The House (122-30), Senate (37-3) approved and sent to Gov. Deval Patrick a bill making changes in the state's gun laws.
A key provision establishes a standardized process for determining the suitability of individuals applying for a Firearms Identification (FID) card. If the local police chief determines an individual is unsuitable for an FID card, the chief is required to file a written petition in court that will ultimately determine the applicant's suitability. A determination of unsuitability must be based on reliable, articulable and credible information that the applicant could potentially create a risk to public safety.
Other provisions require gun dealers to obtain a CORI criminal background check for prospective employees; increase the fine for failure to report a lost or stolen firearm; require school districts to develop plans to address the mental health needs of their students; require at least two hours of suicide awareness and prevention training every three years for all licensed school personnel; increase the penalty for carrying a firearm on school grounds; and allow the purchase of self-defense sprays like Mace and pepper spray without a license. Massachusetts is the only state that requires an FID Card to carry these sprays.
Supporters said this comprehensive proposal is a well-balanced update of current gun laws that will protect the fundamental right to bear arms while taking action to eliminate firearm violence.
Opponents said the bill goes too far by infringing on the rights of lawful gun owners and imposing unfunded mandates on schools.
Local legislators concurred with the bill and joined in voting in favor.