- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 9, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - The gun bill approved by the Massachusetts House on Wednesday seeks to overhaul the state’s firearms laws. Among other changes, the bill would:

- Give police chiefs discretion over issuing firearms identification cards needed for the purchase of rifles or shotguns, much like the discretion they currently have over issuing licenses to carry concealed weapons;

- Require police chiefs to give written reasons for denying gun licenses, which could be used by prospective gun owners to appeal the denial in court;

- Create a web-based portal within the state Executive Office of Public Safety to allow for real-time background checks in private gun sales;

- Require that Massachusetts join the National Instant Background Check System and transmit information, including any substance abuse or mental health commitments, to a federal database for use by police in reviewing firearms applications;

- Require school districts develop plans to address the mental health needs of students and faculty and to have access to two-way communication devices with police and fire departments for use during emergencies;

- Require gun owners, when they renew their licenses, to state that to the best of their knowledge they have not had any guns lost or stolen from their possession since their last license renewal;

- Eliminate the 90-day renewal process for firearm identification cards and licenses to carry, and end the classes of a license to carry, formerly known as class A and class B;

- Increase the penalties for failure to report a lost or stolen firearm, being armed with a firearm while carjacking, and for carrying a firearm on school premises;

- Increase the penalty for being armed with a firearm while entering without breaking at night or breaking and entering during the day;

- Establish penalties for unlawfully transporting firearms into the state to use in a crime or to unlawfully distribute;

- Create a firearms trafficking unit within the State Police.