BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill Tuesday that will allow for the temporary removal of firearms from people considered a danger to themselves or others.
It was a group effort years in the making to get the “red flag” bill signed. Those who have lost loved ones believe it’s a step in a very necessary direction.
Shannon Lowney was 25 years old when she was gunned down while working at a Brookline Planned Parenthood in 1994.
Gail Erdos says there’s not a day she doesn’t think about her.
“She was murdered at her workplace by someone who absolutely should not have had his hands on a gun,” she said.
To witness Baker sign the red flag bill meant a lot to not only Erdos but dozens more in the room.
“This means now you have the most direct route to a judge to say ‘I believe someone in my home is going to hurt themselves or others, will you help them?’ This will separate somebody from their guns, their ammunition and their license for up to a year. This bill will save lives,” Marjorie Decker explained.
But the terms of the bill have others concerned.
“Why would you just take their gun away and send them home with a pamphlet on mental health? On the other hand, if you are really trying to identify the next monster who will attack our children, why would you simply take their legal gun away and set them free?” Jim Wallace said.
The bill does put Massachusetts at the top when it comes to gun safety laws in the country.
“Massachusetts’ gun laws are a model for the nation, and creating an additional pathway to keep guns away from people unfit to possess them will make our laws even stronger,” Baker said in a statement. “This law creates a responsible way to help prevent gun deaths and suicides while protecting individuals’ second amendment rights.”
The measure lets a relative or someone else with close ties to a legal gun owner petition a court for a 12-month extreme risk protection order if the individual was exhibiting dangerous or unstable behavior.
A person subject to such an order could appeal the decision.
The bill also creates a licensing procedure for stun guns in Massachusetts after the state’s highest court ruled a blanket ban on the devices was unconstitutional.
The new law makes Gracie Thompson, a high school student who has been pushing for change since the Parkland shooting, feel much better.
“We’ve been kind of in the back of our minds scared of what could happen,” Thompson said.
“We not only want to be the safest in the country… we want to be the safest place in the world,” House Speaker Robert DeLeo added.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)