Senate Gun Bill

Yesterday, the Senate released its draft gun bill. The bill reflects months of discussions with stakeholders across the spectrum as well as a great deal of discussion among senators. I am grateful to Senate President Karen Spilka and Majority Leader Cindy Creem for the diligent consensus development process that they have led. In my view, they have produced a concise bill that is well-designed to improve public safety by reducing the probability that firearms will be in the hands of people who are unwell or not law-abiding. The full text of the bill appears here. The Fact Sheet and Highlights below were developed by the senate communications team together with the team involved in writing the bill.

The bill will go to the floor for discussion and amendment next week. I welcome questions, comments, and suggestions. Please use the comment form at the bottom of the post to create a public record.

Fact Sheet & Highlights

Thanks to robust gun laws and investment in gun violence prevention, Massachusetts already has one of the lowest rates of gun violence in the nation. Senate bill S.2572, An act to sensibly address firearm violence through effective reform—the SAFER Act—builds on that strong foundation, updates state laws to reflect new technologies and trends, and makes the Commonwealth’s residents even safer without infringing on the rights of lawful gun owners. 

Ghost Guns 

The term ‘ghost guns’ refers to privately made firearms that are not marked with an appropriate serial number and are thus hidden from oversight and accountability. By making changes to our state’s definition of a firearm to better align with federal standards, and by ensuring accountability for those who hold the essential components to assemble a gun, this bill will make Massachusetts a leader in its efforts to crack down on illegal gun possession.  

The bill aligns the state’s definition of a firearm with the federal definition of a firearm. Currently, the state’s definition of a firearm only applies to a fully assembled weapon that is capable of discharging a bullet. This means that if an individual without a license to carry has all the components to develop 10 different guns, if those components are not fully assembled into guns, that individual is considered to be in possession of zero guns under state law. This bill makes clear that if someone is prohibited from possessing a fully assembled firearm, they should also be prohibited from possessing the essential components of such a weapon.  

This change is especially important in an age when privately made ‘ghost guns’ are becoming more common. These ‘ghost guns’ can be made using ready-to-build gun kits or 3D-printed gun parts. Because they are not marked with a serial number, ‘ghost guns’ are impossible to trace back to an individual purchaser when they are found at a crime scene. To address that, the bill would prohibit the 3D-printing of weapons unless the person owns a license to manufacture firearms and require any kit-assembled guns by a licensed gun owner to be registered.  

Glock Switches & Trigger Activators 

The bill makes a notable change to ban the ownership of devices that are specifically designed to make semiautomatic weapons more fatal. These devices go by a variety of names—including ‘Glock switches,’ ‘selector switches,’ and ‘auto sears’—but their goal is the same: to make a gun more dangerous by shooting more rapidly. This bill updates state law to ensure that ownership of these devices is prohibited in the Commonwealth. These devices are frequently being used in mass shootings across the state, such as the shooting at the Boston Caribbean Festival last August that left eight people injured.  

Red Flag Law & Extreme Risk Protection Orders 

The bill enhances the state’s red flag law, which allows a court to order an individual to surrender their license to carry firearms along with any firearms they possess when an individual poses a risk of physically harming themselves or others. First, the bill allows a health care provider to file a petition for an extreme risk protection order (ERPO) related to a patient that they have provided health care services to within the previous six months. Currently, only family members and police officers are able to file a petition for an ERPO. Second, the bill also makes a change by preemptively banning an individual subject to an ERPO from obtaining a license to carry for the duration of the order. Under current law, an individual may only be subject to an ERPO if they already possess a license to carry. 

Harassment Prevention Orders 

This bill protects survivors of abuse and sexual harassment by preventing individuals who are subject to harassment prevention orders from holding dangerous weapons. Currently, state law does not permit a court to order an individual to surrender their firearms if they are subject to a harassment prevention order. This stands in contrast to state law surrounding abuse prevention orders, which explicitly permits a court to order the surrender of firearms. 

This gap in state law puts survivors of abuse and harassment at risk by allowing individuals who are subject to harassment prevention orders to continue to hold onto their weapons. This bill rectifies this problem by ensuring that in an instance when an individual subject to a harassment prevention order demonstrates a “substantial likelihood of immediate danger of harassment,” a court must order that individual to surrender their firearms. 

Inspections of Gun Dealers 

Under current law, local licensing authorities are required to annually inspect gun dealers that they have licensed. There have been instances in the past when those inspections have not occurred however. This bill directs the Secretary of Public Safety and Security to provide information to local law enforcement agencies on how to conduct those inspections, and to ensure that they are conducted on an annual basis. If a gun dealer is not inspected within the annual time frame, the bill directs the state police to conduct the investigation. 

Gun Violence Prevention 

The bill makes a number of changes to support gun violence prevention, with a focus on communities that have disproportionately been affected by gun violence. First, the bill creates a commission to study sources of gun violence prevention funding in Massachusetts and to recommend improvements to reduce the disproportionate impact of gun violence in communities of color. Second, the bill directs the Department of Public Health to develop a pilot program to promote gun safety awareness and firearms licensing education. Third, the bill establishes a task force to review the available sources of federal funding for community violence prevention programs, and to make recommendations for maximizing federal funding in the most equitable way. 

Assault Weapons 

Massachusetts already has in place an assault weapons ban. The state law related to this ban is outdated, however, referring back to a federal law that has since been repealed. This bill will modernize state law by codifying the assault weapons ban as it is currently being interpreted by the Attorney General, to ensure that our residents are kept safe from these weapons of war. 

Gun Industry Accountability in Advertising  

This bill prohibits the marketing of unlawful firearm sales to minors and allows industry actors to be held civilly liable if such marketing practices lead to an individual being harmed. Currently, gun industry actors are granted near-absolute immunity from civil litigation, making them one of the only industries to have such widespread liability protections. This bill would prohibit the gun industry from marketing unlawful firearms sales to minors and allow an individual harmed as a result of such unlawful advertising to instigate a civil action. 

Firing at a Dwelling 

Currently, there is no specific criminal charge for firing a weapon directly at a dwelling or a building in use. This bill creates a criminal charge for such a violation, making clear that firing a weapon at a dwelling or other building in use, with the intent of hitting that building, is a serious criminal offense. 

Sensitive Places 

This bill codifies measures to prohibit the carrying of firearms in courthouses and state and municipal administrative buildings. The bill, however, carves out police officers from the prohibition, while also granting individual communities the ability to opt out and choose to allow licensed gun owners to carry in their municipal government buildings.  [WB Note: Administrative buildings are to be posted with appropriate signage and the penalty for violation is a fine.]

Mental Health 

This bill also makes changes to ensure that law enforcement agencies that issue licenses to carry firearms have the most up-to-date information related to temporary involuntary mental health hospitalizations. Specifically, the bill requires a law enforcement agency that is involved in the temporary involuntary hospitalization of an individual with a mental health condition to submit information related to the incident to the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services, which maintains an inventory of information relevant to the firearms licensing process. The bill maintains strong protections to protect privacy, preventing the sharing of clinical information and ensuring any information shared is used solely for the firearms licensing and sales process. 

Data Collection 

The bill requires more robust data reporting and analysis related to guns, to ensure that the Commonwealth identifies trends in gun violence. The bill builds on existing reporting and requires new data related to guns, including gun sales transaction data and firearms tracing data for guns that were involved in crimes. This report must study the relationship between firearms purchases and violent crimes and suicides, including whether there are specific gun dealers that are disproportionately more likely to have their guns be involved in violent crimes. In addition, the analysis must focus on whether a firearms license that was used to purchase a gun that later was used in a crime was also used to purchase or sell any other weapons. The information in this report is required to be made publicly assessable in an aggregate, non-identifying format. 

Emerging Firearm Technology 

To ensure the Commonwealth’s laws remain up to date, the bill establishes a commission to study emerging firearm technology, with a particular focus on products and features that could increase safety, such as microstamping capabilities and personalized firearms. 


Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

75 replies on “Senate Gun Bill”

  1. This is great progress towards commonsensical approaches to increase firearm safety. Thank you for pursuing this, Senator Brownsberger.

  2. I oppose the provision that would allow local communities to opt out of the “sensitive places” restrictions. As a citizen of the Commonwealth, we all should be able to go into places of public business anywhere in the state and be assured that we are just as secure against anyone carrying a firearm as we are in our own communities. We don’t let local communities “opt out” of other basic laws for public safety. Why should gun owners get special privileges?

    1. I’ll be honest that I didn’t know it was currently legal to carry a firearm in these places, I always believed state/town buildings across the country it was prohibited to carry.
      My point though is that telling me I can’t carry a firearm into town hall is effective in the event that I comply. I’ll follow the law and not carry into said building in the same respect that if a friend or neighbor told me not to smoke in their home.
      It’s not my property, therefore I’ll follow their rules.
      This doesn’t stop Bob from down the street though that decides to bring a gun in to rob you. (At town hall…?)
      So what is this particular provision actually accomplishing besides preventing the law abiding gun owner from carrying there?

  3. I thought that a recent court ruling in New York (Second Circuit Court of Appeals) has resulted in laxer possession and carry laws in Massachusetts.
    Can you please outline the effects of the ruling, if any, on Massachusetts, and whether this current bill is in response to it in any way ? I am just trying to understand more fully. Thank you.

    1. *I did not intend to help promote a legal firm … but their webpage at least lays out a perspective on the situation.

      1. Thanks. I see a link above to a guidance but not as far as I can tell to specific legislation … other than striking the ‘need to carry’ part of existing law …
        So I think you are saying that Braun was already dealt with and the new bill does not need to address it further?

  4. Thank you for producing a more reasoned bill then the house. The only point here I want to strongly object to is the assault weapons definition. The cosmetic features that an “assault weapon” ban prohibits do not make anyone safer. I’m all for sensible gun laws, but those laws should be based in evidence.

      1. It does significantly more than this, outlawing thousands of legally owned weapons transferred between 1994 and the Attorney General’s 2016 Enforcement Notice, itself not a law. Based on the current text of the bill these owners, who already took steps to abide by the 1994/2004 Assault Weapons Ban, would immediately be made felons with no recourse but to dispose of their personal property at great financial loss.

        1. No one meant to go retroactive. This was corrected in Amendment 11.1 which reads as follows:

          Amendment ID: S2572-11.1

          Further Amendment 11.1
          Legacy Clause

          Ms. Creem and Messrs. Tarr and Montigny move that the amendment be amended by striking out the text thereof and inserting in place thereof the following:-

          in section 3, by striking out, in lines 115 to 117, inclusive, the words “and provided further, that if a weapon, as manufactured or originally assembled, is an assault weapon, it shall remain an assault weapon even if it is altered by the seller” and inserting in place thereof the following words:- “provided further, that a weapon shall not be considered a copy or duplicate if the weapon was owned and registered prior to July 20, 2016; provided further, that if a weapon, as manufactured or originally assembled, is an assault weapon, it shall remain an assault weapon even if it is altered by the seller, unless it has been rendered permanently inoperable or otherwise rendered permanently unable to be designated as a semiautomatic assault weapon; and provided further, that the previous proviso shall not apply to copies and duplicates of a weapon identified in said subclauses (a) to (i), inclusive, of said clause (i) that were sold, owned and registered prior to July 20, 2016”.

      2. I realize that is the intention, but the result puts existing legal gun owners at risk of becoming illegal gun owners the moment this bill gets signed into law by the governor.

        Like many things manufactured these days, many components are used across a number of other models (firearms in the case). Everything from trigger components to small springs and pins. We’re not talking folks who built their own firearms, we’re talking about unmodified firearms bought legally in MA for decades.

        Given this new definition of an assault weapon, how are gun owners going to know if the firearms they’ve bought legally off the shelf of gun store has (or can accept) 2 or more of such components in common with the models listed in the bill? Furthermore, even if they have the expertise to find out, what are they to do with those weapons which they are now at risk of a felony just for possessing?

        “(i); provided further, that a receiver shall be treated as the same as or interchangeable with the receiver of such an enumerated weapon if it includes or accepts at least 2 operating components that are the same as or interchangeable with those of such enumerated weapon;”

        1. Great points. Could not be clearer that they are trying to criminalize gun ownership. They are fine with criminals having firearms….just not law abiding citizens. Non of these laws affect criminals who use firearms. If this legislation is passed….will result in years of litigation and millions of dollars in the legal effort to defend. Waste of time and money. Just more virtue signaling and pandering to an ignorant base of voters. Should be passing laws to improve the horrendous issues we have in our inner cities.

        2. The real intent behind the law, James, is of course to chip away at gun rights.
          There is hate & animus there.
          Look at the people behind the law.
          Ask yourself if they care ONE IOTA about drugs, sex trafficking, child trafficking and criminals coming over the border.
          Do you ever get emails from elected Mass. people expressing concern?
          Is this a concern of the Democratic party? No.
          Is this a concern of Gov. Healy? No.
          Do criminals obey gun laws? No.
          Does the Boston Globe worry about criminals coming over the southern border? No.
          Do you know any elected Mass. official who is building housing for these illegal “migrants”? No.
          Any Dem care that many are unvaccinated? No.
          Any Dem housing an illegal as the governor asks? No.

      3. The intention is clearly to make then AG Healey’s 2016 press conference law. It’s an entirely different AWB, as since 1994 it’s been okay per the ATF to remove the cosmetic features from a firearm to make it compliant. The original AWB, which MA openly references, has no such language as presented in this Bill. So it is absolutely changing it as well as how it can be enforced.

  5. Regarding the section “Red Flag Law & Extreme Risk Protection Orders ”:

    I’m wondering who counts as a “family member” and why this is limited to family members, law enforcement, and medical practitioners.

    I can easily see roommates, classmates, romantic partners, teachers, coworkers, employers, and friends as important in public safety when they see mental health concerns. Heck, I imagine “bartenders” might be the most important profession to be able to raise a red flag!

    Can you explain how this law works for other kinds of relationships where a person has concern about someone’s mental health and potential for violence? I know that many teachers might already be mandated reporters for some issues—is this why they are not part of this law?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Kate, a family or household member is defined by in G.L. C.140, s.121 as follows:

      ”Family or household member”, a person who: (i) is or was married to the respondent; (ii) is or was residing with the respondent in the same household; (iii) is or was related by blood or marriage to the respondent; (iv) has or is having a child in common with the respondent, regardless of whether they have ever married or lived together; (v) is or has been in a substantive dating relationship with the respondent; or (vi) is or has been engaged to the respondent.

      It’s a fairly broad definition already. It’s a balance between requiring people to actually know the person well and strengthening our ability to identify issues. The change we are making is to bring in mental health providers.

  6. We do not need more legislation aimed at restricting our rights. More training and education for our citizens on how to properly handle a firearm is what is needed. We need more people in this state exercising their 2nd amendment rights. This legislation is just another power grab and also appeals to the misinformed paranoids.

    1. Hi Mark-
      There are no rights without responsibilities anywhere in our Constitution. Yes, there are 2nd amendment rights and there is also the responsibility of the governments we elect to promote the general welfare- one would think that includes safety. So, we compromise. With the US’s exponentially highest rate of death by guns in the world for a (1st world) country not at war, and our state’s rating as among the lowest rate within the US, it seems our strict gun laws are working to protect people under the currently held protection of 2nd amendment rights. I think this legislation seeks to continue to keep us safe, by keeping up with new technology that makes guns easy to access for anyone without license or registration. It’s not much to ask to keep us in the relative safety we enjoy in MA.

      1. New Hampshire has the second (second lowest only to Vermont, which also has constitutional carry, which means no permit to carry ) lowest murder rate in the US, on par with Canada, and has no LTC, no assault weapons ban, and no red flag laws. NH is widely regarded as having the most pro 2A laws in the US and yet is safer than Mass. Maine, Vermont also are much safer and have much looser gun laws. Clearly gun laws are not to credit for MA’s low gun crime rate, but more economic factors. Source:

      2. Respectfully disagree. I don’t see this legislation doing anything to attack the 95% of violence that occurs with firearms, which occurs in the inner cities and is gang and drug related. The only target of this legislation is to frustrate the law abiding gun owners and dealers. It also appeals to the demographic who are irrationally fearful and ignorant of firearms. Most have never even fired a gun nor had a basic firearms safety course.

      3. Hi Amy –
        Actually, your logic is incorrect. We do not compromise when it comes to constitutional rights, and this has been clearly outlined by the Supreme Court on many occasions – the most recent being the Bruen decision, where it was clearly noted that interest balancing is NOT allowed when considering a Constitutional right. If we are banning guns or offering infringements we must look first at the text of the Constitution and then at history for our guidance. In this bill we see many infringements (defined as hindrances by the SC) without a nod to either. Luckily for you, while the State Legislature knows this they just don’t care. You say that this bill is designed to make it less easy for guns to be acquired by non-licensed people, but that is not the case. Criminals don’t care about licenses or laws (how many times have we heard about a shooting where it is noted that the shooter was not licensed to have a gun?) and the criminals will always get them. How? Probably the same way they get fentanyl which is also illegal but killing people all over our State at a much higher rate than firearms.

  7. Very thoughtful piece of legislation. Thank you.
    Would the statement about municipalities having “the ability to opt out and choose to allow licensed gun owners to carry in their municipal government buildings” include school buildings?
    In any case, I would prefer that this provision be dropped entirely with the only ‘carve out’ being law enforcement. I understand that this provision may be an essential compromise to get the rest of the bill to the floor, but I would hope the discussion on the exception as written will continue.

  8. Very thoughtful piece of legislation. Thank you.
    Would the statement about municipalities having “the ability to opt out and choose to allow licensed gun owners to carry in their municipal government buildings” include school buildings?
    In any case, I would prefer that this provision be dropped entirely with the only ‘carve out’ being law enforcement.

    1. School buildings including higher education campuses are already off-limits for firearms under existing law (Chapter 269, Section 10(j)) and this would not change anything as to them.

      j) For the purposes of this paragraph, ”firearm” shall mean any pistol, revolver, rifle or smoothbore arm from which a shot, bullet or pellet can be discharged.

      Whoever, not being a law enforcement officer and notwithstanding any license obtained by the person pursuant to chapter 140, carries on the person a firearm, loaded or unloaded, or other dangerous weapon in any building or on the grounds of any elementary or secondary school, college or university without the written authorization of the board or officer in charge of the elementary or secondary school, college or university shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or both. A law enforcement officer may arrest without a warrant and detain a person found carrying a firearm in violation of this paragraph.

      Any officer in charge of an elementary or secondary school, college or university or any faculty member or administrative officer of an elementary or secondary school, college or university that fails to report a violation of this paragraph shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and punished by a fine of not more than $500.

  9. I would definitely feel safer if this bill passed. Well thought out legislation. Good work.

    1. While you might “feel” safer there is nothing in this bill that will actually make you safer. Criminals don’t follow the law and all this bill and the House bill will do is make current law abiding gun owners felons. Why are punishing legal gun owners in Mass? This just doesn’t make sense. It’s pure security theater.

  10. Thank you Will. As a former student of Sandy Hook (long ago), this work is very important to me.

  11. Will, it would be useful to see stats on number of prosecutions and number of convictions for violations of the existing gun control laws.
    Hopefully we all agree that it is important to reduce the amount of gun violence. But I don’t see where enforcement is addressed in the legislation.
    Also, why not make it a crime to discharge a weapon generally (barring specific circumstances). Wouldn’t that take care of people shooting at a building in use? There are lots of other situations where people shouldn’t shoot, e.g., at an abandoned building, in a parking lot, etc.

    1. Much of the bill has been designed working with law enforcement to improve enforcement abilities with respect to illegal gun manufacturing.

      As to illegal carrying, our laws are already very strong, providing stiff mandatory minimums since 1975.

      And yes, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building without permission is already illegal and punishable by imprisonment up to three months. This bill would add a section providing additional penalties for actually shooting at a building — up to 5 years:

      SECTION 33. Said Chapter 269 is hereby further amended by inserting after section 12F the following section:-

      Section 12G. Whoever intentionally strikes a dwelling or building in use by discharging an assault weapon, firearm, large capacity weapon, machine gun, rifle, sawed-off shotgun or shotgun, as defined in section 121 of chapter 140, shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 ½ years or in state prison for not more than 5 years or by a fine of not more than $10,000, or both such imprisonment and fine.

      1. I have to disagree that “a mandatory minimum 1-year sentence for those convicted of illegally carrying a firearm” is a strong and stiff penalty.

        If illegal firearms possession and firearms related crime is to be taken seriously, sentences should set at 5 -10 years minimum, with the higher end focused on felons in possession and those whom have previous gun related convictions. I would also included those arrested and prosecuted for trafficking and engaging in straw purchases.

        Regardless of that, I too am curious about the actual number of arrests, convictions and time served.

        1. Illegal gun possession long term jail sentences would adversely affect communities of color. You are not saying you want to lock up more people of color are you?

            1. The mandatory law from 1975 didn’t help the person that was recently shot in Brockton restaurant. The shooter was in front of the judge for illigal posession of a firearm under the CURRENT laws. It was not long befor he shot in the restaurant . The judge even reduced the recommended bail from $10K to $5K. We need more focus on enforcing the laws on the law breakers no matter what neighborhood they are from, not creating more aimed at law abiding people.

  12. Most of the current Massachusetts gun laws, and most of the reforms in this new gun bill, seem to me both sensible and Constitutional.

    However, I remain concerned about two elements:

    (a) Police chiefs remain able, at their sole discretion, to deny Licenses To Carry on the basis of “unsuitability”, which is vaguely defined as a finding based on “(i) reliable and credible information that the applicant or licensee has exhibited or engaged in behavior that suggests that, if issued a license, the applicant or licensee may create a risk to public safety; or (ii) existing factors that suggest that, if issued a license, the applicant or licensee may create a risk to public safety.” This is not probable cause of involvement in a crime of violence or planning for such a crime. The behavior orders provided for in the law are, in my understanding, issued by a court, after a hearing in which both sides may present their case. This process does not, and therefore does not seem like due process of law. For better or for worse – for gun victims, definitely for worse – the Second Amendment is a Constitutionally enumerated, personal right. The Fourteenth Amendment specifies that a “State” may not “deprive any person of […] property, without due process of law.” Consequently, I believe this “unsuitability” procedure to be open to challenge under the Fourteenth Amendment.

    (b) The Second Amendment protects both the right to “keep” and to “bear” arms. Unfortunately for public safety, I believe that the “bear” language includes an implication that the firearm in question be usable at the time it is being borne by a licensed user. Massachusetts law requires that firearms be stored at home in a locked container, or, in the case of rifles and shotguns, in a case while being carried outside the home. In both of these cases, I believe the Massachusetts statutes are open to challenge on the basis that they infringe on the right to “bear” [functioning] “arms.” This right is not, under the current proposal, infringed for police officers; but it is for citizens in general. That creates a further reservation in my mind, because I dislike any legal proposals that assert that law enforcement officers have “special rights” or privileges, or that the law should treat their actions differently from the actions of other citizens. They are not soldiers, for whom special arrangements are appropriate; they are nonmilitary citizens, subject to the same laws as everybody else.

    I don’t own a gun, and have no plans to own one in the future. I don’t like them, and probably would be thoroughly inept if called upon to handle one. But even people like me have to recognize that the Constitution is set up such that too casual treatment of people’s rights under one Amendment – even my least favorite – threatens all the others. It’s fundamentally the same issue as me recognizing that I have to support First Amendment protections even – maybe even especially – for speech with which I personally disagree.

    1. Great points. Seems like this will indeed by challenged in court and cost needless time and money defending.

    2. The Bruen decision took away a State’s right to allow Police Cheif’s discretion in approving gun permits. So I think point a is already mute as MA updated their permitting requirements following that decision.

      Point b. The Supreme Court has long deem storage safe storage and transportation requirements to be constitutional. These laws exist in many states and have so for many decades. However, in Bruen the current SC overturned a 100 year old law on a partisan basis. They also decided on a partisan basis that legal precedent, which is how the courts have operated since the founding of the Country, is no longer how the Court should make decisions. So sure this court has shown a willingness to overturn precedent and change the standards of the Court to do so. Nevertheless, I think the State can only make decisions based on what has been allowed in the past, not what this current court may or may not do.

      1. Hi Ben,

        Not sure where you stand.

        But states like NY have tried to ban “carry” in just about EVERY public place. That is unreasonable, but they do it anyway. Courts have said they CANNOT do it.
        Do we all see the BAD FAITH and pushiness?
        But no, Dems don’t care. They try to get away with everything, bit by bit, to chip away at rights.
        They themselves are lawless, but they don’t care.
        These people are untrustworthy.

        How many people think that “automatic” rifles are legal when they’re not? Lots. This is ignorance. They don’t even know what “automatic” means.
        How many people know what a “semi-auto” is? A very low %.
        We’re dealing with hardcore ignorance in most cases.
        And care to guess who don’t give a darn about ANY gun laws?
        Criminals, the very people some of your hearts bleed for.

  13. Good stuff!

    1. I see references to, “ other than by compressed air,” which I imagine refers to bb/pellet guns and carnival machine bb-gun amusements, but you’ve got spring driven bb/pellet guns from Red Ryders to competition and varmint shooters. Are those overlooked? ( I admit my attention to the text was limited given the length/legal and technical jargon.

    2. It looks like you’re lumping set of weapons known as machine guns and the set known as sub-machine guns into the term machine gun. Both sets are properly in the set (fired) assault weapon.

    3. The vast, vast, vast majority of social ills here at home and outside our borders is due to American illegal drug consumption. Yet the American consumer is morally insensate to the fact that their dollars are an indispensable link to every drug crime from shootings in our neighborhoods retarding another generation from rising from its hibernation to the beheading of judges south of the border and elsewhere and the instability of foreign governments and countries and the immense suffering here and abroad. Moral culpability is insoluble. It can’t be diluted. One dollar is as vital to the drug economy as ten dollars, a hundred dollars spent in the cities and suburbs. There is no such thing as a victimless crime. It’s an oxymoron. It’s moral relativism and it’s corrupting throughout the interstices of our society and politics (one and the same) down to the very core.

  14. I laud these technical measures, but want to opine that there is a moral component – an erosion of American morality – that runs through this and many issues. The choice it ignore the moral prohibition of marketing of guns to people with no need for a gun and manufacturing the wanting of guns. “Hollywood” (media) and entities who tax them profiting off the glorification of guns. Americans inherited their morality from places of worship and that is in decline. Finding morality is secular places is essential! These measures are awesome, but politicians at every level of our civil life must find common ground on the language of morality. Governors and A.G.s in 15 states gave perpetrators of the largest act of mass murder on U.S. soil, Sackler/Purdue, a slap on the wrist to preserve their largesse and the status quo. These 15 could have stood in a pantheon of heroes by standing up to the strong and standinh up for the weak and gave hope priceless hope to all the American people and not just serve the interests of their campaign donors and blinkered boosters. The buck did not stop here with these 15 states. History will remember only this deeply morally flawed decision give moral absolution to a callous act by the Sackler family that has wrought the Union Carbide Bhopal disaster two hundred times over and counting.

    1. I mean talk about shoring up the white hegemony and structures of power and control by preserving Sackler with this settlement! Unless the Sacklers’ motive wasn’t greed, but rather democratizing addiction. Then we’re talking different charges.

      1. Imagine carving up the Sackler pie and pouring it into our public schools! That would only be the beginning of restitution for the half a million dead because of their marketing of Oxycontin and that cohort of addicts and mass addiction that turned to fentanyl and heroin, which feeds our societal pathologies. How different is that from the decision by gun-makers to market their product to unwitting demographics?

    2. Democrats and much of the Left are clearly rather unconcerned about drugs and sex trafficking and the criminals coming over the southern border.
      So I question their views on crime and “gun control.”

      1. I hope all the work dismantling MS-13 will not be for naught if and when other iterations fill the void.

    3. I should not have to profess “a need” for a LTC. Any American citizen found to be of sound mind and absent a conviction of moral turpitude, and other disqualifying convictions, and is in compliance with all Commonwealth requirements, should be able to apply for and be granted appropriate gun permits in accordance with the Second Amendment. In the 90’s I applied for a permit for gun ownership and a permit to carry. I had successfully applied for, screened, and granted a permit to be a gun dealer by the ATF, but denied/rejected by the Watertown Police Department, not withstanding that I had carried and fired firearms for 20 years, including Vietnam, while serving with the U. S. Marine Corps, both as an enlisted Marine, and a commissioned officer responsible for hundreds of junior Marines with firearms of many degrees of magnitude. Additionally, I can remember my older brother back in the 1940s strapping his souvenir WWII German Mauser rifle to the rear window of his old Ford pick up truck, yes, in Watertown; and in the 1960s Watertown High School had a RIFE TEAM where students transported their rifles to school. Currently, it seems that some folks would faint at the sight of a firearm. You all should be proud that, thanks to the Supreme Courts recent action, I now possess a LTC. It later came out that Watertown had formerly rejected 90 percent of applicants that applied for a LTC prior to that ruling. As for me the more qualified Watertown residents that have LTCs, the safer that we all will be; and I fully desire that anyone that violates that trust receive the full force of the law. Read that part again, “…receive the full force of the law.” Semper Fi

  15. Keeping a gun for sport or in your home for protection is one thing, but anyone who brings a loaded firearm to a public place does so mentally prepared to kill people, and we need many more spaces where we can feel safe from this kind of threat, not just schools and government buildings.

    1. First of all, people that go to those places to do harm have no regard for ANY laws and go there because they know everyone there is unarmed which makes it an easy target.

  16. Mass. firearms laws are already tough, and some cities apply VERY strong local control by the police chief.
    Few of Will’s constituents know the details.
    Thus, their opinions are often way off-base.
    Democrats wants gun control but are WEAK on crime and talk LITTLE about these:
    . Huge smash and grabs, often by gangs of persons of color.
    . Crime in big cities, especially murder raste among single men less than age 40 of certain persons of color (that is, high % RELATIVE to their population).
    .Don’t care much, don’t say much, about sex, child & drug trafficking + criminals + gang members over the southern border.
    Belmont can be very smug and lives in a bubble.
    Watertown is only slightly less smug because they get crime from, ahem, across the Charles River.

    For supposedly intelligent, educated people, the sheer blindness is beyond stunning.
    They don’t care much about crime, and thus I believe the gun control RELIGION is more about virtue-signaling than crime.

    1. Well, here are the crime figures for Belmont as of 2019: there were a total of only six violent crimes reported that year.

      Massachusetts’ violent crime rates, since 2015, have been sustainedly and markedly lower than those of the nation as a whole:

      You can always drill down into these statistics and find some subset somewhere where crime is RISING and a THREAT. But you should also take into account that it can pay off, in ratings or in election outcomes, for politicians and TV talking heads to present a selective and distorted picture at strategic times.

      In short, on this topic as with others, we’re heavily propagandized by wealthy people and powerful organizations with a stake in making ordinary people fear and distrust one another. It’s not an accident. That’s how you end up with Mayor Adams of New York City spending $150m extra of taxpayer dollars on the NYPD to flood the subway with cops, to reduce an annual $104,000 lost to fare evasion, while shuttering public libraries because “there isn’t the money.”

  17. (a) If you read Will’s guidance on that point, this is not true. The reforms to Massachusetts law after Bruen meant that police could not deny a License To Carry on the basis that in the police’s judgment, the person did not have a need for it; but police remain able to deny a License To Carry based on the police’s judgment that the person is “unsuitable”, based on “reliable and credible information” that the individual has “engaged in behavior that suggests” that they may “create a risk to public safety.”

    (b) I’m not familiar enough with this area of law to know the precedents relating to safe storage and transportation requirements. If there are instructive rulings in this area, I’d appreciate knowing what cases they are, so I can understand for myself the parameters of what is and is not Constitutional on that topic.

  18. Assault Weapons Ban: The provision in S.2572 regarding assault weapons is deeply troubling. There is no grandfather clause for weapons possessed before the 2016 enforcement notice’s enactment. By not grandfathering existing compliant weapons post-1994, this bill effectively criminalizes law-abiding gun owners who have responsibly adhered to previous legislation. Such a measure unfairly penalizes individuals who have followed the law and could lead to unnecessary confiscation and legal ramifications.

    Removal of State Preemption: S.2572’s removal of state preemption for gun laws sets a dangerous precedent by allowing municipal or county governments to pass arbitrary and inconsistent regulations on firearms. This lack of uniformity not only creates confusion among law-abiding citizens but also undermines the fundamental principle of equal treatment under the law. It creates a patchwork of different laws that vary town to town, thus making it impossible for lawful gun owners to always know what the law is and how it applies to any instance in which they may find themselves.

  19. One thing I’m pleased with is that the live fire requirement is absent in this version. Why should someone who never plans on firing or carrying a gun or doesn’t even own any ammunition be required to demonstrate that they know how to handle one? I’m thinking of collectors, inheritances, a treasured family heirloom that someones grandfather brought back from the war, etc? There are a number of other reasons, but for now I’ll leave it at that unless it’s reintroduced in any Senate/House reconciliations over the final draft.

    What I’m troubled about though is the changed language in the Assault Weapons Ban. Not only is it unconstitutional, it’s unnecessary and burdensome. It needs to be repealed… not rewritten and adopted as interpreted by an out of control and over zealous AG.

    Fortunately we’re currently blessed with a Supreme Court that has the courage and will power to acknowledge, respect and uphold the 2’nd amendment and our right to keep and bear arms. Should this ban be heard by them, I anticipate and look forward to them overturning it along with a slew of other gun control laws enacted by the legislature.

    1. Violent criminals by definition have access to their aggression. By not having practical experience in firing one’s defense weapon, or experience in facing a hostile aggressor, aren’t they all the more likely to surrender their weapon to the menace or become bewildered and stunned by the first wild round they get off?

  20. This is much better than what the House put forth, but there are numerous issues that make this problematic. I am an 07 manufacturer with businesses in MA and NH, and am seriously considering all operations to NH as a result of the MA legislature’s attitude towards firearms holders.

    1. Without an explicit grandfathering clause, you are going to turn thousands of people into felons. Me included. We sell what would now be considered an “assault weapon” to doctors, lawyers, teachers, dentists, carpenters, stay-at-home parents – you name it. I know the House has a grandfathering clause, but your update to the Assault Weapons Ban (a weapon cannot be modified to not be made an assault weapon) means many of us would become criminals. I hope that is not the Senate’s intention. And to be clear: I am not talking about ARs. I am talking about the weapons then AG Healey listed as being acceptable to own during her infamous 2016 press conference. This needs to be rectified.

    2. During the initial assault weapons ban of 1994, the ATF oversaw what was permissible or not. MA has pointed to the 1994 legislation for some time and is no longer doing so with this Bill, so the enforcement is absolutely completely different. During the 94 AWB, you could purchase modified AK47s and ARs as long as they were made compliant by removing the cosmetic features. The firearm industry has operated this way for years. And along these lines: how do you plan on enforcing/knowing if the weapon left the factory in a compliant state?

    3. The interchangeability of parts is also problematic. Being able to accept x number of parts without specifics means the state can prosecute anyone for anything. You are bound to find interchangeable parts between “banned” and “non-banned” firearms. Small parts like springs, bolt pins, etc. can be readily used with slight modification. Guns are machines in the same way cars are.

    4. Sharing 3D printing patterns for firearms is all over the internet. Saying residents of the state can’t consume this content is not only unconstitutional and censorship, but it’s impractical. Are you planning on sending the MA state police to someone’s house in Arizona for uploading 3D schematics on Reddit? How do you plan on judging intent of purchase w/ 3D printing machines and CNC machines? Because the most popular 3D printer used in the market today for firearms isn’t marketed – or intended – for firearms.

    5. The enhanced ERPO provisions make it so that a healthcare provider can enact an ERPO for almost anything. Perhaps you and your colleagues in the Senate are unaware of the consequences this has had across the nation, including innocent people getting killed, unnecessary danger to police, etc.

    In closing: in MA, where we have the lowest rates of gun violence, and license-to-carry holders commit statistically zero crime, it’s clear these laws are partisan responses to Bruen. If I went into your office and said “We have the lowest rates of vehicular fatality in the country, and the best way to improve upon that would be to further restrict access to cars while mandating the speed limit be dropped to 45MPH on all state highways,” you would promptly tell me to leave. As you should.

  21. I haven’t finished reading this but here are some initial thoughts.

    “Assault weapons bans” You are banning the modern day musket – the AR-15. The most popular rifle in America. This is unconstitutional just like banning stun guns was. Caetano v. Massachusetts: “the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding” Banned firearms can only be banned if they are dangerous AND unusual. They are clearly not unusual.

    Feature Bans: You are banning features that help users aim more accurately such as flash suppressors – to not be blinded while firing, forward hand grips – to have better firearm stability and aim, parts that prevent injuries – a safety shroud to prevent burns from a hot barrel, and parts that are just of a historical legacy. (bayonet lugs).
    Do you want citizens using these firearms to be less accurate, blinded, and possibly hurt a bystander if they needed to use their firearm in self defense?

    We have always had the tradition of home and self made firearms for as long as this country has existed. Limiting the manufacturing of firearms to FFLs violates our rights and countries tradition. You wouldn’t limit someone’s 1st amendment rights to write a book, create a sign to only be conducted by federally licensed people.
    You also wouldn’t require them to only do so in a business zoned area – which is required for FFLs in MA – while making that license full of red tape and expenses to get. You block out small business FLLs, and financially disadvanted citizens from having the right to self defense.
    We don’t ban paper because it can be used illegally, its the act itself, for example sending a threat, that is illegal. We shouldn’t ban firearms themselves, its the act of murder or brandishing/threatening that is all that should be banned.

    Firearm serializing: If the government required every page of paper or sign someone made to have a unique federal serial number only put on by someone federally licensed in case the paper was used at some point in the future to send a death threat, people would go out of their minds. It has a chilling effect on the people exercising their rights, and is plain unconstitutional.

    Digital firearms code is unable to be shared? You are banning information itself and this is a clear 1st amendment violation. No one in their right mind would ban the sharing of information on how to make a printing press, paper or ink.

    The text of the bill says an “Unfinished frame or receiver”, can be something (ii) marketed or sold to the public to become or
    be used as the frame or receiver of a functional firearm, rifle or shotgun once completed”

    There are plain blocks of aluminum sold as 0% receivers.
    Blocks of metal would be banned with this?

    The ban of undetectable firearms is already federal law. See the Federal undetectable firearms act of 1988. Why do we need our own?

  22. While this bill is an improvement over HD4220 it is has glaring issues that will penalize citizens and fail to address the main cause of gun related crime.

    Section 3. The lack of a grandfather clause for already legally owned semiautomatic rifles that fall foul of the “2 feature test” would turn thousands of MA residents into felons the moment this bill is signed. These tools were already compliant with the AG’s interpretation of the law and obtainable through licensed dealers for years. This law goes backwards and criminalizes law abiding citizens. Which In itself is unconstitutional under Article I, Section 9, Clause 3 of the US constitution: “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.”

    “Assault weapons” were previously defined as weapons capable of select fire (semi, burst, automatic) operations. The National Firearms Act (NFA) already regulates these firearms at the federal level. The recent misclassification of these weapons as having specific physical features achieves nothing other than allowing the definition to change to meet new restrictions. The targeting of rifles specifically, ignores the data that highlights handguns as the firearm used most in gun-crimes and suicides.

    MA enjoys low gun deaths not because of its laws (NY,CA,DC, and IL already disprove this correlation) but because of its plentiful job opportunities, social programs, and world class health care. New Hampshire has access to the same opportunities and healthcare services. They also have very lax gun restrictions, and yet their gun homicide rate is lower than Massachusetts (NH:1/100k vs MA:1.6/100k). POVERTY is the primary driver of crime (and by extension gun-crime). Targeting gun owners who already have to jump through hoops to exercise their rights will do nothing to lower the gun death rate in our state. Improvements to workers rights, tax code enforcement, career opportunities, and social support systems will yield a far higher benefit.

    While I oppose both HD4220 and S2572, of the 2 bill proposed by the house and senate, I prefer the more reasonable one proposed by the senate (S2572). I implore lawmakers to amend section 3 to grandfather already legal arms. A simple date of manufacture cutoff (September 1994 which is already law) will achieve this and prevent the criminalization of thousands of law abiding Massachusetts citizens.

  23. Section 3. The lack of a grandfather clause for already legally owned semiautomatic rifles that fall foul of the “2 feature test” would turn thousands of MA residents into felons the moment this bill is signed. These tools were already compliant with the AG’s interpretation of the law and obtainable through licensed dealers for years. This law goes backwards and criminalizes law abiding citizens. Which In itself is unconstitutional under Article I, Section 9, Clause 3 of the US constitution: “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.”

    “Assault weapons” were previously defined as weapons capable of select fire (semi, burst, automatic) operations. The National Firearms Act (NFA) already regulates these firearms at the federal level. The recent misclassification of these weapons as having specific physical features achieves nothing other than allowing the definition to change to meet new restrictions. The targeting of rifles specifically, ignores the data that highlights handguns as the firearm used most in gun-crimes and suicides.

    While I oppose both HD4220 and S2572, of the 2 bill proposed by the house and senate, I prefer the more reasonable one proposed by the senate (S2572). I implore lawmakers to amend section 3 to grandfather already legal arms. A simple date of manufacture cutoff (September 1994 which is already law) will achieve this and prevent the criminalization of thousands of law abiding Massachusetts citizens.

  24. I have so many problems with this legislation that I don’t even know where to begin. Just a few examples:
    If I’m reading the bill correctly, it bans the possession and distribution of 3D printer STL files that could be used to manufacture a “ghost gun”. Wouldn’t that be a violation and infringement of our 1’st amendment rights? Nowhere do I see any grandfathering for possession of currently owned post 1994 semi-automatic firearms that were, and are still legal to posess. My understanding is that this could potentially turn law abiding gun owners into felons overnight and subject to arrest, prosecution and confiscation of firearms. It also allows law enforcement to transfer or dispose of confiscated guns under certain guidelines. Allows Licensing Authorities to use a Section 12 to determine “suitability” even if the evaluation finds nothing wrong. Nowhere do I see anything that address’s and punishes the criminals most responsible for firearms related violnce. The only ones who are being punished are the law abiding gun owners in this state.

    I could go on and on about this legislative travesty that accomplishes nothing and tramples upon our constitutional rights It needs to be filed in the trash barrel where it belongs.

  25. Bill
    I ask that you oppose passage of this bill. It is son convoluted and needs more time for open and honest public input and debate. As is it will make felons of tens of thousands of MA residents, and clog the courts. There are too many inconsistencies and gross points of overreach to call out in this type of forum. This is a horrendous dump of inaccuracies and false assumptions. I supported your cause to eliminate government overreach in other areas, please be brave here as well. Allow this the public input and time it deserves. Do not railroad this partisan bill down our throats. Massachusetts government should be better than this. Thank you.

  26. Is it possible that some folks who possess “the forbidden books” of 3d printer files are tinkerers be tinkerers and CAD students and engineers interested in understanding modern firearm production and improving designs learning and innovating products to submit for patent? This comes down to intent.

  27. I certainly don’t want there to be loopholes for criminals to exploit, but I also don’t want the pathologies of society and our reactions to them to dilute our liberties and values and excuse us from tackling the roots of violence and treating the mentally ill.

  28. What is the purpose and utility of the 2nd Amendment today?

    Arms for hunting? Personal protection? Is it just the principle? Opposing the government when the consent of the governed is revoked? Or, does the Second Amendment even require, or beg the enumeration of “whys,” it just is. Is the Second Amendment meant to be a spur to never let us get near the conditions to appeal to it?

    What is a “well-regulated militia,” and regulated by whom?

    How can the people with a right to bear arms even muster a fight against a government which no longer has the consent of the governed?

    What marks that loss of consent?

    Our Founding Fathers were nothing if not alive to the profound and great changes happening in every sphere of existence. To argue that when they wrote the 2nd Amendment they thought arms technology would not progress is questionable. Sure they couldn’t envision specifically an AR-15 per se and the the wounds they saw didn’t include explosive cavitation of high-powered rifle rounds that transfers energy to the body more akin to a 3-inch ordinance rifle (I didn’t work the equation), but I imagine the expectation was that the protection of the Amendment would keep apace with technology and with King George’s arms and the arms of any future threats to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of property (and happiness,”) “or whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these ends” related in the Declaration of Independence and to the gifts of liberty given by God (or, if you prefer, our highest ideals and love of mankind and other democratic revolutionary struggles and our civilization) enshrined in our Constitution and which a democratic, constitutional republic affords us.

    1. Oops. The 3”- ordinance rife was the Civil War.

      A modern rifle can’t do to a fort wall, or a ship what a Revolutionary War era cannon can, but I imagine if you put one man with an Ar-15 among a line of infantry with muskets, or in other forms of fighting in that era, they would be on par with the arithmetic of cannons.

  29. I can see myself voting for a MA politician who voted yes to putting laws on the books to close loopholes around: auto-sears and ghost guns, but sour a bit on end-runs on legal weapons like bans on forward grips &c.


    I’m a life-long Democrat and my starry-eyed first vote was for WJC and with the exception of going unenrolled at the prospect of voting for Hillary Superpredator Clinton I still put a clothespin on my nose and voted for her out of fear.

    Today I’m reminded how breathtakingly corrupt Massachusetts can be and how the so called Democratic Party has lost its mind.

  31. The Second Amendment is about more than arms it’s a bellwether for the erosion of rights and democracy.

  32. In spite of previous gun bans I’m concerned that this is unconstitutional.

    The Founders gave us a Second Amendment for a reason. Some things are sacred and with media being monopolized into the hands and fewer and fewer entities and the broadcast spectrum getting auctioned off (possession is 9/10 of the law) and every person and organization and politician being dependent on X and Facebook and TikTok to be the air that we breathe making these companies the arbiter and mint of truth, ourgreatest commodity is our Constitution, our values and integrated communities.

  33. Guns are not the problem, polarizing wedge issues, profiting off division and societal issues are the problem.

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