Massachusetts has some of the strongest gun laws in the country and they’re working. We have the lowest rate of gun deaths in America. And we achieved those results by following one simple strategy: strong gun laws save lives.
This year, I beat the gun lobby in federal court when they tried to overturn our state’s assault weapons ban. Massachusetts is one of just a handful of states with such a ban, passed by Democrats in the Legislature and signed by a Republican Governor two decades ago. I won’t let the gun lobby put our students and families at risk by making it easier to obtain weapons of war.
I have also worked to defend our laws that prevent people with a felony, a firearms-related conviction, or a history of domestic violence from getting a license to carry. Police chiefs have the discretion to deny gun licenses to people they deem unsuitable and we’re now working to pass an Extreme Risk Protection law, or ERPO, that would temporarily prevent people deemed to be a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing guns or ammunition.
Still, 60 percent of the guns used in crimes in our state come from outside our borders, from states with much weaker gun laws. That’s why I am still pushing for national reform.
We need universal background checks for everyone who wants to buy a gun. We need Congress to fund gun violence research. We need to update our information-sharing systems so that we can trace every gun used in a crime and stop illegal transfers.
We need to invest in prevention programs that train students and teachers to recognize the warning signs of at-risk behavior and prevent tragedies before they happen.
I will never stop fighting for these reforms so long as children have to interrupt math class to participate in active shooter drills, or students don’t feel safe walking home from school. For me, one gun death is one too many. This is not the America we grew up in and it’s not a reality we can accept.