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Mass. Governor Patrick Seeks Gun Control Bill, Hike in Mental Health Funds

Following a trend set by President Barack Obama and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced plans for another set of gun laws that would restrict potential gun owners. Gun control legislation is at the forefront of American politics in the weeks since Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and 6 adults in Newtown, Conn.

“I am encouraged by the palpable consensus in our Legislature that the time for action is now. All of us must pull in the same direction to bring about real change in this state and across the country,” Patrick wrote in a press statement accompanying the new bill.

Provisions address issues such as the “gunshow loophole” that allowed gun show attendees to forgo background checks when purchasing weapons, and restricted access to high-powered ammunition.

The Beacon Hill Patch news site also reports that Massachusetts would charge offenders with four new crimes, including assault and battery by means of a firearm, assault by means of a firearm, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and commission of a violent misdemeanor while in possession of a weapon.

Patrick will also propose a $5 million increase in spending for state mental health programs, another decision that was likely influenced by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Of the new funding, $1 million would be used to train middle and high school staff to identify symptoms of mental illness in students, and another $100,000 will be given to the Center for Early Detection and Response to Risk (CEDAR) program.

With New York and Massachusetts being two of the closest states to the Newtown tragedy, the push for gun restrictions is seeing wide public support. While Obama faces huge opposition to new federal legislation, Cuomo’s and Patrick’s efforts have had much more welcome receptions.


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