A week prior to the fatal mass shooting that claimed 18 lives in Maine, Massachusetts house lawmakers successfully passed a bill fortifying existing gun laws throughout the commonwealth.
Despite Massachusetts already having the lowest rate of gun violence in the country, state representatives voted in support of An Act Modernizing Firearm Laws, which is a bill seeking to strengthen current laws and close existing loopholes.
The legislation would prohibit all firearms from public spaces like schools, government buildings, and polling locations during elections; it would require that there be serial numbers on all firearms to avoid the prevalence of untraceable “ghost guns,” and it would expand red flag laws by allowing employers, school administrators, and licensed medical professionals to file an extreme risk protective order (ERPO) for those who pose a danger to themselves or others.
The bill, H.4135, also sets a legal blood alcohol content limit for using firearms and adopts an updated list of prohibited weapons.
“Gun violence is a uniquely American tragedy and embarrassment,” Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, said in a statement. “Firearms are the leading cause of death for children in America, and our gun violence rates are five times higher than the next peer country. You cannot legislate away all violence and evil. But it is unquestionable that good gun laws save lives.”
The Massachusetts Senate will now have to come up with its own gun bill before the governor signs anything into law.