BOSTON (CBS) – Dozens of people packed a hearing room at the Massachusetts State House Wednesday as lawmakers heard hours of testimony on gun-related legislation.
One bill (H.2039) would allow police to trace guns used to commit crimes by creating a weapons database. Boston Police Commissioner William Gross says it can be used as a tool to solve homicides beyond city limits.
“If a crime happens in Worcester, then in Brockton and then in Boston – and the ballistics match – that will help every one of these cities and towns facilitate an investigation,” said Gross.
Several pro-gun advocates testified that they feel as if their right to bear arms is under attack.
“Your job is to protect those rights and I don’t see that happening,” said Galen Miller.
One proposal would mandate universal background checks on private gun sales (H.2092) – requiring those sales to be done through a registered gun dealer.
The Massachusetts chapter of the National Rifle Association (NRA) tells us many of these bills target lawful gun owners, instead of the criminals.
“Stop putting mandates on us and start worrying about what’s happening in the city streets,” said Jim Wallace of the Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts.
This scheduled hearing comes weeks after mass shootings in both Texas and Ohio, among others.
Some Massachusetts lawmakers say even though the state has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, more has to be done to get illegal firearms off the streets.
“We need to understand where these guns are coming from if we’re going to be a state that continues to lead in gun safety,” said Rep. Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge).