Sen. Ed Markey is proposing when it comes to addressing the nation’s gun violence “epidemic,” even as President Donald Trump is backing down on his promise to tighten firearm rules.
Backed by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and a number of local police chiefs, Markey announced in a press conference Monday his plan to introduce legislation in which the federal government would incentivize the other 49 states to adopt gun safety laws similar to those in place in his home state.Because studies have found Massachusetts has the lowest rate of gun deaths in the country.
Markey said that while there was still more work to do, Bay Staters should be proud to have the “strongest and most potent gun laws” in the country, which he cited for a 40 percent reduction in gun deaths in the state since 1994.
“Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said that each of the 50 states has the power to be a laboratory for developing new programs and policies,” the Democratic senator said Monday. “Right now, Massachusetts serves in that role for the other 49 states when it comes to gun safety legislation.”
The Making America Safe and Secure Act (appropriately coined the MASS Act) would authorize the Justice Department to make grants totaling $20 million each year for the next five years to states that, like Massachusetts, require their residents interested in owning, purchasing, or selling a gun to acquire a firearms license from their local police department. Markey said such firearms licensing requirements are the “most life-saving” gun laws on the books.
The bill would encourage states to require residents to go through a background check and do an in-person interview with their local police chief in order to obtain a license. First-time applicants would also have to complete safety training and provide references stating that he or she is of sound mind and character, according to Markey’s office.