COALITION IN THE NEWS
We have a law that could reduce gun violence — if only more knew about it
by Chandra Thomas Whitfield from Boston Globe Magazine
Massachusetts is among 17 states, plus the District of Columbia, with a “red flag” law letting relatives or members of a household — not just law enforcement — petition a court for an “extreme risk protection order” to temporarily seize the guns of a person believed to be a danger to themselves or others. New York joined the list last August, more than a year after Massachusetts, and already has emerged as a leader, becoming the first to let school personnel apply for such an order. Governor Andrew Cuomo also announced a statewide education campaign, including a call center to field questions from family members, police, and educators. By November, he’d already hosted two conferences, with a third scheduled for early 2020. It’s past time for Massachusetts to follow the lead and launch its own large-scale public awareness campaign.
During the Massachusetts red flag law’s first year, 20 petitions for an extreme risk protection order, or ERPO, were filed, with 14 approved, the Globe reported. That’s at least 14 lives potentially saved. Even if it were one life, I would still consider it a resounding success. But as a journalist who’s reported extensively on domestic violence, I can’t help but wonder whether some of the heart-breaking tragedies that have occurred here in the past 18 months could have been prevented if more people knew about extreme risk protection orders.
What can Nevada learn from Massachusetts about gun control?
by Brian Bahouth from Nevada Capital News
“I do feel like that was the tipping point when people saw these young children being killed. Folks started to understand that there were ways that we could prevent this from happening. Folks got on board with trying to prevent it from happening, so I feel like that was a real moment in time. Another moment in time was certainly Parkland, which helps with some other more recent legislation. Because the folks at that point, were really energized to do something around these issues. Unfortunately, change often comes about because of tragedy, and I really wish it didn’t take these tragic events in order for change to happen.”
The heart of the Massachusetts gun laws is a close connection to people on the ground, local police making direct contact with gun owners, sometimes eye-to-eye. Zakarin is looking for the federal government to enact a gun control law that sets a high standard for gun ownership but also empowers and supports local authorities to manage the licensing of gun owners in a way the faraway federal government cannot.
Read the full story here.