Massachusetts Medical Society: Testimony Relative to Firearms Before the Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security

Testimony Relative to Firearms Before the Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security

The Massachusetts Medical Society appreciates the actions taken by the Massachusetts State Legislature to protect our citizens from gun violence by banning bump stocks, creating a “red flag” process, and joining a national database for background checks. But there is more to be done.  Gun violence continues to hurt and kill our patients and harm our communities.

The MMS supports mandatory background checks for all gun purchases and the expansion of public health research into the causes and prevention of gun violence.  “We will continue to speak with our patients about firearm safety and we will continue to educate our colleagues on the best ways to initiate and to have those conversations”, stated Dr. Maryanne C. Bombaugh, MMS President, in a recent statement, underscoring the prioritization of this issue for the MMS.

MMS comprehensive and extensive policy on firearms is attached to this testimony.  Among other provisions, the policy spells out the Society’s support for a statewide ban on the sale and/or possession of assault weapons by private citizens, extreme risk protective orders, legislative efforts to make licensing and background checks mandatory for all sales of firearms, the importance of education and training, and strong opposition to actions taken by some states to interfere in the right of physicians and patients (or their parents or guardians) to discuss gun ownership, storage, and safety in the home.

Consistent with MMS policy, the Society wishes to be recorded in support of the following bills:

  • H.2045/S.1388, An Act Relative to Crime Gun Data Reporting and Analysis (Decker/Creem)
    Directs the Secretary of Public Safety to develop a biennial report analyzing the firearms trace data and non-identifying gun sales transaction data held by the Firearms Records Bureau

  • H.3577/S.1368, An Act Establishing an Institute Within the Department of Public Health (Linsky/Brownsberger)
    Would establish the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Firearm Violence Institute within the Department of Public Health.

  • H.2048, An Act Authorizing the Voluntary Disavowal of Eligibility to Purchase a Firearm (Decker)
    Establishes a protocol allowing individuals suffering from depression to voluntarily disavow their eligibility to purchase a firearm; directs the Criminal Justice Information Services to establish a list of individuals who do so; authorizes the revocation of gun dealer licenses for selling a firearm to anyone on the list; requires distribution of the form to hospitals and emergency facilities and requires such facilities to offer the form  to patients who voluntarily present themselves and who appear to be suffering from depression.

  • H.2092, An Act Relative to Universal Background Checks for Private Gun Sales (Linsky)
    Would require the sale or transfer of guns and firearms by unlicensed individuals to comply with existing statutory purchase restrictions and to occur at the location of a licensed dealer who can transmit required information using the Massachusetts Gun Transaction Portal.

  • S.1387, An Act Relative to Firearms and Firearms Violence (Creem)
    Would create the Firearms Violence Prevention Trust Fund to support municipal violence prevention programs aimed at reducing youth gun violence.

The MMS urges the Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security to report these bills out favorably. 

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