By Bob Katzen
Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law the bill that allows 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.
“Massachusetts continues to lead the nation with the lowest gun fatality rates and the most sensible gun laws,” said Rep. Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge), the sponsor of the bill. “This is yet one more step in ensuring that people have an additional avenue to help protect themselves and their family members when harm is apparent and imminent.”
“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.”
“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,” said Rep. Hal Naughton (D-Clinton). “I believe we have managed to strike a critical balance between public safety and due process. I am incredibly proud to have been able to play a small part in crafting a policy that I firmly believe will save lives.”
The Gun Owner’s Action League (GOAL) called the governor “Anti Freedom Baker.” “Reminder, in addition to signing a bill which revokes due process only for licensed gun owners, Gov. Baker will also be authorizing regulation of stun guns,” the group tweeted. “These are sold over the counter in a vast majority of countries with no issues.”