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NEW: Gov. Patrick Files Gun Safety Legislation

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

 

Following the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school last month, Governor Deval Patrick will file new gun safety legislation on Wednesday that will enhance background checks, close loopholes in the licensing process, reduce access to high-powered ammunition and prevent the illegal possession of firearms.

The Governor's fiscal year 2014 budget will also include a $5 million increase for the state's Department of Mental Health to bolster programs that increase public awareness of avaialable mental health treatment.

“Both proactively, and in the wake of too many tragedies, I have filed legislation to tackle the problem of gun violence and illegal firearm possession. Today, we do so again along with an important investment in mental health programs. Mental illness is a disease that can be treated, and our communities are safer when the appropriate services and supports are available for people in need,” said Patrick. “I am encouraged by the palpable consensus in our Legislature that the time for action is now. All of us must pull in the same direction to bring about real change in this state and across the country.”

The ehanced background checks, which will be in compliance with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), would require the state's courts to transmit relevant mental health records to the criminal justice information system so they can be included in a national registry that all states access prior to issuing gun licenses.

To close an existing loophole, gun purchasers would be required to undergo background checks at gun shows.

Patrick is also seeking to limit the number of weapon sales by licensed dealers to one per licensed individual each month.

“Far too often, we are faced with grieving horrific and tragic losses of innocent lives,” said Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray. “We owe it to all neighborhoods and communities to enact stronger and more responsible controls by strengthening firearm legislation in the Commonwealth. At the same time, we need to ensure that children, young adults and all residents in need have access to effective mental health services and treatment.”

 

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