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Suffolk DA meets students, pushes for gun-control bill

Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley, a mayoral candidate, appeared at the Dorchester Youth Collaborative in Fields Corner on Saturday to meet with students and push for action on gun control legislation he filed in January.

Conley said students at Dorchester’s Harbor School were asked to write a letter to an official about an issue in their community, and three sent letters to his office about youth violence.

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Conley also publicized for the first time a gun control bill he filed in January with state Representative Russell Holmes and former state senator Jack Hart, who resigned in February to join a private law firm.

Conley said the bill, which is in committee, is not flashy, but would close a number of loopholes and tighten requirements on gun owners.

The bill would crack down on the reselling of guns purchased in states with less restrictive laws and increase the minimum penalty for the illegal sale of a firearm to 2½ years in jail. It would also prohibit gun dealers from employing felons.

Conley said the bill would increase penalties on the owners of guns used in crimes who often claim the weapons were lost or stolen.

“When we seize arms and do the trace-back, many, many times the first owner will say the gun was lost or stolen,” Conley said. “Well, I’m not naive. I know many of those guns were sold illegally.”

Additionally, the proposed law would close a loophole that treats guns confiscated by police in homes and businesses differently from guns confiscated in public, imposing the same penalty on illegal weapons found in either place.

It would also require that firing pins on handguns be microstamped with an identifying mark that would transfer to shell casings when the gun was fired, making it easier for investigators to track down weapons used in violent crime.

Another component of the bill would mandate that gun owners carry insurance to cover accidental or intentional injuries inflicted by their firearms.

Conley said that while crime is down in many major categories for Boston, it is disturbing that sixth-grade students are worried about their safety.

“I tried to reassure [the students] that there are adults out there who worry and care about them,” he said.

Adams can be reached at dadams@globe.com. Find him on Twitter at @DanielAdams86.
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