Column: Gun safety legislation is fall priority

By State Rep. Simon Cataldo (D-Concord) 
August 4, 2023

To my mind, Massachusetts’ lowest-in-the-nation gun violence statistics are a consequence of our strong gun safety laws. 

We are living in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent Bruen decision, which further limited states’ abilities to enforce gun safety measures, and during the emergence of “ghost gun” technologies that make it easier to create and transfer illegal firearms. In that context, I feel it is urgently necessary to tailor our state code in ways that keep our residents safe from gun violence within the constitutional limits dictated by the current Supreme Court. 

The omnibus gun safety bill, HD4420, was filed in late June by my House colleague Michael Day (D-Stoneham). Aspects of HD4420 I find particularly important include new rules to prevent the creation and infiltration of ghost guns; stronger gun crime reporting to federal databases; and the transfer of certain dealer inspection and licensing responsibilities to the state police in order to improve uniformity and safety.

Almost immediately upon HD4420 hitting the Clerk’s docket, constituents from Acton, Carlisle, Chelmsford and Concord started contacting me about the bill. 

In total, 106 constituents (25 from Concord) emailed, called or visited me during office hours to lobby me to oppose the bill, while 46 (22 from Concord) contacted me to request that I support it. These figures exceed the number of people who have contacted me about any other piece of legislation, and rival the number of constituents who have reached out about issues such as Concord’s emergency family shelter and the planned private jet hangar development at Hanscom.

Constituent engagement helped me craft feedback to Rep. Day. For example, I brought forward concerns about the impact certain provisions could have on the ability to engage in hunting education activities conducted by the Boy Scouts and a state-run summer camp.

On July 24, Speaker Ron Mariano announced the bill would not go to the floor in July. The Senate had refused to send the bill to the Judiciary Committee for a hearing, and there was not time to move it through the legislative process prior to the August recess. The Speaker has maintained that omnibus gun safety legislation will remain a House priority in the fall and has encouraged members to continue soliciting constituent feedback. 

I remain steadfast that the Legislature needs to act swiftly to bring a sensible and carefully crafted gun safety bill to the floor for a vote. Contact me to weigh in on this or any other issue at; (617) 722-2000 ext. 8676; or visit me at office hours, which are posted at