NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 14, 2013

Anti-violence group wraps up work on new study

(Continued)

“Now that almost a year has passed since the unthinkable gun violence committed in Newtown, Connecticut, I am proud that we are poised to take action and address these types of horrific crimes in a comprehensive manner,” said DeLeo, who just returned from a trip to Israel, in a statement. “I look forward to receiving the group’s report.”

The House and Senate don’t meet again in formal sessions to act on major bills until January.

While McDevitt is looking for yardsticks overseas, he said Massachusetts has a good record compared to the 49 other states.

“Massachusetts is doing really, really well vis-a-vis other states,” McDevitt said, noting the state has the third lowest rate of gun ownership – the first being Hawaii – the second lowest rate of gun deaths, a low number of gun suicides and a homicide rate that is 2.5 times lower than the country as a whole, though he said the gun violence is still “way too high.” McDevitt said reducing the number of lawfully owned guns in the state is not an aim of the task force.

As McDevitt seeks consensus and unanimous support on a raft of recommendations, he said the gun debate “goes to extremes really quickly” and the “vast majority” of lawful, responsible gun owners feel maligned by the way the conversation is framed.

“They feel that some of this debate from the gun control side really demonizes them,” McDevitt said.

Asked whether the task force has considered limits on the types of firearm hardware available in the state, or limiting the number of firearms that can be sold – an idea backed by Gov. Deval Patrick – McDevitt said the group had “looked at” both those ideas.

Naughton, his Senate co-chairman James Timilty, a Walpole Democrat, and Rep. Elizabeth Poirier, a North Attleborough Republican, will hold a listening session on gun violence in North Attleborough Monday evening.

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