After the recent accidental shooting death of a nine year old by the hands of his 14-year-old brother in the city of Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh plans a gun buyback program. The program is similar to events seen in other U.S. cities, in an attempt to curb gun related violence.
The newly elected mayor said they were still working out the details of the plan and just how the collection of firearms would work exactly. This would include how much the city would pay an individual for turning in their firearm. The mayor is working closely on the project with Boston’s recently appointed police commissioner, William Evans.
It would only be a “short solution” admits the mayor on Saturday. The mayor is frustrated with the result of wrongful deaths and wants to know where the guns are and more importantly, “who has these guns.” Walsh states he is not trying to ban firearms, but blames the rash of shootings on out of state firearm holders, which have lax laws. Walsh wants all Boston gun owners to “register their guns,” a simple request not easily accepted by backers of the Second Amendment.
Boston has seen an increase in gun violence this year with eight homicides by firearms as of February 2, not including Friday’s shooting of a 9-year-old boy, quadrupling those from the same period last year.
Gun buyback programs have been launched in other cities around the nation in the past several years. New York, LA, Philadelphia, and Seattle among others aiming to reduce the amount of crime involving guns. However these plans have not succeeded without controversy.
Arizona’s buyback plan differed from some other states when lawmakers in the state advised the participating cities not to destroy the guns collected. Advocates of the the program were conflicted with the request; removing and destroying the weapons would prohibit a reentry into society, back into the wrong hands.
Gun rights advocates argue that crime may be reduced by the increased gun ownership of responsible citizens, making criminals pause to fear not only law enforcement, but also possibilities of consequences delivered by average citizens attempting to defend themselves against criminal violent action. Certainly not all are in agreement.
Boston has witnessed an increase in fatal shootings within the past year. Since the start of the new year, eight homicides stemming from firearms have been reported. The last buyback program in the city stemmed in 2006. Ann Marie Crowell understands painfully accidental shootings. Her 12-year-old son died during a 1997 accidental shooting, when his best friend fired the gun. Crowell states even “just one gun” that is turned in, could mean a life saved.
Walsh joined former mayor Michael Bloomberg and Thomas Menimo’s organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns, along with others lobbying towards restrictions on the ownership of guns. The debate will be on-going as the fine line between gun rights and gun restrictions are battled between citizens and lawmakers. It is expected Bloomberg’s successor, newly appointed Bill de Blasio will also join the call for restrictions on firearms.
by Aaron Thompson