City, News

Markey, Walsh call for other states to uphold stricter gun laws


Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and Sen. Ed Markey announced new gun legislation that encourages other states to adhere to the strict laws already in place in Massachusetts Monday afternoon.

Revealed during a press conference at the Boston Police Department Headquarters in Roxbury, the act will be called the Making America Safe and Secure Act, or the MASS Act. The decree will permit the Department of Justice to sanction grants totaling $20 million for every fiscal year of the next five to states that carry out and uphold widespread licensing standards for gun owners and dealers.

Ann Haaser, a member of the Strategy Team for the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, wrote in a Facebook message that other states should follow or create laws similar to those of Massachusetts.

“Massachusetts has earned an A- rating from the Giffords Law Center for our state’s effective gun laws,” Hasser wrote. “… However, too many lives are still being taken by gun violence every year in MA, and there is more work to be done.”

Haaser wrote that in Massachusetts, the local licensing authority uses discretion to conclude whether or not to distribute a license to carry a firearm which could include a history of domestic disputes, explosive behavior or substance abuse.

“Local law enforcement often has information about an individual which may lead them to believe that the individual would pose a danger with a firearm,” Hasser wrote. “… The licensing process makes sure that guns are purchased and used by responsible people, and should be in place in every state to protect citizens from gun violence.”

Massachusetts has the nation’s lowest rate of gun deaths out of every state, Markey said during the press conference.

Garrett Newell, 25, of Brighton, said gun laws should be imposed through the federal government so the country is protected equally.

“I don’t think whether or not one state is safer than the other means that gun laws should be stricter in certain states than they should be in others,” Newell said. “There are dangerous people everywhere, so it’s definitely something that should be looked at federally and not state by state.”

Jim Wallace, the executive director of the Gun Owners’ Action League, a nonprofit organization that works to protect and defend the Second Amendment, contradicted Markey, saying Massachusetts enacts some of the worst gun regulations in the country.

“The gun laws in the Commonwealth are so convoluted and difficult to understand that only a handful of people have a reasonable grasp of them,” Wallace said. “Even the state officials are often left with no answers for lawful citizens seeking to comply with them … So what lead would the nation be following?”

Wallace said if legislators want to address the recent mass shootings, mental health should be the concentration.  

“If the handful of mass murderers we have witnessed were getting the treatment they needed, we would not be having these conversations,” Wallace said. “So, do we waste millions of dollars wrongly going after 100 million lawful gun owners, or do we use that money wisely to help a very small number of severely mentally ill people who need our help?”

Since 1994, Massachusetts has reduced gun deaths by 40 percent, Markey said during the press conference. He also said that he is against the idea to arm teachers and faculty with weapons during the school day, an initiative proposed by the Present Donald Trump’s Administration.

Matthew DiBartolomeo, 23, of Brighton, said other states should pursue the strict laws enacted in Massachusetts.

“They do a pretty good job of keeping it safe and clean in Massachusetts, which I think is impressive for a major city,” DiBartolomeo said. “I … tend [to lean] more on the side to prevent access to guns just for the fact that I don’t see a real practical use to having one. I can appreciate the freedom to bear arms, but there’s no reason to buy semi-automatic weapons.”

Alex Ajavi-Montalvan, 28, of Dorchester, said he thinks it’s too easy for someone to purchase a firearm — an issue that he believes appears not just throughout the country, but also in Massachusetts specifically.

“It’s common sense, but people get really defensive because they use the argument that ‘they’re going to take our guns away,’ which is very plain and simple and has no substance,” Ajavi-Montalvan said. “I feel like people should have the freedom to purchase whatever they want, but if it gets to the point where it’s endangering other people, I feel like [what they’re purchasing] should be harder to access and to buy.”

More Articles

Comments are closed.