Romney signs off on permanent assault weapons ban

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Editor's Note, July 25, 2012: This 2004 press release has gotten frequent hits over the years. We noted that some of the characters, mostly quotation marks, were failing to display properly so we have cleaned them up and restored the paragraph breaks.

Governor Mitt Romney has signed into law a permanent assault weapons ban that he says will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on these guns.

"Deadly assault weapons have no place in Massachusetts,"Ě Romney said, at a bill signing ceremony on July 1 with legislators, sportsmen's groups and gun safety advocates. "These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people."

Like the federal assault weapons ban, the state ban, put in place in 1998, was scheduled to expire in September. The new law ensures these deadly weapons, including AK-47s, UZIs and Mac-10 rifles, are permanently prohibited in Massachusetts no matter what happens on the federal level.

"We are pleased to mark an important victory in the fight against crime,"Ě said Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey. "The most important job of state government is ensuring public safety. Governor Romney and I are determined to do whatever it takes to stop the flood of dangerous weapons into our cities and towns and to make Massachusetts safer for law-abiding citizens."

The new law also makes a number of improvements to the current gun licensing system, including:

• Extending the term of a firearm identification card and a license to carry firearms from four years to six years;

• Granting a 90-day grace period for holders of firearm identification cards and licenses to carry who have applied for renewal; and

• Creating a seven-member Firearm License Review Board to review firearm license applications that have been denied.

"This is truly a great day for Massachusetts' sportsmen and women,"Ě said Senator Stephen M. Brewer. "These reforms correct some serious mistakes that were made during the gun debate in 1998, when many of our state's gun owners were stripped of their long-standing rights to own firearms. I applaud Senate President Travaglini for allowing the Senate to undertake this necessary legislation."

"I want to congratulate everyone that has worked so hard on this issue," said Representative George Peterson. "Because of their dedication, we are here today to sign into law this consensus piece of legislation. This change will go a long way toward fixing the flaws created by the 1998 law. Another key piece to this legislation addresses those citizens who have applied for renewals. If the government does not process their renewal in a timely fashion, those citizens won't be put at risk because of the 90 day grace period that is being adopted today."Ě

"Never before has there been such bi-partisan cooperation in the passage of gun safety legislation of this magnitude in this nation," said John Rosenthal, co-founder and chair of Stop Handgun Violence. "I applaud the leadership of the Governor, Senate President, House Speaker and entire Legislature for passage of this assault weapons ban renewal. They have shown that Massachusetts can continue to lead the nation in protecting the public and law enforcement from military style assault weapons."
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State Announces Final Order on Eversource Gas Rates

BOSTON — The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has issued a final Order in a rate case for NSTAR Gas Company, doing business as Eversource Energy, that will lead to investments in clean energy technologies, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and improvements in infrastructure safety and service reliability, while significantly reducing the total rate increase request of Eversource. 
 
The action by the DPU follows a year-long investigation that included four public hearings across Eversource Energy's service territory, 12 days of virtual evidentiary hearings, and a review of approximately 1,800 exhibits. The Order applies only to customers who are provided gas service in NSTAR's territory in 51 towns in Eastern and Central Massachusetts and does not impact customers in the former Columbia Gas of Massachusetts gas service territory.
 
The DPU's Order reduced Eversource's base revenue request by approximately $12.2 million – decreasing Eversource's original requested increase of $34,970,916 by 35 percent. Today's decision marks the first time that Eversource's gas base distribution rates have changed since 2016.
 
"Today's Order will ensure Massachusetts continues to lead the way by investing and providing affordable, clean, and reliable energy solutions to ratepayers," DPU Chairman Matthew Nelson said. "Building on the Department's investigation into the future of natural gas in the Commonwealth's energy portfolio, the Order will also result in new clean energy options for residents to help Massachusetts achieve its aggressive emissions reduction goals."
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