Commonwealth has lowest gun death rate in the country in part because of strong and effective gun safety laws


Washington (July 1, 2019) – Massachusetts lawmakers Senator Edward J. Markey, Congressman Joe Kennedy III (MA-04), and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) have introduced the Making America Safe and Secure (MASS) Act, legislation that would incentivize states to adopt gun-licensing standards similar to those proven effective in Massachusetts. Massachusetts has comprehensive gun licensing laws, and not coincidentally, one of the lowest gun death rates in the nation. Since 1994, the Commonwealth has reduced gun deaths by 40 percent. Among the most effective of Massachusetts’s laws are the firearms licensing requirements under which local chiefs of police, or an authorized designee of the department, must determine whether to approve the issuance of a firearms license, a process that can include an in-person interview. Police chiefs also have tools to revoke or suspend a license if they find that someone should not be allowed to continue to hold a license. The MASS Actwould authorize the Department of Justice to make funding available to states that implement and maintain comprehensive licensing standards for gun owners and dealers.


“Massachusetts has some of the most life-saving gun safety laws on the books, and we should encourage other states to implement our proven methods and share in our success in reducing deaths from gun violence,” said Senator Markey. “No community should have to suffer the tragedy of gun violence because of the NRA’s stranglehold on commonsense federal gun policies. Strong gun licensing rules and robust police involvement are key to the strength of Massachusetts’s gun laws, and the MASS Act will encourage other states to implement these proven methods.”


“Instead of becoming numb to the daily carnage of gun violence that plagues big cities, small towns and everywhere in between, we can change our laws to prevent guns from falling into dangerous hands,” said Congressman Kennedy. “By strengthening gun licensing requirements, enhancing red flag laws and involving local law enforcement, we can build on our efforts to protect our communities from the gun violence that has left so many families and communities shattered. Our MASS Act will make clear that we will not back down or accept that nearly 100 gun deaths a day is just the price of our freedom.”


“Gun violence begets gun violence - causing intergenerational trauma that severely impacts families and communities in the Massachusetts 7th and across the country,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “By creating stricter guardrails around firearm purchasing and enforcing stronger gun safety laws, the MASS Act actively curbs the public health crisis that is gun violence. Here in Massachusetts, we regularly put forward bold, activist legislation and I am proud to join in partnership with my fellow Bay Staters to say enough is enough.”


A copy of the MASS Act can be found HERE. A one-page summary of the legislation can be found HERE.


“Incentivizing states to enact gun licensing programs is proven to prevent gun violence and keep communities safe,” said Kris Brown, President of Brady. “Massachusetts has provided a model for the nation on this front, and the MASS Act is a strong step towards expanding that success. We're proud to support this important legislation, and we thank Sen. Markey, Rep. Kennedy, and Rep. Pressley for their leadership on this issue.”


“Stop Handgun Violence is proud to support the MASS Act as reintroduced by Senator Markey,” said John Rosenthal, chair and co-founder, Stop Handgun Violence. “Firearm registration and law enforcement discretion in issuing licenses is an evidence-based policy that has proven to save lives in Massachusetts and other states that have enacted similar legislation. In fact, Massachusetts gun laws have reduced the rate of gun deaths by over 40 percent since 1994 and every state with stronger gun laws has lower gun death rates than every state with lax gun laws. We applaud Senator Markey’s leadership in this effort to save lives from gun violence.”


“The Making American Safe and Secure (MASS) Act” is common sense legislation that shares best practices that all states can learn from, so that we do not have to go through senseless tragedies caused by gun violence before we respond after families suffer a needless loss,” Michael Kozu, Interim Co-Director, Project RIGHT, Inc. “We can prevent this!”