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Massachusetts Gun Laws May Get Tighter

By Joe Shortsleeve, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Joe Shortsleeve Joe Shortsleeve
Joe Shortsleeve is chief correspondent for WBZ-TV News weekdays a...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Across the country Monday, leaders like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Senator Harry Reid called for new gun laws. But the White House admits it is a complex issue that will not be fixed with just one law. A Massachusetts lawmaker is promising to bring the debate to Beacon Hill as soon as he can.

Representative David Linsky of Natick says “peoples’ moods have changed on this issue. They are fed up and they will not take it anymore.”

Linsky says he will introduce legislation in January that will tighten up Massachusetts gun laws.

While current state law supposedly bans assault weapons, he says the truth is, it really doesn’t.

“There are a lot of holes in Massachusetts gun laws. The weapon that was used in the Connecticut shootings can be legally possessed in Massachusetts. People don’t want that anymore.”

Despite some loop holes in state laws Massachusetts gun laws are still among the toughest in the country. One reason: local police chiefs have a great deal of discretion when it comes to issuing a permit.

Wayne Sampson is the executive Director of the Massachusetts Police Chief’s Association.

“We make a determination based the information we find whether the person is suitable to have a firearms license.”

He says local police chiefs provide unique insight when it comes to handing out permits.

“We may know something about the applicant that does not show up on any criminal background check anywhere.”

John Rosenthal is the founder of Stop Hand Gun Violence. He owns the billboard which hangs over the Mass Pike. He says real change will only come when there is one uniform national gun law.

“We tell criminals and the mentally ill ‘just buy an assault rifle with a one hundred round clip’ no ID or background check required in 33 states or 5000 gun shows, that is insane public policy,” he says.

Rosenthal says Massachusetts has the lowest firearm fatality rate of any state, proving gun laws can work.

We reached out to several gun shop owners today but none wanted to talk on camera.

Governor Patrick said today he has proposed additional strategies and enhancements such as limiting the number of guns that can be purchased in any given month, creating new crimes for assaults committed with guns.

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