Local News
3:36 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Police Argue For More Control Over Rifle, Shotgun Licenses

  Chiefs of police are urging Massachusetts lawmakers to restore a provision to a gun bill that they say could keep rifles out of the hands of dangerous people. 

State House Dome
The Massachusetts State House dome.
Credit Fogster
Right now, police can deny someone a license to carry a handgun – even if the person passes a background check. 

The Massachusetts House voted to give police the same discretion when it comes to licenses for rifles and shotguns. But the senate stripped that section out of the bill and gun control advocates are furious.

  At a State House rally on Tuesday, Wellesley chief of police Terry Cunningham said under the current law, someone denied a handgun license can apply for a rifle license the next day, and the chief must issue it.

  “Are people really going to be any less dead if they are killed with a rifle or shotgun than a handgun,” Cunningham asked. 

  But police have a history of arbitrarily denying handgun licenses, said Jim Wallace with the Gun Owners Action League, the state chapter of the NRA. 

 "People who are abusing a policy, asking to expand that policy, asking for an expansion of that policy is just a little atrocious, really," Wallace said.  

 House and Senate lawmakers now head to a conference committee, where this argument could derail the bill altogether.