'Red Flag' Gun Bill Passed In MA House

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- The Massachusetts House voted Wednesday to allow courts to take guns from gun owners who are deemed a threat.

The so-called "Red Flag" bill passed 139-14, but amendments to increase the standard of proof before a judge can take away Second Amendment rights--as well as efforts to focus on mental health--did not succeed.

"You can pretend that we're not talking about a bill about mental health, but this has everything to do with mental health," Republican Rep. Shaunna O'Connel of Taunton said.

Jim Wallace of the Gun Owner's Action League was among the opponents of the bill dissapointed that an opportunity was missed to focus on mental health and suicide.

"It was pretty obvious that they had no intention of doing anything around mental health, and it just turned into a gun confiscation bill," he said.

Democratic Rep. Harold Naughton of Clinton argued that adding a mental health evaluation would go too far.

"To impose such a requirement on both the police department, the court, and the respondent would actually help to enhance the stigmatization of mental health issues," he said.

Democratic Rep. David Linskey spoke in praise of the bill.

"Thoughts and prayers don't stop gun violence," he said. "Moments of silence don't stop gun violence."

The Senate gets the bill next; aides to Gov. Charlie Baker suggest he's likely to sign the measure if it gets to his desk.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker reports

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