MA Legislators Mull New Gun Restrictions

Massachusetts lawmakers are weighing tougher gun control measures.   State Representative David Linsky, a Natick Democrat and former prosecutor, says he plans to file a comprehensive bill to end gun violence by mid-January.

“Obviously the Federal government needs to take action,  the Federal government needs an assault weapons ban and to close the gun show loopholes.  But we as lawmakers in Massachusetts have the responsibility to do the best we possibly can in Massachusetts and there’s a lot we can do as well.”

Linksy spoke with reporters after hosting a crowded, closed door meeting with more than 100 lawmakers from both parties.  He says they were hashing out different ideas about ways to prevent gun violence. One new idea to emerge from the meeting is requiring gun owners to buy liability insurance, just like car owners:

“You need liability insurance to drive a car in Massachusetts in case you get into an accident.  Maybe you need liability insurance if the gun gets used and casuses an accident to someone.”

The idea is that people most likely to commit a gun crime would be charged high rates, in the hopes of discouraging gun ownership. Linsky says lawmakers also talked about a policy in Hawaii, where those seeking gun permits must sign mental health waivers to give Chiefs of Police permission to obtain mental health records from their doctors. Governor Deval Patrick says all ideas should be on the table:

“Look we have got to figure out a way to have both a robust a system of car for people who are suffering from mental health issues and to insure that information is available to those selling guns so we can keep them out of the wrong hands.”

Patrick has already proposed limiting gun purchases to one per month to stop straw purchasers or traffickers who buy a lot of cheap handguns to sell on the streets.  Both House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray listed addressing gun violence as a top priority in the new legislative session.