BOSTON MAYORAL CANDIDATES SPEAK ON THE ISSUE OF GUN VIOLENCE Part I

On September 6, members of the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence (MAPGV) teamed with the Dominican Development Center to ask eleven of Boston’s mayoral candidates three specific questions about gun violence. Four candidates replied and their full answers are below.

In addition, we have compiled the responses of ten candidates to the Dorchester Reporter’s July questionnaire, in which they were also asked to discuss how they would handle the issue of gun violence in Boston.  Thanks to the Dorchester Reporter for asking this question and making these answers part of the public record.

Please share this information with any Boston voter who cares about preventing gun violence. The MA Coalition is not endorsing any particular candidate for the office of Mayor of Boston.

Ellie Miller, Campaign Against Gun Violence
Magalis Troncoso, Dominican Development Center
David Webster, Advocates for Safe and Sound Gun Laws

PART 1:  Daniel Conley, John Connolly, Bill Walczak, and Marty Walsh responded to our three questions:

MACPGV: Several candidates have suggested that planning for gun violence prevention should be coordinated between neighborhood leaders, clergy, police, the public health department, and other city agencies. Do you agree? How will you help these alliances effectively reduce neighborhood gun violence?

English: Suffolk County (Massachusetts) Distri...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daniel Conley:

Yes, I strongly agree. I have spent much of my career working with neighborhood leaders, clergy, police, public health officials and other community members to reduce neighborhood gun violence. I have an unmatched record of accomplishment when it comes to public safety in general, and reducing gun violence in particular, going all the way back to my days as Assistant District Attorney. I was one of a small handful of law enforcement professionals selected to serve on task force aimed at reversing an alarming increase in youth violence in Boston in the late 1980′s, especially among gang members. This was the first chapters of what would become a nationally recognized success story – the Boston Miracle – and its highly effective strategy to reduce street violence. My commitment to reducing gun violence continued after I was elected to the Boston City Council where, as chair of the Public Safety Committee, among other things I authored a home rule petition that prevents convicted batterers from obtaining a firearms license. As District Attorney, my first efforts begin with education, prevention and early intervention and I have worked with others to institute numerous programs in our schools and communities aimed at steering kids towards safe, healthy choices.

Beyond this, I created the Gun Court that cut the time to dispose of gun cases by more than half and increased the conviction rate to approximately 90%. I was also the driving force behind landmark Anti-gang and Witness Intimidation legislation that increased penalties on those who use illegal guns and gave law enforcement greater tools to successfully prosecute gang members.

In addition, my office has for years been the lead agency in Boston’s Safe Neighborhoods Initiative which brings police, prosecutors, neighborhood businesses, organizations and residents together to address everything from quality of life issues to gun and gang violence in our hardest hit communities. We are also presently partnered with Stop Handgun Violence [sic] on “Operation L.I.P.S.T.I.C.K” (Ladies Involved in Putting a Stop to Inner City Killings), aimed at educating young women and steering them away from being used as straws to purchase, procure, hold or conceal illegal handguns for felons who can’t get guns legally.

MACPV: Many shootings in Boston have been committed by criminals who obtained their guns through an illegal gun market. Will your mayoral office pledge to ask the question “Where did the gun come from?” for each gun crime in the city and follow up by reporting the findings?

Daniel Conley: Yes. We ask this question in each and every case that comes before us and, as Mayor, will use the full weight of that office to do so as well. I have introduced groundbreaking legislation to further reduce gun violence by focusing on illegal handguns. Among other things, the legislation will mandate micro-stamping on all guns to make it easier for police to trace crime guns back to their owners; close loopholes that allow too many guns to find their way onto the street from the “secondary gun market”; and mandate insurance coverage for gun owners to cover the cost of injuries and other damages caused by their weapon, except in cases of self-defense.

3) Mayor Menino helped found Mayors Against Illegal Guns and served as co-chair. Will you join the Mayors Against Illegal Guns and are you willing to take a leadership role with this group? Will you continue to dedicate mayoral staff to MAIG.

Yes. I have already made this pledge and taken on a leadership role in this area by asking others to do the same. On August 27, 2013, I sent the following letter to candidates for Mayor of New York City:

Dear Candidate:

I am writing to you both in my capacity as District Attorney for Suffolk County, Massachusetts and as a candidate for mayor of the city of Boston.  Tomorrow, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) will be coming to Boston for a rally on its “No More Names” tour, which aims to commemorate the victims of gun violence, while also urging Congress to pass new federal gun safety legislation.

Their visit comes at an important time for both our cities, and for Mayors Against Illegal Guns itself.  As you are no doubt aware, both Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Mayor Tom Menino are stepping down from office and as co-chairs and founders of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.  Several weeks ago there was some debate over the future of the organization, including speculation that it might lose its direction or effectiveness with the loss of their leadership.  I am writing to secure your commitment, and to extend my own, to this critically important partnership and ensure that America’s cities continue to speak with a strong, united voice against illegal guns long into the future.

As the District Attorney for Boston and Suffolk County, I have made the fight against illegal guns a priority.  I’m especially proud of my office’s work in developing a special Gun Court which cut the time it takes to prosecute a gun case in half and increased the overall conviction rate to 90%.  I have also pressed for cutting edge legislation that focuses on illegal handguns, which are the main driver of violence in our cities.

While legislation such as this is critical, it also underscores why Mayors Against Illegal Guns must continue on: because regardless of what individual states or municipalities might do, we too often see our efforts at common sense gun control subverted by neighboring states with less stringent gun laws, or by federal laws that weaken or undermine our efforts.

MAIG’s strength comes from its membership.  Together, this bipartisan group of mayors from more than 900 cities and towns have shone a spotlight on the “gun show,” “fire sale,” and “terrorist watch list” loopholes for weapon purchases, and successfully lobbied against the Thune Amendment.  Together these mayors have also provided a critical counterbalance to tone-deaf lawmakers in Washington and their enablers in the National Rifle Association who steadfastly oppose even the most minor, common sense improvements to our gun laws.

A recent news story in Buzzfeed politics argued that “thanks to dozens of resignations and lost elections over the last few months,” as well as the imminent departures of Mayors Menino and Bloomberg, that MAIG was losing its influence and that many members “appear not quite to have signed on for that level of political heat.”

I was pleased to see some of the mayors push back against these claims, but the fact remains that for Mayors Against Illegal Guns to remain strong, it will require cities like New York and Boston to remain involved and pushing forward with other cities to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals, out of our schools and off of our streets.

In writing this letter, I do not presume that my election as Mayor is in any way certain, and I know that neither do you.  But the issue of gun violence is ever present.  I’ve seen its devastating impact firsthand, and the shattered families, lost potential, and tragic consequences that inevitably follow it.  I have no doubt that you, too, have had similarly heartbreaking experiences.  For these reasons I am respectfully asking that you join me in signaling your commitment to the important work of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.  I wish you, and the City of New York, best wishes in your upcoming election

            Sincerely.

Daniel F. Conley

********************

MACPV: Several candidates have suggested that planning for gun violence prevention should be coordinated between neighborhood leaders, clergy, police, the public health department, and other city agencies. Do you agree? How will you help these alliances effectively reduce neighborhood gun violence?

connollyJohn Connolly: I absolutely agree. The “Boston Miracle” that halted youth homicides in Boston in the 1990s was the result of a focused effort on comprehensive violence prevention through coalition-building between police and the community. We can reclaim that miracle. As mayor, I will ensure that Boston Police have the resources and the mandate to engage in genuine community policing by connecting with youth workers, clergy, community organizers, and the general public. But that’s not enough. Families in crisis struggle to keep their children in school and off the streets. As mayor, I will ensure that all city departments are communicating and coordinating services for families with high needs. When a family struggles with poverty, housing insecurity, addiction, or lack of access to high-quality education, the impact is felt across generations. By coordinating support services, our city can stop that cycle.

It’s worth emphasizing how important it is to provide an excellent education for every student in Boston if we want to reduce violence on our streets. As a former teacher, I have seen what happens when young people lose hope or come to believe that there are no opportunities for them. When a young person has no hope then he or she has nothing to lose. We instill hope and reduce crime and violence by providing every child with a high-quality education and by addressing the specific needs of every child, which includes providing services for children who suffer from trauma or mental health issues or who speak English as a second language. We also instill hope and reduce crime and violence by creating good jobs across the city. As renowned antiviolence leader Father Greg Boyle of Los Angeles says, “Nothing stops a bullet like a job.” I couldn’t agree more, and I believe strongly that ending violence on our streets requires that we improve educational and job opportunities for everyone.

MACPGV: Many shootings in Boston have been committed by criminals who obtained their guns through an illegal gun market. Will your mayoral office pledge to ask the question “Where did the gun come from?” for each gun crime in the city and follow up by reporting the findings?

John Connolly: Yes. Bostonians have a right to know where the guns are coming from that are used to create so much violence on our streets.

MACPGV: Mayor Menino helped found Mayors Against Illegal Guns and served as co-chair. Will you join the Mayors Against Illegal Guns and are you willing to take a leadership role with this group? Will you continue to dedicate mayoral staff to MAIG?

John Connolly: Yes. Although Massachusetts has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, we are susceptible to a flow of guns across our borders from states with weaker laws. A 2010 report from Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that Massachusetts had one of the lowest ratios of crime gun exports to crime gun imports in the United States. We have got to follow Mayor Menino’s example and work closely with leaders from other cities to take on the debate at the national level. I will be a strong voice in support of national background checks, assault weapon bans, limits on magazine sizes, and the closing of gun show loopholes to reduce the flow of guns into Boston from states with weaker laws. We can’t give up until we have better gun laws and safer streets.

********************

MACPV: Several candidates have suggested that planning for gun violence prevention should be coordinated between neighborhood leaders, clergy, police, the public health department, and other city agencies. Do you agree? How will you help these alliances effectively reduce neighborhood gun violence?

Bill WalczakBill Walczak: This method of community policing is something I’ve personally participated in and saw the transformation of the Codman Square community from one of drugs and violence to one of opportunity and hope. Bringing together community leaders with neighborhood institutions and the police helps create an atmosphere of cooperation that leads to the de-escalation of violence in neighborhoods. This is the formula that led to the “Boston Miracle” of the 1990′s that saw a precipitous drop in the number of shootings, murder, and acts of violence in Boston’s hardest hit neighborhoods. This strategy is already part of my public safety plan and will be a priority for my administration.

MACPV: Many shootings in Boston have been committed by criminals who obtained their guns through an illegal gun market. Will your mayoral office pledge to ask the question “Where did the gun come from?” for each gun crime in the city and follow up by reporting the findings?

Bill Walczak: The illegal gun market is fueling the escalation of gun violence in Boston and around Massachusetts – there is no doubt. However, this is not a market that is too elusive to be stopped. By creating an investigative culture that not only investigates shootings but also determines the path the gun took to get into the hands of the perpetrator is imperative to stopping the flow of illegal guns. As mayor, I will work to create this system within the BPD and support its work with state and federal agencies to help stop the flow of illegal guns into our city and our state.

MACPV: Mayor Menino helped found Mayors Against Illegal Guns and served as co-chair. Will you join the Mayors Against Illegal Guns and are you willing to take a leadership role with this group? Will you continue to dedicate mayoral staff to MAIG?

Bill Walczak: I have already committed to continuing Mayor Menino’s groundbreaking leadership in MAIG at the beginning of my campaign. I will dedicate mayoral staff and a BPD liaison to the group and ensure the continuation of Boston as a national leader in combating the public health problem of gun violence.

 ********************

 MACPGV: Several candidates have suggested that planning for gun violence prevention should be coordinated between neighborhood leaders, clergy, police, the public health department, and other city agencies. Do you agree? How will you help these alliances effectively reduce neighborhood gun violence?

martywalshwebMarty Walsh: Yes, I do agree. Since the majority of gun violence is committed by youth, I’d also add in Boston Public Schools, teen jobs programs, and case managers at city and non-profit programs for high-risk youth. It’s also important to add in the Boston Police Department, probation departments, Department of Youth Services, and Boston Reentry Initiative to help monitor frequent offenders upon release. There’s no way that any one group can coordinate this alone. It has to be a collaborative approach. Operation Ceasefire showed some success with this kind of model years ago, and the PACT program currently uses something like it. I would like to take it a step further to increase clinical services and work to provide at-risk elementary and middle school students with services before they start to carry guns. There also needs to be more community policing and increased police/student partnerships so that the trust of police that has been lost in some communities can be regained.

MACPGV: Many shootings in Boston have been committed by criminals who obtained their guns through an illegal gun market. Will your mayoral office pledge to ask the question “Where did the gun come from?” for each gun crime in the city and follow up by reporting the findings?

Marty Walsh: Yes. I will engage with municipal leaders in cities known as pathways for guns to Boston. I will engage elected officials and law enforcement across city and state lines to help prevent and remove the flow of illegal firearms from surrounding states with more lax gun laws to Boston. Partnering with fellow mayors in this fashion will highlight my collaborative and innovative approach to city government.

MACPGV: Mayor Menino helped found Mayors Against Illegal Guns and served as co-chair. Will you join the Mayors Against Illegal Guns and are you willing to take a leadership role with this group? Will you continue to dedicate mayoral staff to MAIG?

Marty Walsh: Yes. As I mentioned in the previous question, I hope to do even more by directly communicating across city and state lines to elected officials and law enforcement. As mayor I will continue Mayor Menino’s legacy on the fight against illegal guns, while also expanding upon it. I will also continue to dedicate mayoral staff to MAIG.

********************

MACPV: Several candidates have suggested that planning for gun violence prevention should be coordinated between neighborhood leaders, clergy, police, the public health department, and other city agencies. Do you agree? How will you help these alliances effectively reduce neighborhood gun violence?

john-barrosJohn Barros: Yes, it is well known that coordination among individuals, organizations, and public agencies working in the fields of community development, crime prevention, intervention and enforcement is essential to effective public safety.
My work at DSNI required building broad coalitions and engaging citizens with public agencies to work on difficult projects. I know how hard, and how essential, this kind of work is.

 

As Mayor I will support these agencies and departments in working together collaboratively and efficiently through the creation of a Community Response Authority, whose role will be to merge the work of public and non-profit human services agencies, public health agencies, law enforcement and community leaders to improve crime prevention and provide residents with the coordinated support they need to improve their lives.

To facilitate this coordination across such broad stakeholder groups, I will bring cutting-edge technology to engage the community in creating neighborhood stability. My administration will adapt mobile applications, 311 apps and other technologies currently used by residents to tell Community Response Agencies, in real time, where services are most needed.

MACPV: Many shootings in Boston have been committed by criminals who obtained their guns through an illegal gun market. Will your mayoral office pledge to ask the question “Where did the gun come from?” for each gun crime in the city and follow up by reporting the findings?

John Barros: Absolutely. And my administration won’t stop until we find out the answer to that question, and work to bring those illegal arms dealers to justice. 

Additionally, and tragically, those who seek to bring guns into our city are also finding legal buyers. Citizens for Safety has been asking the question “where did the gun come from?” for years and recently has shown that women are increasingly involved in buying and storing guns on behalf of others, usually felons who can’t buy them on their own. I will support CFS and groups like them to make sure that in every shooting, we know where the gun came from, and we work together to stop the flow of guns into our neighborhoods, whether through community engagement, empowerment of women, or through building a case against those who are profiting by selling illegal guns to our youth.

We will also be transparent with the data.  Cities aren’t made safer by hiding upsetting statistics.  My administration will be truthful with people and report our findings, and then we can work together to find solutions.

MACPGV: Mayor Menino helped found Mayors Against Illegal Guns and served as co-chair. Will you join the Mayors Against Illegal Guns and are you willing to take a leadership role with this group? Will you continue to dedicate mayoral staff to MAIG?

John Barros:  Yes, enthusiastically on all of the above. 

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
JA
X-NONE

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:”Cambria”,”serif”;
mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

Click here for Part 2, DORCHESTER REPORTER 2013 MAYORAL CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE

5 thoughts on “BOSTON MAYORAL CANDIDATES SPEAK ON THE ISSUE OF GUN VIOLENCE Part I

  1. Pingback: BOSTON MAYORAL CANDIDATES SPEAK ON THE ISSUE OF GUN VIOLENCE: Part 2 | Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence

  2. Pingback: Reducing Gun Violence – Where Do the Boston Mayoral Candidates Stand? | UU Mass Action Network

  3. Pingback: Suggestions for His Honor Martin J. Walsh, newly elected mayor of Boston | WebsterWeb's World

  4. Pingback: Boston Mayor-Elect Martin Walsh Opposes AR-15s for Police Arsenal

  5. Pingback: Champion News | Boston Mayor-Elect Martin Walsh Opposes AR-15s for Police Arsenal

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s