SENATE PUTS RED FLAG ON GUNS

By Bob Katzen

The House 133-15, Senate 36-1, approved and sent to Gov. Charlie Baker the conference committee version of the bill that would allow family or household members to petition the courts to issue an extreme risk protection order (ERPO) that would suspend a person’s license to carry a firearm and order him or her to surrender his or her firearms and ammunition if he or she is believed to be a danger to themselves or others.

“I sleep well at night knowing this bill continues to ensure that Massachusetts is doing everything it can to lead the nation with common sense gun legislation that we know will save lives,” said Rep. Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge), the sponsor of the bill.

“Disappointingly, this bill did not address the issue of mental health,” said Rep. Shaunna O’Connell (R-Taunton). “This overly vague bill not only strips people of their civil rights, but it gives the public a false sense of security. More worrisome is that this legislation grants more authority to judges at a time we are learning there needs to be accountability for judges and their sentencing. We need to protect the public while protecting our rights as an individual.”

”We have continued to be a leader in the nation in preventing gun violence and enhancing the quality of life in the commonwealth,” said Rep. Hal Naughton (D-Clinton). “This legislation provides a tool for families to protect loved ones from harming themselves or others by preventing them from accessing a firearm in a crisis. I believe we have also managed to strike a critical balance between public safety and due process.”

“There is nothing in this bill that is about protecting the children or going after ‘extreme risk’ individuals, said Sen. Dean Tran (R-Fitchburg). “Rather it provides a way for frivolous petitions filed against law abiding firearm owners and not holding false accusers accountable. This bill can ruin an innocent person’s life and no one would be held responsible.”

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