Despite protests, ‘red flag’ gun bill OK’d in House

Despite protests, 'red flag' gun bill OK'd in House

BOSTON — Brushing aside opposition from gun rights supporters, the House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday to expand a state law allowing for the seizure of firearms from those who show unstable or dangerous behavior. The measure allows police, friends and family to ask a court for a so-called "extreme risk protection order" if they believe a legal gun owner poses a risk to themselves or others. Even with approval in the House – which passed by a vote of 139 to 14 after several hours of debate – the bill must still clear the Senate and be signed by Gov. Charlie Baker to become law. Police chiefs already have broad discretion to revoke firearm licenses, but gun control advocates say that provision is seldom used and too limited in scope. They say the “red flag” bill offers families a direct route to seek help, arguing that it will help prevent suicides and mass shootings. "We have children who are learning how to stay alive if a gunman comes into their classroom," Rep. Marjorie Decker, D-Cambridge, the bill’s main sponsor, said on the House floor, citing letters she received from students urging lawmakers to enact tougher gun control laws. "This does not have to be normal." Gun rights groups called the proposal a "gun confiscation bill" that lacks due process and threatens Second Amendment rights. "This is a bait and switch to the public who thought they were getting a bill about suicide prevention and public safety, but […]

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