Gun Bills Finally Going Up For Public Hearing

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BOSTON (State House News Service— Lawmakers are interrupting their session-long push for new gun laws to finally give the public a chance to weigh in on a series of bills.

Senate Democrats plan in the new year to unveil and debate a bill they want to put on Gov. Maura Healey's desk this term, and the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday on firearms bills that have been idling all year.

The committee, chaired by Rep. Carlos Gonzalez of Springfield and Sen. Walter Timilty of Milton, plans to gather in Gardner Auditorium to accept testimony on 56 gun-related bills.

House and Senate Democrats spent months this year at odds over whether to involve the Public Safety Committee in the review of a bill authored by Judiciary Committee Co-chair Rep. Michael Day of Stoneham, a top deputy to Speaker Ron Mariano.

The House ultimately circumvented the joint committee process and approved Day's controversial legislation 120-38 in October. That bill cleared the House the day after a single, lengthy hearing on it hosted only by representatives without any senators present.

Senators have also been assembling an omnibus bill behind the scenes. Senate President Karen Spilka wants to approve a gun reform law this session, and Senate Majority Leader Cynthia Creem has been meeting with colleagues and interest groups.

Written by Chris Lisinski/SHNS

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