Massachusetts lawmakers sent a bill to Gov. Deval Patrick’s desk for passage that puts police chiefs in charge of deciding whether or not a person is fit enough to own a gun — and gives them the power to deny purchases in certain cases.
“We seek not to be the safest state in the nation, but strive to make our communities the safest in the world,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Reuters reported.
Mr. Patrick supports the measure and is expected to sign it into law soon.
Critics say the new authority for police holds potential to become a Second Amendment nightmare. It broadens existing state law — which already allows law enforcement to deny handgun buys by those who fail background checks — and lets the chief of police take 90 days to petition a court to approve the denial of a firearms identification card to those deemed unfit, Reuters said.
“This is an egregious violation of your Second Amendment rights,” the National Rifle Association said in a statement, Reuters reported.