BOSTON (WWLP) – House Democrats held a hearing on their overhaul of the state’s firearms laws Tuesday. It was held inside the Gardner Auditorium, the State House’s largest hearing room, a sign of the interest the bill is drawing from gun owners and violence prevention advocates.
Just last week, the House released an updated gun bill, and Tuesday in front of a packed room, a joint hearing was held where those for and against the bill had a chance to be heard. Representative Michael Day filed the revised version of the bill late last week, giving legislators and the public one business day to review over 100 pages of gun legislation.
Like an earlier version of the bill, the bill seeks to rein in untraceable guns, update the state’s assault weapon ban and limit guns in certain public places.
Representatives from the Black and Latino Caucus, including Rep. Bud Williams and Rep. Carlos González, testified in support of the bill.
“We’re here to protect the lives of innocent bystanders like in the city of Holyoke, and the high incidents of crime particularly in communities, urban areas, particularly communities of color and I think it’s demanding that as legislators we try to do everything possible to make sure that we can curtail gun violence and illegal use of guns,” said Rep. González.
Executive Director of the Gun Owners’ Action League Jim Wallace called the bill an attack on civil rights, “It’s literally the greatest attack on civil rights by a legislature in our modern time, we’ve never seen anything like this… You’re about to enter a time where 600,000 gun owners have had enough. If this passes, they’re not even going to try to follow the laws.”
Last week, Senate President Karen Spilka said that the Senate will review the new House bill, but that the Senate is working on their own gun safety bill.
If you would like to submit testimony on the House bill, you can submit that via email by Friday at 5:00 p.m. to AnActmodernizingfirearmlaws@mahouse.gov.