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. The individual can appeal the decision.
"I am proud and I am excited and overhwlemed," said Rep. Marjorie Decker, a Cambridge Democrat who was the bill's prime sponsor. "This is the Democratic process working to keep people safe."
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.
"Massachusetts does have very strong, common sense gun laws," Baker said. "Running the license to carry process through the chiefs of police is unusual, but effective... and the chiefs of police voice in this discussion, along with the voice of the moms and the advocates and so many others was really important on this."
He said he believes Massachusetts is the only state to have enacted this type of legislation and also banned bump stocks.
"Even in a state like ours which has made tremendous progress on this issue, when there's more to do, we do it," Baker said.
The new law, which takes effect immediately, 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.