The following is an excerpt from Jonathan Cohn | May 6, 2018 | Huffingtonpost.com |
NEWTON, Mass. ― A thirtysomething man sought to buy a rifle here last September, and if he had been living in almost any other part of the country, he could have done so easily.
His record was free of arrests, involuntary psychiatric commitments or anything else that might automatically disqualify him from owning firearms under federal law. He could have walked into a gun store, filled out a form and walked out with a weapon in less than an hour.
But he couldn’t do that in Massachusetts because the state requires would-be buyers to get a permit first. That means going through a much longer process and undergoing a lot more scrutiny.
Each applicant must complete a four-hour gun safety course, get character references from two people, and show up at the local police department for fingerprinting and a one-on-one interview with a specially designated officer. Police must also do some work on their own, searching department records for information that wouldn’t show up on the official background check.
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