BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Senate approved a sweeping gun bill Thursday designed to crack down on “ghost guns,” toughen the state’s prohibition on assault weapons and outlaw devices that convert semiautomatic firearms into fully automatic machine guns.

The Senate approved the bill on a 37-3 vote. The measure is part of an effort by the state to respond to a 2022 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that citizens have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense.

Supporters of the legislation say it would help make residents safer and ultimately save lives by reforming the state’s firearm regulations.

“The Senate came together and acted on gun violence, rising above the divisiveness of this critical issue in the name of protecting our residents from gun crime, modernizing our laws, and supporting communities who have been torn apart by unnecessary violence,” Democratic Senate President Karen Spilka said in a statement.

On ghost guns, the bill would toughen oversight for those who own privately made, unserialized firearms that are largely untraceable. In 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice reported recovering 25,785 ghost guns in domestic seizures.

The Senate bill would make it illegal to possess devices that convert semiautomatic firearms into fully automatic machine guns, including Glock switches and trigger activators. It would also ensure gun dealers are inspected annually and allow the Massachusetts State Police to conduct the inspections if a local licensing agency can’t or won’t.

Other elements of the bill would ban carrying firearms in government administrative buildings; require courts to compel the surrender of firearms by individuals subject to harassment protection orders who pose an immediate threat; ban the marketing of unlawful firearm sales to minors; and create a criminal charge for intentionally firing a gun at a dwelling.

In October, the Massachusetts House approved its own gun bill aimed at tightening firearm laws, also cracking down on ghost guns.

Jim Wallace, executive director of the Gun Owners’ Action League, said he’d hoped lawmakers would have held a separate public hearing on the Senate version of the bill because of significant differences with the House version.

“There’s a lot of new stuff, industry stuff, machine gun stuff, definitions that are weird so that’s why the (Senate) bill should have gone to a separate hearing,” he said. “The Senate’s moving theirs pretty darn fast and we keep asking what’s the rush?”

The group Stop Handgun Violence praised the Senate.

The bill “dramatically improves current gun safety laws in Massachusetts by closing dangerous loopholes and by making it harder for legally prohibited gun buyers to access firearms without detection by law enforcement,” Stop Handgun Violence founder John Rosenthal said in a statement.

Brought to you by