Living on a street in Springfield that has seen gun violence multiple times in broad daylight, Angel Rivera and Leslie Orengo say they fear their city is turning into a war zone.
The state's gun control bill -- on its way to the Senate floor -- brings Rivera and Orengo a glimmer of hope.
"I think if the gun bill goes through I think it should be a good thing," Rivera said.
But not everyone believes the bill is the right step for Massachusetts.
"It's a shame," Firearm safety instructor Larry Anderson said. "These are things that should take much more time, involve many more professionals and be resolved in a very positive and productive way."
Anderson says there are a number of amendments in the bill that aren't necessary, such as requiring live-fire training to obtain a license. He says if he had the opportunity to vote on the bill today, he'd vote no, even with seeing many parts of the bill as great improvements and milestones for the state.
"Those things that bring additional armed protection to schools I think are absolutely essential," he said.
The bill seeks to improve school safety, requiring districts to develop plans to address mental health needs and have resource officers on campuses.
Hampden Police Chief Jeff Farnsworth says the bill is looking to please both anti-gun and pro-gun supporters and is doing its best to simply update state laws.
"Just more standardization coming into effect which I see as a positive thing."
It will also give chiefs of police discretion over issuing firearm identification cards needed to purchase shotguns and rifles.
Stiffer penalties for failing to report a lost or stolen firearm, and authorizing licensed gun dealers to access criminal histories before a sale is made are also items in the bill. The bill calls for the state to join a national database for criminal and mental-health background checks. It would also create a firearms trafficking unit within the state police.
The bill passed in the House with a 112-38 vote and now heads to the Senate. Supporters hope it passes before the formal legislative session ends on July 31.
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