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Patrick, Menino Push for Stronger Gun Laws

President Barack Obama, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino all promised renewed focus on the issue this week.

The president, governor and Boston mayor all spoke out about gun control this week, promising to push for stronger regulation in the wake of the Newtown, CT school shooting that left 28 people dead.

On Tuesday, while outlining his proposals for the 2013-14 state legislative session, Mayor Thomas Menino said public safety remains an important focus for the city. Included in his legislative initiatives is an act that would establish a gun offender registry in the commonwealth.

Menino, who serves as co-chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, said the group’s push for new legislation was “about making our streets safer.”

State legislation

On Wednesday, Governor Deval Patrick filed new legislation designed to strengthen gun control by enhancing background checks for individuals seeking gun licenses, requiring gun purchasers to undergo background checks at gun shows and reducing access to high-powered rounds of ammunition, among other changes.

“I am encouraged by the palpable consensus in our Legislature that the time for action is now," Patrick said in an official statement about the proposal. "All of us must pull in the same direction to bring about real change in this state and across the country.”

Also on Wednesday, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden held a press event announcing plans to reduce gun violence nationwide through a series of executive orders and a renewed push for legislative action.

Responding to the plan, Menino commended Obama and Biden on their “leadership and courage” and echoed the president’s call to Congress.

“In nearly 20 years as Boston’s mayor, I have watched with frustration as our government has been bullied by special interests and ignored its duty to protect our citizens from gun violence. At long last, President Obama’s historic proposal brings Washington in line with the needs of our nation, our families – and, most importantly, our children and grandchildren, who look to us believing that our streets and schools, playgrounds and movie theaters, should be places of safety and joy, not conflict and mass murder,” Menino said in a statement.

President's plan

The Obama Administration's plan features 23 executive actions, including:

• Improving the federal background check system by removing barriers to information and encouraging federal and state agencies to cooperate more in sharing important information for background checks;

• Launching a national campaign on safe and responsible gun ownership; reviewing safety standards for gun locks and gun safes;

• Providing law enforcement, first responders and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations;

• Providing incentives for schools to hire school resource officers;

• Clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover; and other items.

The plan is the result of a month-long task force led by the vice president.

“We can't put this off any longer,” Obama said Wednesday, mentioning the more than 900 Americans who have died from gun violence in the past month.

“So I’m putting forward a specific set of proposals based on the work of Joe’s task force. And in the days ahead, I intend to use whatever weight this office holds to make them a reality,” Obama said. “Because while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there is even one life that can be saved, then we've got an obligation to try.”

The president also said he plans to push Congress to restore a ban on military-style assault weapons, to require a universal background check for anyone trying to buy a gun and to “get tougher” on people who buy guns and sell them to criminals.

Ryan McGuire January 17, 2013 at 09:38 PM
This article and many like it selectively choose which component's of Deval Patrick's plan to discuss. What is not reviewed here is the reduction in legal magazine capacity from 10 rounds to 7 as well as a clause indicating that anyone who lawfully owns a magazine over 10 rounds will have one year to sell or destroy said magazines. This is confiscation of lawfully owned property through legislation and it is downright wrong. Does anyone truly believe that dropping magazine capacity from 10 rounds to 7 will prevent a single crime? This is pure political posturing and is absolute nonsense. I will be forced to move out of the state that I grew up in as I'm unwilling to surrender private property that I legally own. WAKE UP!
Robert gillis January 18, 2013 at 12:30 AM
Guns used in new town were all hand guns!
Just a person! January 18, 2013 at 01:50 AM
It's funny both the mayor and the President both have armed guards wherever they go as well as the Governor, and also their family. So apparently what's good for the goose is not for the gander! Also if you notice in all their speeches on gun control or laws they use the term "illegal " well why don't we get rid of all the illegals that are in this country also?
your average joe January 18, 2013 at 05:33 PM
How about enforcing the laws on the books ALREADY!!!. The state of mass has a manditory one year jail term for illigal possissoin of a firearm.Has anyone heard of that being applied? Of course not! To many laws on the books and not enough enforced.
Rocco Giuliano January 21, 2013 at 09:21 PM
Vermont has the lowest incidence of gun violence in the country and NO laws regulating purchase, possession or carry (including concealed). In the meantime, cities with strict gun laws are free fire zones.

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