New Mass. gun bill receives push back from gun owners group

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One year after the Supreme Court struck down concealed carry laws in Massachusetts and other states, House Democrats are attempting to modernize and reform the Commonwealth’s firearm laws with a sweeping piece of legislation.

Democrat Rep. Michael Day of Stoneham presented “An Act Modernizing Firearm Laws”, a 140-page proposal that promises to “stem the flow of illegal firearms into the Commonwealth and increase protections from gun violence for our communities.”

The bill rewrites licensing procedures, revamps regulations for training and selling firearms, and expands the law regarding Extreme Risk Protection Orders, also known as “red flag laws.” It also cracks down on so-called “ghost guns,” or untraceable firearms. According to Day, the Boston Police Dept. reported a 280 percent increase in the number of recovered ghost guns between 2019 and 2021. The new bill would require a gun’s receiver and barrel be registered and serialized and make it a crime to build and sell untraceable guns.

“We’re not trying to go after or criminalize proper license [holders], people who can responsibly carry a firearm,” Day said. “This is really intending to get at those that are evading our code of laws through the advancement of technology and criminal behavior.”

But gun rights advocates and second amendment groups say the bill goes too far and over-complicates an already complicated system.

“It’s so overwhelming, no lawful citizen would be able to comply if this passes. Nobody,” said Jim Wallace, Executive Director of the Gun Owners’ Action League. With around 19,000 members, Wallace said GOAL is the largest gun owners’ advocacy group in Massachusetts.

“These laws are more convoluted. They didn’t streamline the process like they said they were going to do,” Wallace said.

Day said the bill clarifies the current system and makes it easier to understand.

“I think if you sit down to read it and look at what it actually will do, it simplifies [the law] considerably. It also gives law enforcement and our neighborhoods the tools it needs to combat rising gun violence,” he said.

House Speak Ron Mariano said he supports the legislation. Day said the bill will be assigned to a committee and receive a public hearing before being debated by the Legislature.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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