Boston, MA — The electronic counter on the 252×20-foot Stop Handgun Violence billboard on the Massachusetts Turnpike, which records and tallies daily American gun deaths since the Newtown shootings based on historical averages, will hit 50,000 tomorrow – a number that is more than 10 times the number of Americans killed in the Iraq war over 10 years and 20 times the number of Americans killed in Afghanistan over 14 years.
That is 50,000 Americans killed by guns in just 19 months.
“This horrific death toll should be enough to convince Congress to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. Instead, during the same period, we have seen private sales background checks fail to pass in the US Senate and many states have actually made it easier for forbidden purchasers to get guns,” said John Rosenthal, founder of Stop Handgun Violence. “The fact that Congress has not done anything about this is shameful, especially since there have been another 74 school shootings since Sandy Hook. How many more Americans have to die before Congress takes action?”
Massachusetts currently has legislation pending that would address some of the problems in the existing Federal legislation and strengthen the Commonwealth’s laws. House Bill #4121, introduced by Speaker Robert DeLeo, includes among its provisions requirements to perform background checks for all private gun sales, eliminating an important loop-hole left by Federal law. The new law would also allow police the same licensing discretion for rifles and shotguns as they have for handguns and bring Massachusetts into compliance with mental health reporting required by Federal law.
“Stop Handgun Violence fully supports Speaker Bob DeLeo’s proposed legislation and courageous leadership. We’re hopeful that the Massachusetts House and Senate will pass this comprehensive legislation before the session ends on July 31st and keep the Commonwealth a national leader on gun violence prevention.” said John Rosenthal. “The US Congress may be incapable of responsibly addressing the national epidemic of gun violence, but that should not stop us here. To the contrary, given the NRA’s chokehold on Congress, it is that much more important that we act at the state level and encourage other states to adopt Massachusetts effective gun laws.”
Stop Handgun Violence is a non-profit organization committed to the prevention of gun violence through education, public awareness, effective law enforcement and common sense gun laws. The organization does not seek to restrict Constitutional rights, but advocates only for common sense legislation that will help save lives. For more information, go to www.stophandgunviolence.org.