In 2015, more than half of all gun-related deaths in Massachusetts were due to suicide. Because of that, legislators in Massachusetts are now considering a new set of gun control laws aimed at preventing suicides. The proposed bill, H.3801, would keep firearms away from those who are at a greater risk of self-harm. Doctors, police officers and family members would be able to determine how mentally fit the person is, which could remove firearms from his or her home.
Critics of the bill believe it would negatively impact law-abiding gun owners.
“Typically when you start removing constitutional rights, they’re done through felony convictions with evidence, not by third-party allegations with very little evidence. I’d ask you to take a really close look at this legislation, it’s flawed and creates many constitutional implications,” Jim Hohenwarter of the National Rifle Association told legislators in Boston. “Massachusetts already has a number of different mechanisms to remove firearms from individuals in appropriate cases, most through what we would say is a due-process-type system. This bill creates an incredibly different third-party allegation — it requires immediate surrender.”
Jenna Youille, however, believes the bill could be beneficial. Youille lost her mother to a mall shooting in Oregon in 2012. In 2016, her father purchased a firearm and took his own life.
“I think that would have been able to prevent him from going and buying a gun on the day that he did, and just bought us more time to get him the help that he really needed,” Youille said.
Currently, the bill is being reviewed by the judiciary committee.
Washington state, California, and Connecticut have passed similar legislation.
Watch WWLP‘s coverage of the bill: