On Wednesday, Beacon Hill experienced a surreal day. In a country where gun-control proposals usually provoke a harsh backlash from uncompromising gun-rights advocates, the Massachusetts House passed legislation to tighten up the state’s already tough gun laws, and it was praised by both gun control advocates and gun rights lobbyists. With the vote, the state has turned itself into a leader when it comes to bridging what often seems like an intractable gulf between the two sides.
“Overall, I’m thrilled,” said John Rosenthal, head of Stop Handgun Violence and the creator of the Massachusetts Turnpike billboard that currently estimates 50,000 Americans have died from gun violence since the Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre in 2012. “It’s the first time in a long time where everyone could be heard.”