By Bob Katzen

The House gave initial approval to a proposal that would impose up to a five-year prison sentence and/or $10,000 fine on anyone who discharges an assault weapon, firearm, large capacity weapon, machine gun, rifle, sawed-off shotgun or shotgun into a dwelling. Under current law this crime is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a 30-day jail sentence and/or $100 fine.

“I filed this legislation to create a criminal penalty for shooting into a house or building because at that time there was a string of shootings into houses in Lowell and I discovered that our police department did not have the necessary tools to enforce the law,” said co-sponsor Rep. Rady Mom (D-Lowell).

“I am very pleased that we are moving forward in making what was a misdemeanor, a felony,” said co-sponsor Rep. Colleen Gary (D-Lowell). Individuals firing guns at a residential home can kill the residents inside. It is not just shooting at an inanimate object. People should be able to feel safe in their own homes.”

Supporters also said that under current law the punishment is disproportionate to the severity of this type of incident. They noted this crime, primarily committed by gang members, is often used as an intimidation tactic without regard for the innocent people in the home.

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