BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – State lawmakers are often criticized for taking swift action only after a high profile, tragic event. 22News asked them whether tougher gun laws could help prevent a mass shooting closer to home.
Investigators in southern California are trying to determine a motive behind Wednesday’s mass shooting that killed fourteen people and wounded twenty-one. Some Massachusetts state lawmakers believe more could be done to curb gun violence.
West Springfield Democrat Michael Finn said, “I think that we’ve already done quite a bit, but I still think that more should be done, you know, by way of background checks and things of that nature.”
Former Governor Deval Patrick signed a sweeping overhaul of the state’s gun laws last year. Licensed gun dealers are now required to run real-time background checks during private gun sales.
Police chiefs can now go to court to deny someone a firearm identification card for shotguns and rifles. Two assault rifles and two semi-automatic pistols were used in Wednesday’s attack – all had been purchased legally. Former Salem Police Chief, State Representative Paul Tucker, told 22News more needs to be done to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
“We can’t just keep looking for the status quo. I think we really have to look at this in a new model of how we address it. What that is – I couldn’t tell you today,” said Tucker.
Massachusetts has some of the strongest gun laws in the nation. Many gun owners argue that more people should be equipped with guns for self-defense.
State lawmakers hope the federal government will urge other states to crack down on illegal firearms.