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Bill To Make Buying Pepper Spray, Mace Easier In Mass. Stuck In Legislative Limbo

BOSTON (CBS) – A measure that would make it easier to buy mace and pepper spray in Massachusetts remains stuck in legislative limbo on Beacon Hill.

Massachusetts is the only state in the country that requires a firearms identification card in order to purchase mace or pepper spray for self-defense.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Mary Blake reports

Pepper Spray Legislation

Mansfield Republican state representative F. Jay Barrows is among a group of lawmakers pushing for a repeal of the law.

"We've had some horrifying crimes that have taken place in the Commonwealth in the last three or four years," he told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Friday.

"You think back and you say 'would this have prevented, would this have given some knucklehead a second thought before he grabbed somebody or assaulted someone?"

Barrows said not only is the current law cumbersome and expensive - it costs $100 and takes 6 months to process the application - but he says it's creating a bigger backlog for people who want to actually purchase firearms.

The bill was filed more than a year ago, but Barrows said it has been stuck in the House Committee on Ways and Means for five months.

"We've got bi-partisan support. I think some 24 legislators signed on to it," he told WBZ.

"I don't know what the holdup is," he said, adding that he hasn't heard any opposition to the legislation.

A spokesperson for the House Ways and Means Committee told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 there is concern about the bill as it is written. The bill in its current form does not include language that specifies pepper spray and mace can only be used in self-defense. The pepper spray issue is also expected to be addressed in an upcoming gun control bill.


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