On the Issues

Strengthening and Enforcing Gun Laws

Every Massachusetts resident has the right to feel safe in their homes, schools, and grocery stores, but the Supreme Court’s recent decision to expand gun rights has very serious implications that will undermine or eliminate the very laws that keep us safe. Those disproportionately harmed or unjustly targeted by gun violence will bear the brunt of this decision the most. Andrea knows the next Attorney General will play a key role in ensuring our Commonwealth remains vigilant and continues to lead the way on gun violence prevention measures. As Attorney General, Andrea will defend every aspect of our common-sense gun laws to protect the public and the future of Massachusetts.

Andrea will:

  • Establish an Office of Gun Safety Enforcement within the Attorney General’s Office to serve as a one-stop shop for handling gun violence prevention, including regulatory, enforcement and litigation issues:
    • Designate assistant attorneys general whose primary duties include regulation and enforcement of gun safety and coordination of AGO activities that involve guns, including defense of the Commonwealth’s strong gun laws.
    • Create a Gun Violence Prevention Advisory Board consisting of law enforcement officials, community-based gun violence prevention experts, mental health experts, members of the faith community, and those with lived experience to make recommendations on gun violence prevention measures.
    • Make information and assistance for gun law compliance easily accessible for law enforcement, advocates on all sides of the gun violence prevention debate, and gun owners. 
    • Provide transparency about the AGO’s priorities for enforcing gun laws and its regulations governing gun sales and gun ownership.
  • Prioritize community-based gun violence prevention methods to best disrupt cycles of crime, gun trafficking networks, incarceration and violence in neighborhoods across Massachusetts:
    • Identify funding sources for collaborative efforts between community-based violence prevention organizations and local law enforcement agencies.
    • Work with local organizations to create and bolster programs that teach formerly incarcerated individuals or those who otherwise interact with the criminal justice system about gun laws and gun safety.
    • Address disparities in legal gun ownership that all too often criminalize individuals in communities of color and create a program to expunge the records of those who demonstrate responsible behavior after a charge of illegal possession.
    • Evaluate ways to replicate and scale up successful community-based gun violence prevention efforts.
    • Enhance gun-tracing and centralized reporting of gun crimes in order to identify violence hotspots and to prosecute those who traffic in illegal guns.
    • Publicize Massachusetts’ red flag law and support those seeking to employ it.
    • Intentionally go after marketing practices that appear to target buyers who may perpetuate gun violence. 
    • Enhance enforcement of safe storage laws to make sure that those who own guns aren’t soft targets for thieves.
    • Revitalize and reinvent a statewide “Safe Neighborhood Initiative” as to embrace a community-based, proactive approach to criminal prosecutions that will incorporate enhanced collaboration between the Attorney General’s Office, local police departments, schools, and other key community entities and resources in areas with higher levels of gun and youth violence.
  • Strengthen Massachusetts’ common sense gun laws:
    • Step up enforcement of assault weapons ban:
      • Work with the Massachusetts Legislature to identify dangerous semi-automatic rifles that currently evade the assault weapons ban, including identifying guns by lethal characteristics rather than by brand names.
      • Enhance prosecution of criminals using guns already designated as assault weapons under law.
    • Enhance prosecution of those who build and use ghost guns, which are weapons typically built by individuals rather than manufacturers, that have no serial numbers and are not traceable: 
      • Issue an enforcement policy that expands on a new federal rule restricting the sale of ghost guns in order to make clear that gun dealers in violation of the rule risk forfeiting their license.
      • Use existing unfair trade practice law to go after illegal internet sales of ghost gun blanks and 3-D printed weapons.
      • Encourage those who already own ghost guns to turn them in without penalty 
    • Address gun hoarding in Massachusetts:
      • Facilitate sharing of information about gun hoarding with local authorities with jurisdiction and power to see how and where such guns are stored.
      • Investigate gun dealers who appear to be selling guns indiscriminately.
      • Work with the Massachusetts Legislature on measures designed to limit gun and ammunition hoarding, including limits on annual and lifetime gun purchases.
  • Bolster gun safety training requirements:
    • Work with state police on an enhanced gun safety curriculum for new gun owners, focusing on safe handling, safe storage, and the risks of unsecured guns.
    • Advocate to the Massachusetts Legislature to require regular range certification, safety, training and a written safety test as a prerequisite for obtaining a gun license.
    • Prosecute gun owners whose reckless conduct leads to unintended gun violence through theft and unauthorized use.
    • Hold gun sellers accountable if they sell a gun without safety features, particularly when such guns are sold to new and untrained gun owners.