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Massachusetts Senate Votes Sweeping Gun Bill to Fight Ghost Guns and Assault Weapons

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The Massachusetts Senate approved a sweeping gun bill Thursday aimed at cracking down on “ghost guns” and toughening the state’s prohibition on assault weapons. The bill also outlaws devices that convert semi automatic firearms into fully automatic machine guns.

The Senate approved the bill on a 37-3 vote as part of the state’s response to a 2022 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The ruling affirmed citizens’ right to carry firearms in public for self-defense. Supporters of the legislation argue that it would enhance resident safety and potentially save lives by reforming firearm regulations in the state.

Democratic Senate President Karen Spilka praised the Senate’s action on gun violence. He further emphasized the importance of protecting residents, modernizing laws, and supporting communities affected by unnecessary violence.

Regarding ghost guns, the bill aims to enhance oversight for individuals possessing privately made, unserialized firearms, which are often untraceable. In 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice documented the recovery of 25,785 ghost guns in domestic seizures, underscoring the need for measures to address their proliferation.

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The Senate bill proposes outlawing devices like Glock switches and trigger activators, which convert semi automatic firearms into fully automatic machine guns.

Additionally, the legislation mandates annual inspections for gun dealers, empowering the Massachusetts State Police to conduct inspections if local licensing agencies are unable or unwilling to do so.

The bill would prohibit carrying firearms in government administrative buildings and compel courts to order the surrender of firearms by individuals subject to harassment protection orders deemed an immediate threat.

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It also aims to prevent the marketing of unlawful firearm sales to minors and establish a criminal charge for deliberately firing a gun at a dwelling. In October, the Massachusetts House passed a separate gun bill targeting stricter firearm regulations, addressing concerns over ghost guns.

Jim Wallace, executive director of the Gun Owners’ Action League, expressed disappointment. He is advocating for a separate public hearing due to significant discrepancies between the Senate and House versions of the bill.

ALSO READ: “He Wasn’t Supposed to Be Home,” Friends of Man Killed By Gunman Dressed as UPS Worker Say

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“There’s a lot of new stuff, industry stuff, machine gun stuff, definitions that are weird so that’s why the (Senate) bill should have gone to a separate hearing,” he said. “The Senate’s moving theirs pretty darn fast and we keep asking what’s the rush?” Meanwhile, the group Stop Handgun Violence commended the Senate for its actions.

In a statement, Stop Handgun Violence founder John Rosenthal emphasized that the bill dramatically enhances current gun safety laws in Massachusetts. It aims to close dangerous loopholes and make it harder for legally prohibited gun buyers to access firearms without detection by law enforcement.

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