Massachusetts has tough gun laws, fewer domestic killings
BOSTON — Massachusetts has some of the toughest gun laws in the country and relatively few fatal domestic violence shootings of states with similar populations. Here's a look at the number of killings and the laws meant to help curb the violence in the state:
Women at risk
Women are far more likely to be the victims of fatal domestic violence shootings, according to FBI statistics.
Of such 31 killings in Massachusetts from 2006 to 2014, only two were men — both husbands.
Of the remaining 29, 14 were girlfriends, 11 were wives, three were former wives and one was a common-law wife.
2007 was the deadliest year during the time period, with 11 gun-related domestic violence killings reported in Massachusetts, twice as many as any other year.
Massachusetts vs. other states
Massachusetts, with some of the country's toughest gun laws, has far fewer gun-related domestic violence killings compared to states of a similar size.
Arizona, for example, had nearly the same population as Massachusetts in 2014 — about 6.7 million — and reported 201 gun-related domestic violence killings from 2006 to 2014.
That's more than six times as many as the 31 killings in Massachusetts.
Tennessee, another state with nearly the same population as Massachusetts — about 6.5 million — recorded 258 gun-related domestic violence killings during the same time period. That's eight times as many as in Massachusetts.
Gun rules for domestic abusers
Massachusetts has relatively strict laws when it comes to keeping guns away from those accused of abuse.
Judges are required to order the surrender of all "firearms, rifles, shotguns, machine guns and ammunition" when issuing a domestic abuse restraining order.
Accused people are also required to surrender their license to carry firearms or firearms identification cards. The order can be appealed.
Violations are punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, 2 1/2 years in jail, or both.
Tough gun laws
Following the 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Massachusetts lawmakers began work to overhaul the state's gun laws.
The 2014 law stiffened penalties for some gun-based crimes, allowed for real-time background checks in private gun sales and created a firearms trafficking unit within the state police.
It also gave police chiefs the right to go to court to try to deny firearms identification cards needed to buy rifles or shotguns to people they felt were unsuitable to have access to the weapon.
Chiefs can also deny licenses to carry but are required to give written reasons why.
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