said during a debate with GOP opponent Mark Fisher on WBUR-FM.

Baker has dismissed a proposal from Patrick and other Democrats to limit individual gun purchases to one per month, saying he agreed with critics who considered it more a gimmick than effective policy.

Martha Coakley

The attorney general said she would push for a federal assault weapons ban, universal background checks and closing the gun show loopholes, calling such efforts “critical to stemming the tide of illegal guns currently coming into Massachusetts from states with looser gun laws.”

Coakley has been faulted by Democratic rival Steven Grossman for not supporting a proposal offered by Gov. Deval Patrick to limit individual gun purchases to one per month.

The one-gun-a-month limit isn’t necessary in Massachusetts and the state should instead focus on gun trafficking and keeping firearms away from mentally unstable people, Coakley responded.

She praised a recently passed gun safety bill, including a provision that gives police chiefs more discretion in the issuance of permits for rifles and shotguns.

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