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Mass. measure should tackle guns’ semiautomatic mechanism

Re “Even in Massachusetts, there’s room to do more on gun violence” (Editorial, Sept. 1): Boston Police Commissioner William Gross knows all too well that there is more that can be done in Massachusetts to address the epidemic of gun violence. His proposal to allow for fines, fees, and the potential to impound a vehicle involved in gun trafficking makes good sense and could reduce the number of firearms in circulation on our city streets.

One addition to the omnibus bill your editorial endorses would be a ban on the sale and use of any rifle, handgun, or shotgun that contains a semiautomatic mechanism (allowing the firearm to discharge spent rounds automatically and load new, live rounds automatically with each pull of the trigger). Such a ban also avoids Second Amendment challenges, since it doesn’t affect guns per se, but rather the inclusion of a mechanism that allows them to be capable of inflicting human casualties on a scale that tragically has become all too common.


The Falmouth Gun Safety Coalition has been advocating for the passage of this proposal for some time, and we are persuaded that such a ban would be an important step in the fight against gun violence.

Jane Scarborough

Jack McDevitt


Scarborough is a retired associate professor of law at Northeastern University School of Law, and McDevitt is a professor of the practice in Northeastern’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.