Proposed Ballot Question Would Require Gun Safes in Massachusetts

In response to mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, a Boston man has filed a petition to address gun safety on the 2020 ballot in Massachusetts.

The proposed ballot question asks whether gun owners should be required to store their weapons — handguns, rifles and shotguns — in a "certified" safe in their homes. It also states that gun owners would be responsible for crimes committed with their weapons.

"It's common sense. I think having a safe for guns, and anything like that, you want to just side on the side of caution," said Jimmy Keenan, who signed the petition.

Currently, Massachusetts requires gun owners to store their weapons securely by lock, or using a trigger that is resistant to tampering. Gun control advocates said that system has worked.

"Yes, a safe would make it safer. But it's not a priority," said John Rosenthal of Stop Handgun Violence.

Massachusetts has long had a reputation of having some of the stricter gun laws in the country. Rosenthal does not believe the proposal would necessarily make a difference in regulation here.

"Before we add to those gun laws, other than improving our background check requirements, I'm not interested in making it harder for law abiding gun owners." Rosenthal explained.

In addition, gun rights advocates said the cost of adding a safe to a home would unfairly penalize lawful gun owners.

"You're going to actually price people out of being able to exercise their civil rights," said Jim Wallace, executive director of the Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts.

NBC10 Boston reached out to the man who initially filed the petition, a West Roxbury resident, but did not hear back. In order for the question to reach the ballot, it must first be certified by the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office. After that, supporters must obtain roughly 80,000 signatures.

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