There many distinct types of gun violence including domestic violence, gang violence, and suicide. All are tragic, but mass murder by irrational shooters has catapulted to the top of the legislative agenda as a result of the Sandy Hook tragedy.
There is a clear need for federal action — click here for my statement calling for federal action. Click here for the President’s proposals on gun control.
Additionally, all of us need to ask what more we can do in Massachusetts. All ideas are on the table right now and your thoughts will be much appreciated.
Reference Materials — Federal Gun Law
- Federal Firearms Laws Overview Presentation
- Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence — federal gun law page
- Heller opinion on the Second Amendment
- McDonald opinion on the Second Amendment
- Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
- Federal Bureau of Investigation, Background Check System
Reference Materials — Massachusetts Gun Laws
The Massachusetts Department of Public Safety maintains an excellent summary of Massachusetts Rules and regulations at its website — click here to access the Mass DPS site. Massachusetts fire arms laws are much stricter than the federal laws and by contrast to the federal laws include:
- A requirement that to have any firearm one must be licensed, with several grades of licenses for more dangerous weapons. New license applicants must show proof of training and for higher grade licenses, police chiefs have discretion to deny licenses.
- A requirement that all firearms transactions be reported to a central registry, the Firearms Records Bureau. The central records of who is licensed and what firearms they own are confidential, accessible only to law enforcement.
- A requirement that firearms licensees report their address and any change of address to the Firearms Record Bureau
- A licensing framework for dealers, with a requirement that guns sold by dealers meet safety standards, related to
- structural integrity and resistance to overheating
- possibility of accidental discharge
- possibility of firing more than one round per trigger pull
- barrel length and accuracy
- A requirement that all guns sold in the Commonwealth be sold with a safety locking device of some type — DPS publishes an approved list of such devices.
- A requirement that all firearms be secured in a locked container or equipped with a tamper resistant lock
- A ban on assault weapons as defined in G.L. c. 140, § 121 which makes reference to 1994 federal law
- A limit (four) on the number of guns one can sell privately without requirement to be licensed as a dealer.
- Requirements for firearm safety courses