State lawmakers tighten up gun laws

Last year, Vineyarders joined the nation in rallying against gun violence. —Louise O'Donnnell

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.


  1. In the course of these new gun policies, was any consideration given to how MA police departments are irresponsibly storing their firearms?
    Our own Oak Bluffs and Tisbury police departments appear to lose their guns more frequently than Trump loses court cases.

    • Wow, James– Given the number of court
      cases trump has lost in the last 3 years,
      I think that is a bit of an exaggeration.
      I can only recall one case inV.H
      and one in OB by police.
      And there was the one of the woman
      in the Black Dog
      So, 1 for V.H pd , one for O.B pd and
      one average citizen.
      trump has lost hundreds of cases.
      He has a 93 % loss rate, by the way.
      Including at the supreme court, who he
      thought he had in his pocket.
      If that percentage of losses holds up,
      He will soon have a jumpsuit to match his
      skin and hair color for a long time.
      I won’t mind at all if I am on the hook
      for buying him an appropriate wardrobe.

  2. prohibit places for firearms
    make sure there are serial numbers on them (whoopie do)
    red flag law (which already has done nothing)
    cant use it if under the influence (ya think?)
    STILL NOTHING ABOUT HAVING TO USE AN AR15 to shoot (anything)

    WTF GOOD IS ANY OF THIS???????????????????
    these pathetic laws are already in place and do nothing….. so they want to enforce them? or make them a lil harder??
    wait until one of the senators or governors or presidents or mayor’s child is shot….. then it will be important
    this is totally useless…..

    • Dolores– If the guy who killed 18
      people in Maine had lived in
      Ma. He would have had his guns temporarily
      confiscated.He may have received more help
      for his obvious mental illness.
      Which is the problem of course.
      There is a reason why Ma. has the lowest
      rate of gun violence in the country.
      Yes, much more needs to be done,
      especially banning assault weapons.
      But there is a wall made out of “thick as a brick”
      minds standing in the way of real reform.
      In the meantime, progress needs to be measured
      in baby steps.
      This law is just a baby step, but it might help
      in some small way. If one senseless death is
      avoided it’s worth it.

  3. We need to ban assault weapons and high magazine ammo. You can’t shoot a deer with an assault weapon only humans.

    • Sorry.Julie– You certainly can shoot a deer or a rabbit
      or a turkey with an assault weapon. The bullets don’t care
      what they hit.

    • Can’t shoot a deer with an assault weapon? Umm pretty sure you can. AR15 are legal to hunt with in most states, free ones anyway. Surprised you didn’t look it up at least?

    • Actually, the most common size round for AR 15’s is .223, which is a popular hunting round. Many people in other states DO hunt with them. Also in .308….also, what does “high magazine ammo” mean??

  4. To be clear, I don’t profess to have the answer to the violence perpetrated against innocent civilians but banning “assault rifles” is like trying to ban cars that can drive over 65mph.

    First of all, assault rifles as defined by law are already banned for civilians. The common sporting rifle that is often referred to as an assault weapon is a semi automatic rifle dressed up to look like an assault rifle. Nothing more. The new law looks to ban cosmetics on firearms and will do nothing to change the firepower of these rifles. It’s basically banning the pistol grip on the stock that a shooter holds on to.

    I would have more respect for politicians if they would just come out and say we want to confiscate all semiautomatic firearms. Make that your argument. But they won’t. They know too many people are clinging to their guns because they have not done their jobs protecting us from violent criminals.

    See the attached old story but gives a pretty good explanation of what is proposed and why it won’t do a thing to stop mass murder with firearms.

    And here is another link showing how changing a stock and not the mechanics will turn a legal gun into an illegal gun simply by changing how it looks.

    Until lawmakers who actually understand firearms, are willing to enforce ALL laws on the books, our violent society will never change. Something has changed in the last 25 years in our society that makes some people think solving problems with violence is ok.

    I’ll give up my right to self protection when the government can guarantee my safety.

  5. I don’t remember how many people have gone out and bought a car for the express purpose of using it to kill as many people as he can. So the idea of banning cars is a ridiculous argument. Assault rifles; different story. People buy them all the time for the express purpose of using them to slaughter as many as possible.

    • People ALSO buy them for the express purpose of protecting their home and family…..ask anyone that survived hurricane Katrina the value of the ability to exercise your 2nd amendment right.

    • Chip, I didn’t propose banning automobiles. I was drawing a parallel how ridiculous it would be to try and ban both.

      And yes chip there are numerous cases of people using an automobile for the express purpose of killing people. There was a Christmas parade that was run down someone purposely driving over them trying to kill them

      Again, please research what an assault rifle is. It’s already banned. The rifle that many people want to ban has several lawful uses and it’s not meant for the express purpose of slaughtering people. Hunting, self defense, sport shooting to name a few.

      If our military was issued the weapons that we are trying to ban we wouldn’t stand a chance against the most rudimentary military.

      I would caution anyone who thinks that we should simply allow the common hunting rifle be the only rifle sold. This rifle is more lethal and more accurate than a civilian AR 15. And would soon be referred to as the military sniper rifle that some would immediately call for its demise.

      Lastly according to the latest FBI uniform crime reports there are more people killed with hands and feet than from what you refer to as assault rifles. We have a crime problem not a gun problem but thats an entirely different topic.

  6. Chip, thank you for your comment and I sincerely got me thinking about the gun/car comparison and you’re correct. The comparison doesn’t work because both the gun and the car can’t kill on their own. So it got me to think a bit more about this problem.

    Banning guns to stop violence used with a gun often triggers a the counter argument of well let’s ban automobiles because of the high number of deaths attributed to them. The gun grabbers counter with the only thing a gun is used for is to kill people. I don’t agree but fine. So if that is your moral standard then let’s ban alcohol.

    It’s estimated that over 140,000 people die from alcohol every year according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (.gov) › features › ex…Deaths from Excessive Alcohol Use in the United States and that does not include drunk driving which adds another 13,000 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (.gov) › risky-drivingDrunk Driving | Statistics and Resources totaling 170,000 lives lost to drinking.

    Contrast that to 48,000 gun deaths US gun deaths – USAFacts and only 455 of those deaths were by rifles. Yes, 455 deaths attributed to the “weapon of war” AR 15 “assault rifle” “machine gun”. Austin American-Statesmanwww.statesman.comFBI data on deaths by ‘hands, fists, feet’ versus rifles

    To further conflate the violence problem 40 percent of violent murders were done by people who were drinking Addiction Center › …Alcohol-Related Crime just think we could decrease “gun violence” by 40% simply by banning alcohol.

    And people on MV don’t really have to worry about all this “gun violence” since most of it is disproportionately in black poor communities Gun Violence Disproportionately and Overwhelmingly Hurts Communities of Color – Center for American Progress. I think we can agree that alcohol is a leading problem in these communities too.

    You think the NRA is bad, look at the liquor lobby. I get that liberals don’t like guns but I don’t like drunks. So if we are going to ban guns let’s ban alcohol too, even though the majority of drinkers and gun owners are overwhelmingly responsible with their vices. Morals can be a tough thing so until we all have them I’ll keep my right to defend myself from all the immoral people.

    Thanks again Chip, I really learned a lot doing this research and I hope other will benefit from it too.


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