NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 14, 2013

Anti-violence group wraps up work on new study

(Continued)

Rep. Hank Naughton, a Clinton Democrat and House chairman of the Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, has the various gun bills in his committee and plans to release legislation supported by the committee, though the panel is waiting on the task force to complete its report.

McDevitt said he had seen the legislation Naughton is developing, which has not been released from committee, and said the task force includes gun owners and people who want to limit gun access and he will attempt to bring both sides to agreement on all the recommendations.

“I’ve never met with them so I really don’t have much to base an opinion on,” said Gun Owners Action League Executive Director Jim Wallace, when asked about the task force. He told the News Service a board member of GOAL spoke with the task force for less than an hour in September.

Wallace said the gun laws in Massachusetts need to “reflect and respect the rights of lawful gun owners,” deal with the criminals themselves and address mental health. GOAL is “fully supportive” of complying with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, Wallace said.

The system collects data on people who have been involuntarily committed to an institution for use in gun sale background checks. Wallace said a NICS compliance law is on the books in Massachusetts but there are some technical problems with the language so data is not being exchanged.

McDevitt discussed a need he heard from police officials to focus services not only on youth who have become involved in violence, but also their families, which he said are often “dysfunctional.” He said gun owners have described a re-licensure process that drags out “too long,” so that gun owners are technically not in legal possession of firearms while they await license renewal.

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