Many gubernatorial candidates supportive of House gun violence bill

New anti-gun violence legislation unveiled Tuesday by Speaker Robert A. DeLeo is winning high marks from most gubernatorial hopefuls.

Democrats Juliette Kayyem and Steven Grossman and independent candidates Evan Falchuk and Jeffrey McCormick said today they would sign the House version of the bill into law if they were governor and it came to their desk.

Republican Charlie Baker and Democrat Martha Coakley spoke positively about the legislation but said they continued to review the specifics of the comprehensive bill.


Democrat Donald M. Berwick called it “a step in the right direction,” while Republican Mark R. Fisher, who is affiliated with the Tea Party movement, said he wouldn’t sign it and opposes additional gun control measures in the state.

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Under the bill, among other measures, the state would join a national database for criminal and mental-health background checks. All private sales of firearms would be conducted through a licensed dealer, school districts would provide suicide prevention and awareness training to school personnel, and local police would be given expanded discretion to consider a person’s “suitability” to own a gun.

Kayyem, a former Homeland Security official, said in a statement she would sign it into law and cheered DeLeo for his work to “target the specific, urgent issues of school safety, suicide prevention and domestic violence.”

Grossman, the state treasurer, applauded the speaker in a statement “for his leadership in proposing new gun laws that will save lives.”

Both Grossman and Kayyem said they would also like to see legislation that limits people in Massachusetts to buying one gun per month, a proposal that has been repeatedly put forward by Governor Deval Patrick but is not in this bill.


Falchuk, a lawyer, said he thought the bill was “a good and comprehensive approach to dealing with many of problems of gun violence.” McCormick, in a statement, called it a “proposal that addresses a serious concern in our communities when it comes to public safety.”

Baker, a former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, cautioned that he had not read the whole bill but said “there are a bunch of parts of it that I think are really important.”

Speaking to a reporter in Dorchester, he said he was glad to see the mental health background checks along with proposals that seek to address gun trafficking.

Coakley, the attorney general, called the legislation “a good bill that takes important steps to protect our communities and families” in a statement and added she is “continuing to review all of the details.”

Berwick, a former chief of the country’s massive Medicare and Medicaid programs, said in a statement, “We need also to address the root causes of gun violence — including poverty, despair, mental illness, and a culture that tolerates violence and domestic abuse.”


Fisher, a political novice and businessman, said he was against the bill. “People have to be squeaky clean to own a gun legally in Massachusetts, so I would oppose any future restrictions on that,” he said in a voicemail.

Among the other candidates running to succeed Patrick: biopharmaceutical executive Joseph Avellone.

The bill would need to pass both branches of the Legislature and go to the governor before becoming law.

Stephanie Ebbert of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Joshua Miller can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.