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


(PHOTO CAPTION: Senator Edward J. Markey with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins, Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, and Massachusetts police chiefs and gun safety advocates at announcement of MASS Act legislation, March 12, 2018)


Washington (March 14, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today introduced legislation that would incentivize states to adopt gun licensing standards similar to those in Massachusetts. Massachusetts has the lowest gun death rate in the country, in part because it has enacted some of the strongest and most effective gun laws 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, decide 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. Senator Markey’s legislation, the Making America Safe and Secure (MASS) Act, would authorize the Department of Justice to make grants totaling $20 million in each of the next five fiscal years to states that implement and maintain comprehensive licensing standards for gun owners and dealers.


“Massachusetts gun licensing laws should serve as a model for the nation,” said Senator Markey. “And the involvement of police chiefs in the licensing process is key. They have the direct responsibility and vested interest in making sure that those who should not be allowed to own a gun do not get their hands on dangerous weapons. A license in Massachusetts is only given with the Police Chief Seal of Approval.


“From democratic independence to universal health care, America has looked to Massachusetts to be a national leader,” continued Senator Markey. “I believe that America should, once again, look to us to lead the way on gun safety laws. The MASS Act will encourage other states to implement our proven methods, which have been successful in reducing deaths from gun violence.”


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


“Senator Markey is exactly right. The laws we have enacted in Massachusetts are keeping our students and families safe,” said John Rosenthal, co-founder of Stop Handgun Violence. “If we can share that knowledge with the rest of the country, it could prevent the kind of heartbreak and tragedy we are seeing on a daily basis due to gun violence. States with tough gun laws have lower gun fatality rates than those with lax gun laws. I thank Senator Markey for his leadership on this issue and call on Congress to pass this critical legislation.”


“Four years ago, Project RIGHT hosted a community roundtable discussion with Senator Markey to discuss common sense legislation to combat Gun Violence and to fund federal gun violence research,” said Michael Kozu, Interim Co-Director of Project RIGHT. “We come today to support Senator Markey's proposed Making America Safe and Secure (MASS) Act as a vehicle to encourage other states to adopt stronger gun licensing standards.  We in the community, who experience the impact of gun violence, are committed to working with Senator Markey in taking action and making a difference.”


“All doctors know that it’s not enough for our patients to be healthy – we also want them to be safe. That’s why we support common-sense approaches – like Senator Markey’s MASS Act of 2018 – to keep firearms out of the hands of those who might do our patients harm,” said Henry L. Dorkin, MD, FAAP, President of the Massachusetts Medical Society.”