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Deval Patrick gun bill strongly criticized by some, praised by others (Update)

Governor Deval Patrick's gun bill signing was met with an angry response from a statewide gun-owners group because they felt as if they were slighted by the Patrick administration due to the fact that they were not invited to a major ceremony where the bill was signed, The Lowell Sun wrote in its report on Aug. 13.

"Somebody somewhere dropped the ball,"Jim Wallace, executive director of the Gun Owners Action League, said. "And I know that the team has issued an apology, and I apologize. They were part of getting a good bill."

State lawmakers in Mass. passed several important laws very early on Wednesday, beyond the midnight deadline of the end of the two-year legislative session that began in January 2013.

One project that was given final approval and sent to the desk of Governor Deval Patrick was an extensive package of gun control measures. The bill would give police chiefs the right to go to court to try to deny credentials for carrying of firearms required to purchase rifles or shotguns to persons who they consider are not eligible, as the discretion currently lies on the issue of gun licenses.

The bill makes other changes to the gun laws in the state, including the creation of a web site within the Executive Office of Public Safety to allow background checks in real time in private arms sales, increased penalties for some weapons-related offenses, and calls for the creation of a unit against trafficking of firearms within the state police.

The Associated Press said that the legislation also requires that schools have access to two-way communication devices with police and fire departments and mandates that school districts provide two hours of suicide awareness and prevention training to school personnel every three years.

According to the Huffington Post, gun control advocates hailed the measures as ones that make Massachusetts "a leader for the rest of the nation."

“With the stroke of Governor Patrick’s pen today, Massachusetts is now a leader for the rest of the nation in passing common-sense gun reform while continuing to respect the Second Amendment rights we all value,” Molly Malloy, the leader of Massachusetts' chapter of Moms Demand Action, said in a statement. “The single most effective thing we can do to keep guns out of dangerous hands and reduce the number of Americans killed with guns every day is require criminal background checks on all sales to close the loophole that allows felons, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill to buy guns. Real leadership is what will keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, and we are grateful to have leaders on this issue taking action to protect our families in the commonwealth.”

Another bill that was backed by lawmakers would make changes in domestic violence laws. It would increase training programs on domestic violence, establish state and local review teams to examine the causes of deaths related to domestic violence and establish a fund to encourage organizations to prevent domestic violence and assist victims.

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