Red flag bill: Mass. Governor Charlie Baker signs "extreme risk" gun bill

BOSTON — Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has signed a bill that will allow for the temporary removal of firearms from people considered a danger to themselves or others.

The new law lets a relative or someone else with close ties to a legal gun owner petition a court for a 12-month extreme risk protection order if the individual is exhibiting dangerous or unstable behavior.

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The individual can appeal the decision.

The so-called "red flag" bill was given final approval by the Massachusetts House and Senate last week.

Baker, a Republican, said the new law will help prevent gun deaths and suicides while protecting Second Amendment rights.

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The new law also creates a licensing procedure for stun guns in Massachusetts after the state's highest court ruled a blanket ban on the devices was unconstitutional.

"It's gonna protect a lot of people and save a lot of lives," Angela Christiana of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America said.

The move made Massachusetts the first state in the country to pass both a bump stock law and a "red flag" law.

Cambridge's Marjorie Decker filed the legislation in the wake of the deadly Las Vegas and Parkland shootings, and says she was on the receiving end of death threats by NRA opponents to the bill.

A police detail was assigned to her for several days for her protection.

"The NRA and GOAL have never, ever been able to identify when someone should not have their gun," Decker said. "Today, this is a bipartisan effort of elected officials on both sides of the isle who recognize not everyone should have a gun when they pose a threat to themselves or others."

In a statement, the State Chapter of the NRA said a lot is still up in the air.

"There are still a lot of questions concerning due process with an "emergency" order," the statement read. "As well as ownership rights for those who file an appeal."

Dr. Robert Kinscherff chaired the American Psychological Association's task force on gun violence and prevention, and said the situation is "a win."

"Having judicial review and the right of appeal and a right to counsel is a win," Kinscherff said. "It does not by itself create an easy access to readily accessible, high quality mental services for those in crisis, but it's a start."

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