For Immediate Release
June 30, 2016
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
BOSTON - Thursday, June 30, 2016 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined U.S. Congresswoman Katherine Clark, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Speaker Robert DeLeo, Attorney General Maura Healey, Congressman Joseph Kennedy and Sheriff Steven Tompkins and elected officials from across the Commonwealth for a rally on the Massachusetts State House steps to demand action on ending gun violence.
"Gun violence is a defining issue of our time," said Mayor Walsh. "I'm proud to stand here with other Massachusetts leaders to demand action on gun control -- even one gun-related death is too many. We cannot afford inaction on a national level, and I urge our leaders in Congress to pass the common-sense gun legislation our country supports and needs."
Mayor Walsh's remarks at the rally builds on the City of Boston's commitment to stopping the gun violence that affects too many families. Under the leadership of Mayor Walsh and Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, the City of Boston and the Boston Police Department (BPD) have made gun violence reduction and combating illegal gun trafficking a top priority in the City. The City has developed and implemented a holistic approach that engages with partners at the federal, state, local and community levels. Since 2014 to 2016, 2,192 firearms have been recovered by the BPD.
These efforts start with positive interactions on the streets and in school classrooms, include proactive prevention and diversion for at-risk youth and their families, and provide pathways away from violence for those who are ready to make a change. Community policing is a long term investment in partnerships and relationship building that creates trust, provides those in need connections to services and opportunities and supports early prevention and problem solving.
Specific initiatives established by the City include:
New England Regional Gun Violence SummitThe New England Regional Gun Violence Summit is an initiative established by Mayor Walsh in 2014 that brings together city leaders from across New England to work collaboratively to share strategies to reduce gun violence and reduce trafficking of illegal firearms. This regional partnership focuses on collaboration and open dialogue about the reality of gun violence in New England cities. In FY16, two Summits were convened, one in November 2015, and another in April 2016. To date, significant actions have been taken by cities across the region, a result of the direct connections made between cities and law enforcement agencies with field experts and community partners.
Arms With Ethics Regional Pilot ProgramThrough a $25,000 grant from the Boston Foundation (TBF), the non-profit Arms With Ethics will work with Boston to lead a multi-city pilot program in the New England Region to develop customized law enforcement-led projects focused on preventing the illegal flow and illegal use of guns.
Replica Hand Gun BanIn November 2015, Mayor Walsh signed an ordinance banning replica handguns in public spaces. Given the authentic look of many of the replica handguns on the street, residents and even police officers have a difficult time determining what a real firearm versus an imitation firearm is.
Responsible Purchasing InitiativeIn conjunction with the Arms with Ethics Responsible Gun Vendor Initiative, going forward BPD will require all firearm vendors and retailers who respond to bids for the purchase of Department firearms to complete a survey about responsible gun vendor practices and include their responses to the survey with their bid response
These responses will be included as part of the overall bid package, and will be evaluated by the Department to ensure the vendors and retailers are following best practices in their own company to prevent illegal gun sales and theft.
Piece for Peace Buyback Program The gun buyback program is a proactive campaign to take guns off Boston's streets. The buyback program asks city residents to turn-in their gun(s) at designated drop-off locations citywide in return for a $200 Visa gift card. The "no questions asked" program allows individuals to anonymously dispose of firearms without fear of charges for illegal possession when turning in the weapon at a designated drop-off location.
Community EngagementPeace Walks with clergy and other community partners in neighborhoods most impacted by violence. These took place daily in August and September, and will be continuing once a week until Christmas
This year, Commissioner Evans created a Social Justice Task Force, comprised of community leaders and advocates to advise him on ways to improve the department and strengthen community trust.