Massachusetts has some of the strongest gun control laws in the nation, and some of the lowest gun death rates to show for it. But Governor Patrick, Mayor Menino, and many legislators have long wanted to tighten the state’s laws, as the toll from guns remains too high: Just last weekend in Boston, nine people were shot, one fatally, in a spate of unrelated incidents from South Boston to Franklin Park to Roxbury to Roslindale. But nearly all new legislation has been stymied by a Legislature that, even in this state, is susceptible to lobbying by gun groups that speak more for the firearms industry than any hunters or collectors.
Now, as yet another mass shooting — this one in Washington, D.C. — dominates the news, it’s time for the Legislature to approve the measures proposed by Patrick after last December’s elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn. They include limiting gun purchases to one a month, requiring background checks at gun shows, and entering mental health records into the federal background check system.