Credit: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters
Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and gun control advocates held a rally at Faneuil Hall today as part of "No More Names: National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence," a 25-state national bus tour over a period of 100 days aimed at urging America’s leaders to support common-sense gun policies.
State officials joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns and local families of gun violence victims to voice support for background checks for gun buyers.
Speakers urged Congress to take another look at bipartisan background checks legislation that would help keep guns out of the hands of those with a criminal history or mental illness.
Participants also honored Menino for his leadership in the fight to reduce gun violence in Boston and across the country. Since 2006, Menino has co-chaired Mayors Against Illegal Guns with New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Over the last seven years since the bipartisan coalition was formed, it has grown from 15 members to more than 1,000 mayors and 1.5 million grassroots supporters nationwide – including 30 members and more than 51,000 supporters in the Bay State.
After the rally, advocates and attendees read the names of victims of gun violence in Massachusetts and those who have been killed with guns since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting in December 2012. Every day, 33 Americans are killed with guns across the nation.
“Too many innocent people have lost their lives to gun violence – not only on our streets and in our neighborhoods, but throughout our country,” Menino said.
“Mayors are on the front lines in this fight to crack down on gun crime and keep our communities safe. But with 33 Americans being killed by guns every day, this is a national epidemic that demands a national response from Washington. Along with the families of gun violence victims, law enforcement and residents from across our city, today I am calling on our leaders in Congress to stand up for the people they represent and support common-sense gun laws.”
Kim Odom, whose 13-year-old son Steven was shot and killed in Dorchester in 2007, called for new regulations to protect children.“After my son was shot to death just blocks away from our home five years ago, I saw firsthand how gun violence can tear apart families and leave a gaping void in the lives of those it affects.
“Every day, in urban and suburban communities alike, far too many of our children are losing their lives at the barrel of a gun in the wrong hands. To honor the memory of my son and to prevent other parents from experiencing the anguish of losing a child, it’s time for our elected officials to support common-sense measures – like comprehensive background checks – that will help save lives.”
Local gun owner Austin Dorr also participated in Wednesday’s rally.“As a gun owner, I know that with my Constitutional right to bear arms comes a responsibility to keep guns away from dangerous individuals,” he said.
“Background checks are the single most effective way to do just that, which is why 82 percent of gun owners nationwide support this sensible measure.”
Along with 15 other states and the District of Columbia, Massachusetts goes beyond federal law by requiring background checks before private handgun sales.
According to organizers, states that already require background checks for all handgun sales:
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- Thirty-eight percent fewer women are shot to death by an intimate partner than in other states, while the rate murdered by other means was nearly identical.
- The firearm suicide rate was 49 percent lower than in other states, even though people committed suicide in other ways at almost precisely the same rate.
- Thirty-nine percent fewer law enforcement officers were shot to death with handguns.