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Getting Answers: Protocols in place for obtaining a firearm in Massachusetts

Getting Answers: Protocols in place for obtaining a firearm in Massachusetts
Published: May. 26, 2022 at 7:38 PM EDT
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LUDLOW, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -Texas officials said the gunman purchased his weapons just days after he turned 18.

But what protocols are in place here in the Bay State when someone applies for a license to carry? Western Mass News is getting answers from the chief of the Ludlow Police Department.

Uvalde, Texas authorities said the alleged shooter of the Robb Elementary School Mass Shooting purchased two assault rifles legally when he turned 18. Gun laws in Texas are very different than those in Massachusetts. Western Mass News dug a little deeper to find out what protocols are in place, aimed at making sure a gun doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.

“You’d be surprised at the number of people that apply for licenses to carry in Massachusetts, that had not only incidents of mental health, but even criminal incidents,” said Ludlow Police Department Chief Daniel J. Validas

Chief Validas told Western Mass News that the application process is lengthy for someone who wants to obtain a license to carry.

There are multiple resources for law enforcement officers when someone is applying for a license to carry, but they don’t necessarily tell the whole story. The department can utilize national and state databases, as well as its records.

“We respond to a lot, and we do a lot for our residents and our public. We tend to know more than a larger agency, for instance, a state or federal agency. We just tend to have more records,” Chief Validas explained.

If someone suffers from mental health issues, it may come upon the department’s radar, if they were voluntarily checked in to a public hospital. But otherwise, police may not be made aware of these issues. In Ludlow, if they have any concerns about someone’s application, the chief holds an in-person interview with them.

“Sincerity. I’m looking for the ability to look at someone and say are they being more or less truthful,” Chief Validas said.

Chief Validas said what makes Massachusetts stand out from most other states, is that the local police departments have the authority to deny someone a license, and that denial can be appealed in court.

“It’s a privilege to carry a gun in the state of Massachusetts. We have a strict standard and it works well,” said Chief Validas.