Massachusetts Gun Reform: Thanksgiving 2017 Edition

Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for reading this Turkey Day edition of Gun Reform Roundup: the latest gun reform news from the Commonwealth, New England, and the Nation.

During this time when we reflect on what we are thankful for, the SHV staff are thinking about our allies in elected office like Rep. Marjorie Decker, who took a courageous stand in support common sense gun laws at last week’s Public Safety hearing at the State House. Join us in thanking her by signing this letter.

We’re also thankful for supporters like you who keep Stop Handgun Violence up and running. This giving season, please consider contributing so we can continue to grow our public awareness campaigns. Giving Tuesday isn’t until next week, but there’s nothing wrong with getting a head start.

Here are the biggest stories this week:

1) Mass. State House Hearing on Gun Bills Features Strong Grassroots Support for Gun Reform

The Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security heard testimony last week on dozens of bills relating to firearms. Supporters of sensible policies to prevent gun violence and suicides filled the room with orange-shirts and strong words of support for Attorney General Maura Healey.

Gun rights activists were also present–including paid lobbyists from the NRA and GOAL–but the Boston Herald Editorial Board was not convinced by their reasoning behind lifting a ban on silencers in the Commonwealth, citing testimony from Stop Handgun Violence founder and known gun-owner, John Rosenthal.

2) A Year-Long Investigation Tracing 23,000 Stolen Guns in America; Another Tracing the Violence Surrounding Just One

“American gun owners, preoccupied with self-defense, are inadvertently arming the very criminals they fear.” This week, The Trace published a fascinating piece on their year-long investigation into stolen guns. Working with dozens of local NBC stations, The Trace identified 23,000 stolen guns recovered by police between 2010 and 2016–the vast majority connected with crimes.

Related, the Washington Post published a chilling story tracking one illegal gun. The headline reads: “One illegal gun. 12 weeks. A dozen criminal acts. The rapid cyle of gun violence.”

3) One Dead After a Violent 24 Hours in Boston

The Boston Police Department is investigating a string of shootings in Roxbury, Mattapan, and Roslindale that took place in the span of 24 hours last Friday and Saturday. Some the events seem to be related, including one incident where police were called to the scene of a shooting and found the suspect dead of a self-inflicted gunshot nearby.

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said the violence was “troubling” and his department is investigating. He added: “unfortunately, sometimes we have this little burst of activity in the city, but it’s still one of the safest cities in America.”

4) Remington Gun Manufacturer Under Severe Financial Stress

From Forbes: “Following the spate of mass shootings over the last several months, it has become clear that Congress and the Trump Administration have no plans to enact new gun control regulations. That might be welcome news for gun enthusiasts, but it’s actually a bad omen for gun manufacturers.”

Remington is one of several firearm manufacturers owned by Cerberus Capital Management, a company that also owns Shaw’s, Star Market, and Osco Drug. Recently, Stop Handgun Violence founder John Rosenthal called for a boycott of all these brands. Print this letter and bring it to your local store to tell them why they lost your business.

5) Worcester’s Police and Medical Communities Come Together for Gun Violence Reduction Project

The Project will be funded by grants from the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts. According to the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, the project “will work with the Worcester Police Department and the Worcester medical community to facilitate temporary safe storage for gun owners to prevent someone with mental health or substance abuse issues from accessing a gun.”

6) Hartford Courant Editorial: Let Sandy Hook Parents Sue

Parents of elementary school children murdered in the massacre at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, CT are trying to persuade the state Supreme Court to let them sue Bushmaster, the manufacturer of the weapon used in the slaughter.

The Hartford Courant editorial staff have voiced their support: “Congress won’t stop the slaughter. It prefers shielding the gun industry from lawsuits. May the Sandy Hook parents succeed in puncturing that shield.”

7) Scientific American: Four Laws to Stem Mass Shootings

Scientific American published a piece countering the “new laws will not make us safer” argument from the gun lobby. They provide evidence that four specific policy changes would save lives.

Scientific American also published a rebuttal to the gun lobby’s favorite researcher: known fraud John Lott. Scientific American calls Lott’s claims out for what they are: false. Lott has a history of fudging data and was caught writing reviews of his own work under the name Mary Rosh, a woman who claimed to be an adoring student of his.

8) Energy & Commerce Committee Holds Forum on Public Health Solutions to Gun Violence

Members of the US House of Representatives on the Energy & Commerce Committee, including Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr., recently held a Democratic Forum on public health solutions to gun violence at the Library of Congress. Watch video of the forum here.

9) Trump’s “Not Qualified” Judicial Nominee Has Record of Gun Lobby Favoritism

President Trump has nominated 36-year-old Brett Talley for a lifetime appointment to a federal judgeship, despite the fact that he has never tried a case in his life. The American Bar Association unanimously deemed him “not qualified” for the job.

About one month after the massacre at Sandy Hook, Mr. Talley pledged total support for the NRA “financially, politically and intellectually”. When asked by Senator Feinstein whether he would recuse himself from cases involving weapons, Talley refused. Read more here.

Upcoming Events:

December: Worcester Gun Buyback

December 6, 7:00pm; Northborough, Trinity Church: Candlelight Vigil for Gun Victims and Anniversary of Sandy Hook

December 10, 10:30am; Arlington, Calvary United Methodist Church: Remembrance for Sandy Hook Victims and Pledge Drive for Action on Gun Violence

December 13, 7:00pm; Beverly, Ellis Square in Beverly: Candlelight Vigil for Victims and Call for Action on Gun Violence, hosted by the Beverly Multifaith Coalition (in case of rain, the location will change to First Parish Church in Beverly)

December 14, 6:15pm; Boston, First Church in Boston: Candlelight Vigil for Gun Victims and Anniversary of Sandy Hook, hosted by Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence

December 14, 7:00pm; Hyannis, First Baptist Church: Candlelight Vigil for Gun Victims and Anniversary of Sandy Hook, hosted by Cape Cod Grandmothers Against Gun Violence

December 16 & 17, time TBD; Williamstown, St. John’s Episcopal Church: Candlelight Vigil for Gun Victims and Anniversary of Sandy Hook

Date and time TBD; Amesbury, Main Street Congregational UCC: Candlelight Vigil for Gun Victims and Anniversary of Sandy Hook

Date and time TBD; Church on the Hill (MAUCC): Candlelight Vigil for Gun Victims and Anniversary of Sandy Hook

Spring 2018: Advocacy Training Workshop hosted by Stop Handgun Violence

Thank you for reading through to the end and for your commitment to preventing gun violence. Your weekly action is to sign the letter thanking Rep. Marjorie Decker for her courageous stance on gun violence prevention.

Stay safe and strong. And have a very happy Thanksgiving!

The Stop Handgun Violence Team