Rep. David Linsky has filed his gun control package. He did a lot of listening to get to the point of filing his bill, which does respond to a number of the ideas discussed in this forum. Senator Creem, also a long time gun control advocate, has also filed a full package, as has Governor Patrick.
According to the summaries that they have provided, the two legislators’ packages include several similar elements:
- Provide Local Chiefs of Police with discretion on issuance of an FID Card.
- Require large capacity weapons to be stored at licensed gun clubs
- Increase taxes on guns and ammunition to fund safety and mental health measures.
- Limits gun buyers to one firearm purchase per month.
Additionally, Rep. Linsky’s bill (according to his summary):
- Requires proof of liability insurance for possession of a firearm, rifle or shotgun.
- Requires live shooting as part of the curriculum for a basic firearms safety course; this is not a current requirement.
- Requires all applicants for gun licenses and FID cards to sign a waiver of mental health records for review to be destroyed after decision.
- Brings Massachusetts into compliance with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
- Creates new crimes with enhanced penalties for using a firearm in the commission of a crime.
Additionally, Senator Creem’s package would (according to her summary):
- Increase Penalty and Improve Enforcement of Gun Possession with an Expired License.
- Adjust penalties for individuals who violate prohibition of weapons on school grounds and provides for “right of arrest”.
- Ban the sale and possession of 50 caliber guns.
The elements of Governor Patrick’s bill which may not appear in the legislators’ bills are:
- Require background checks at gun shows.
- Limit sales of high-powered ammunition.
I have received a number of emails criticizing Governor Patrick’s bill for changing the definition of a large capacity feeding device to one containing more than seven rounds. In section 6, the bill does, in fact, make a change along these lines, although the drafting is not completely clear. The effects of this provision may not have been fully vetted; it does raise issues. The full text of the bill appears at this link.
The legislative process is just getting started. Nobody is married to all the details of their proposal. There will be public hearings on all three bills before anything moves forward. I intend to cosponsor the bills from the two legislators to indicate my support for action. But I continue to welcome input on the bills and more generally.