Mass police chiefs upset Senate bill limits their power to regulate guns

by Neal Simpson, The Patriot Ledger  |  published on July 23, 2014

BOSTON – Police chiefs, lawmakers and gun rights advocates are facing off over legislation that would give local chiefs the power to decide who in their community is “suitable” to possess rifles and shotguns.

Massachusetts police chiefs have long had wide discretion in handing out licenses for handguns, but a provision in a gun control bill on Beacon Hill would expand that authority to include non-large capacity long guns as well. The change is widely supported by the law enforcement community, but the two chambers of the Legislature are at odds over it, with the House in support and the Senate opposed.

Police chiefs from across the state lined up on the stairs of the State House on Tuesday to rail against the Senate for stripping the provision from it’s version of the bill, with Boston Police Commissioner William Evans saying he was “really disappointed” with the body.

“No one knows more than us how important it is to control guns that go in the hands of people who aren’t suitable to have (them),” he said.

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