MA Gun Reform Update: Post-Parkland, Students lead the way

March 1, 2018

It’s been a very busy two weeks since the Parkland Massacre and our Statehouse lobby day the following day.

Generally, we end this newsletter with the upcoming events and deadlines, but we’ve decided to put them first this week, since there are so many important ones we want to bring your attention to them.

  • March 1st (Thursday) – Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety & Security (EOPSS) biennial firearms report deadline.

In the news:


Massachusetts has joined a coalition of northeastern states sharing gun data. You can read more about it here.

Massachusetts teachers grade Trump’s ill-advised ideas to reduce gun violence, they think it is “simply outrageous.” Read the full article here.

Harvard University School of Public Health, Mothers For Justice & Equality, and U.S. Senator Ed Markey joined in a gun violence prevention event in Boston.

Massachusetts students plan walkouts and a lobby day for March 14th, plus a March on March 24th to support gun violence prevention in the wake of the Parkland school shooting.

In Lowell, a 20-year-old woman has been arrested in connection with a fatal shooting.

A Medford middle school principal is on leave after not reporting ammunition found at the school over winter break.

Elsewhere in New England:

Rhode Island: Governor Gina Raimondo (D-RI) signed an executive order establishing an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) policy in that state.  Rhode Island Legislators have filed at least two versions of ERPO legislation including one bill co-sponsored by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (D-Cranston). They have the support of local law enforcement. Plus check out the debate between our friends at the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence and the local gun rights group.

Vermont: Vermont is fast tracking ERPO legislation sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Sears (D-Bennington).  His committee unanimously reported out the bill favorably.  Governor Phil Scott (R-VT) wants the legislation fast-tracked. Meanwhile, a local teen has been accused of plotting a mass shooting at a Poultney school. One Vermont Catholic Bishop has become vocal after the mass shooting in Florida “This must stop. It is not normal.”

New Hampshire: The New Hampshire Senate has agreed to consider giving local school boards explicit authority to ban guns, and the New Hampshire House of Representatives has voted down (231-110) gun carrying on state college campuses. Those are two (albeit small) wins for the good guys.

Maine: Mainers, including author Stephen King, are sharply criticizing U.S. Rep Bruce Poliquin (R-ME-2nd) for accepting campaign donations from the NRA totaling more than $200,000. Our friends at the Maine Gun Safety Coalition are hosting an advocacy day to keep guns out of schools, we support their common sense call to action.

A little further south:

Governors of Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have formed the “States for Gun Safety” coalition to fight gun violence collectively.

Across the United States:

California: Stanford Law Professor John J. Donahue III participated in a Q & A about gun policy in America. When describing whether the U.S. is working to prevent individuals with known mental illness from purchasing guns he said “…the Trump Administration and the House of Representatives teamed up to overturn an Obama-era regulation that added 75,000 severely mentally disabled individuals who were collecting disability benefits to the existing background check system, which shows that the frequent NRA invocation that the problem is mentally ill individuals with guns is simply another part of the charade to divert attention from reasonable gun safety measures.” You can read the full transcript here. The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a case challenging California’s law for a waiting period on handgun sales.

Parkland: In the wake of the Parkland shooting, New York Times created a slideshow of the deadliest school shootings in the U.S. The Parkland survivors confronted Senator Marco Rubio and other politicians at a CNN townhall in front of a live audience in Florida (spoiler alert: the students won the night). In a Harvard Gazette Q & A with Douglas Johnson, Johnson is encouraged by student activists, but thinks they need a blueprint to turn energy into policy. Survivors of the Parkland shooting boarded busses to Tallahassee last week to urge state lawmakers to take action on guns, the students were disappointed, but the pressure is mounting. A doctor who treated patients from the Parkland shooting wrote about the difference between AR-15 gunshot wounds and more typical low velocity handgun wounds.

Research: There is an updated version of David Hemenway’s informational book: Private Guns, Public Health. Read more here.

Gun industry update:

Locally, Boston based SimpliSafe has severed ties with the NRA. Across New England, beleaguered Sturm Ruger, headquartered in CT with a sizable plant in NH, has laid off seven hundreds workers within the past year.  Major American businesses selling consumer goods & services are quickly cancelling NRA discount programs, including Delta, United and First National Bank.  Dallas elected officials want the NRA to move its planned May 2018 convention elsewhere. Florida NRA lobbyist, Marion Hammer, has been publicly confronted by Parkland survivors and profiled in the New Yorker. Faith leaders and advocates have come up with many ways the gun manufacturers can help reduce gun violence, most noticeably using their market power.

A final note:

Thank you to our super volunteer Matt N. who combs the internet each week and compiles these stories for us. Thanks Matt!

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