Gov. Baker gets 'red flag' bill that he 'conceptually' favors

Lawmakers on Thursday signed off on "red flag" legislation allowing courts to suspend the gun license of someone deemed to be a danger, sending the bill to the desk of a governor who has said he "conceptually" backs the idea.

The bill (H 4670), which also requires stun guns to be regulated like firearms, was approved on a 131-15 vote in the House and a 36-1 vote in the Senate.

It allows family or household members to petition the court for an extreme risk protection order if they believe someone poses a risk of bodily injury to themselves or others. If a judge grants the order, the respondent would need to immediately surrender their license to carry, firearm identification card, and all firearms, rifles, shotguns, machine guns, weapons and ammunition.

"I have said since this debate began that we are conceptually in favor of this concept and this notion and this sort of a law, and I think it actually builds on in many ways some of the the more important and successful elements of the gun laws we have in Massachusetts already," Gov. Charlie Baker said during a June 8 WBUR interview.

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr said the final bill included due process protections and provisions to make clear that the subject of an ERPO would not permanently lose ownership rights to their guns and to require information about mental health treatment be distributed to both the petitioner and the respondent.

Rep. Paul Frost, an Auburn Republican, spoke against the bill, which he said only considered one tool someone could use to harm others if they were committed to doing so. He said the ERPO process would only identify someone as a danger and then send them home.


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