Lawmakers considering testimony on gun violence prevention bills

One bill would require mental wellness and suicide prevention training for police officers

Guns
(AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

BOSTON (WWLP)—The Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security is considering testimony on about 50 gun bills dealing with licensing, sale and use after a public hearing at the State House Thursday.

“My dad said, ‘Mike, go back, go back.’ And I said, ‘dad, don’t do this, please.’ He then put the gun to his head and took his own life,” Captain Michael Cabral of Somerville Police Department said.

At the hearing, Cabral recounted the day he witnessed his father, a Middlesex County officer, shoot himself in a local baseball field—a memory he’s lived with for more than 25 years. He wishes his father had gotten help.

Cabral testified in support of Andover State Representative Jim Lyons’ bill to require mental wellness and suicide prevention training for police officers.

“Getting some additional help, getting some training for new police officers, or even their families, would be beneficial and maybe we can all save a life someday,” Cabral said.

The committee is also considering a bill filed by State Rep. Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge) that would temporarily prevent firearm access for extremely dangerous or suicidal individuals.

“It is a privilege that we allow individuals to hold onto something that causes harm and death,” Decker said. “We need to take responsibility of revoking that privilege.”

Under the bill, families can file an “extreme risk protection order” if they believe a family member is in danger of harming themselves or others by having a gun. By court order, the person could be prohibited from having a gun for one year.

The committee is currently considering public testimony on the bills before making recommendations.