Earlier this morning, the JCRC joined with Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, legislators, advocacy organizations and community leaders as Governor Deval Patrick signed a new piece of gun violence prevention legislation into law. Over the past year and half, JCRC, in partnership with the MA Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, has advocated for comprehensive gun legislation to address the tremendous social costs of the existing loopholes in gun laws. Given the lack of any viable federal legislation, our advocacy focused on tightening laws in Massachusetts. And while this bill is not perfect, as no bill ever is, it meets many of the goals that the Coalition set out to accomplish, including:
- Bringing the Commonwealth into compliance with the Federal NICS background check system;
- Requiring background checks for private gun sales;
- Giving police chiefs greater discretion in issuing rifle and shotgun licenses;
- Advancing suicide awareness and prevention in the Commonwealth through a multifaceted approach;
- Ensuring the collection of important data to inform future policy-making efforts.
“We congratulate the Governor and Legislature for passing meaningful legislation aimed at addressing the impact of gun violence in all of our communities,” said Jeremy Burton, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council. “We stand with our allies resolute in our commitment to create safe streets, neighborhoods and homes.”
“In 2014, more than 6,700 people have been killed due to gun violence in the United States,” said Jill Goldenberg, President of the Board of JCRC. “We renew our call upon Congress to work together and pass comprehensive federal legislation to put an end to this senseless violence.”
There is still work to be done to ensure effective implementation and the JCRC is committed to continuing the momentum in the coming months and years.