Massachusetts House Speaker Robert Deleo unveiled a bill Tuesday that imposes stricter regulations on gun use and ownership.
Massachusetts already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country but Speaker Deleo says they can still be tougher.
“In the face of continued absence of federal leadership, leaders in state government have to step up wherever we can,” DeLeo says.
Right now, police chiefs can deny someone a license to carry a handgun, even if the person passes a background check. The bill would give police the same discretion when it comes to rifles and shotguns.
Jim Wallace of the Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts says local law enforcement should not be given even greater power to deny licenses.
“Most people don’t understand why they can be denied when they’ve never been convicted of anything, don’t have records of mental health issues. But they can simply be denied or restricted by a local chief if they happen to not like them or whatever it may be,” says Wallace. “To expand that is simply unconscionable.”
Massachusetts lawmakers only have two months to pass the bill before the end of the session in July. Deleo says he’s confident the Democratically controlled Senate and the governor are on board with the legislation.