Massachusetts Gun Reform: Week of 11/6

Today we are all mourning another tragic mass shooting, this time at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas where at least 26 have died and dozens more injured. We all know by now that the response of the gun lobby and the politicians they have paid to put in office will be to delay discussion of legislative solutions indefinitely (“it’s too soon to talk about gun control”).

We know it’s not too soon; it’s too late. We all know it.

While federal legislation may have little chance of success, the Massachusetts’ legislature has shown–as recently as last week–that the Commonwealth will take action to protect it’s citizens in the face of danger. Please join us by clicking here to send an email to your State Representative, urging them to support Extreme Risk Protection Order legislation that allows concerned family members and law-enforcement officers to petition for the temporary removal of guns from people who are deemed by the court to be a danger to themselves or others.

If, like us, you are scared for our country and inspired to act, take two minutes to find your State Representative here and give them a call, asking them to support H3081, An Act Establishing Extreme Risk Protection Orders. Thank you for your commitment to a safer state and a safer nation.

Here’s your weekly gun reform update:

1) 26 Church-Goers Killed and 20 Wounded in Texas Mass Shooting

John Rosenthal, founder of Stop Handgun Violence, published a statement in response to the latest tragedy: “…Sutherland Springs, Texas lost 7% of their population today. How many others will be shot and killed in vain?” Read the full statement here.

2) 33 State AGs Urge Congress to Assess Bump Stocks

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey lead a coalition of 33 state Attorneys General who sent a letter to U.S. Congressional leadership, expressing concern about how bump stocks may be used to evade the laws that regulate machineguns.¬†Read the letter and the Mass AG office’s press release.

3) Massachusetts Bans Bump Stocks and Trigger Cranks

After both the Massachusetts House and Senate passed budget amendments banning bump stocks, a conference committee reconciled the two versions and effectively banned bump stocks in Massachusetts. Acting-Governor Karyn Polito signed the bill into law while Governor Baker was on vacation, making Massachusetts the first state to ban the accessory–used to mimic automatic gunfire–since they were used in the Las Vegas strip massacre last month. More here.

4) Rhode Island Governor Signs Bill to Disarm Domestic Abusers

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed the Protect Rhode Island Families Act into law on October 30, after it was passed by the state Assembly on September 19. The new law prohibits gun possession by people convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence and those subject to court-issued protective orders. The law also ensures that those subject to the prohibition actually turn in their guns when they become prohibited from possessing them.

5) Northeastern Report on Effectiveness of 2014 MA Gun Law Published

The study, lead by Director of Northeastern’s Institute on Race and Justice Jack McDevitt, found that despite Massachusetts having some of the strictest gun permitting laws in the country, 97% of applicants for gun licenses are accepted. This strongly refutes the gun lobby’s argument that strict gun permitting laws make it difficult for law-abiding citizens to obtain guns.

6) New England Journal of Medicine Calls Firearm Deaths a “Health Care Crisis”

“What would happen if on one day more than 50 people died and over 10 times that many were harmed by an infectious disease in the United States? Likely, our nation’s esteemed and highly capable public health infrastructure would gear up to care for those harmed and study the problem,” the journal published in an editorial.¬†

7) Washington State AG Defends Background Checks and Wins

Bob Ferguson, the Attorney General of Washington state, successfully defended a voter-approved initiative that expanded the state’s background check requirements in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Read more from the Washington AG’s Office here.

8) Must-Read Studies Released on Illegal Gun Trafficking

A number of ground-breaking studies on gun trafficking were published in a social science journal this week, including one about the sources of Boston’s crime guns. The researchers found that many are imported from southern states, and an increasing number come from neighboring New Hampshire and Maine. The researchers suggest solutions to the trafficking sources they discovered, including one-gun-a-month legislation.

Thank you for reading and for your commitment to preventing gun violence. Please take the weekly action if you haven’t already.

Stay safe and strong.

The Stop Handgun Violence Team