Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo has unveiled long-awaited legislation designed to further tighten the state's already strict gun laws. The bill mirrors many recommendations made by a task force that was created after the December 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
The bill would give local police chiefs the authority to deny firearms licenses for rifles or shotguns based on suitability standards and extend federal restrictions for firearm acquisition to the state level. Background checks would be required for private gun sales while Massachusetts would join a national instant criminal background database.
Sheila Decter is with the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence.
“Massachusetts was originally out in front on the assault weapons ban some years and I think that many of the components of this bill will be a model for other states as well,” said Decter.
DeLeo and other lawmakers said the bill would strengthen existing laws while also protecting the rights of lawful gun owners.