Mayor Walsh Convenes Mayors, Municipal Leaders, Law Enforcement for New England's First Regional Gun Trafficking Summit
April 24, 2014
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today hosted the first-ever New England regional summit to address gun trafficking, bringing together mayors, municipal officials, law enforcement, subject matter experts, and community partners to discuss leadership commitments to combat gun trafficking through regional partnerships. Today’s summit addressed three major areas: the need for full and effective law enforcement investigations; the kickoff of important research on illegal gun trafficking and drug patterns in Boston that will lay the groundwork for future action; and the proposed creation of a New England Regional Crime Gun Center.
“Today we’re establishing a bold and united new front in the battle against gun violence in Boston and across New England,” Mayor Walsh said. “We are all here—together—because we understand that the illegal trafficking of crime guns is a regional problem that demands a regional solution. Lawbreakers don’t respect borders. And more than that, they take advantage of our different jurisdictions to move the guns, the money, and the drugs that are involved in violent crime.”
The day-long summit included a wide range of sessions: a panel discussion with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the United States Attorney’s Office; research presentations on Boston’s illegal gun markets and online gun sales; a roundtable discussion on gun trafficking with city and town officials; a legislation update; and an hour-long discussion with community partners.
“Day in and day out, we see too many illegal guns on our streets, not just in Boston but across the region,” said Police Commissioner William Evans. “It is very important for us to come together to adopt a regional approach. Everyone must do their part to keep guns out of the wrong hands and continue the conversations that will help suppress gun violence.”
Grant to fund study of illegal gun trafficking in Boston
Mayor Walsh announced that the Program in Criminal Justice at Harvard University will conduct a detailed study on illegal gun trafficking in Boston. The study will be led by Professor Anthony Braga, who has worked for more than 20 years on violent crime issues in Boston, and will be supported by a $214,000 grant from Everytown for Gun Safety, Fund for a Safer Future, and the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston.
“Understanding the nature of a problem is critical for developing appropriate responses to it,” Professor Anthony Braga said. “The little we know about how illegal guns end up in the wrong hands in Boston is dated and anecdotal. Effective crime gun policy needs to be informed by timely and accurate scientific evidence, and this study aims to provide that.”
Braga will work in close partnership with the Boston Police Department and in consultation with the US Attorney’s Office and ATF. He will work in the Boston neighborhoods most affected by gun violence to better understand how criminals, juveniles, and other high-risk people acquire illegal guns on our streets.
“There is only so much that mayors and other local officials can do to protect their cities from guns trafficked across state lines – in fact, 90 percent of the guns found at crime scenes in New York City were originally bought out of state and brought to the city illegally,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety and policy advisor to former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “Everytown is proud to support research that will help us understand how guns are being trafficked in New England so we can crack down on this activity across the country and keep our communities safe.”
The study will use a variety of data and methods to answer questions such as where illegal guns come from and how illegal guns are acquired on Boston’s streets. The study is intentionally designed to make concrete policy recommendations on how the City can reduce the flow of illegal guns to high-risk individuals. A number of legislative, regulatory, enforcement, and community-based interventions will be identified and considered as a result of the study.
The Boston study will also provide a roadmap to help other jurisdictions in New England understand the nature of their illegal gun problems. Much of the Boston work will be used to inform a regional approach to shutting down cross-jurisdictional pipelines of drugs and guns. Professor Braga and his team will also be part of this regional effort and will provide analytical guidance to participating cities.
Proposed Creation of New England Regional Crime Gun Center
Mayor Walsh called on summit attendees to create a working group to support planning for a New England Regional Crime Gun Center. The center will be a centralized location for tracing and analyzing crime guns to disrupt regional gun trafficking networks and better position law enforcement to hold violent gun criminals accountable. Centralizing this information increases efficiencies, overcomes statutory restrictions, and ensures that trafficking leads are directed to the appropriate investigators. The members of the Working Group will be tasked with outlining and establishing the New England Regional Crime Gun Center and formalizing policy for the sharing and distribution of data and data analysis amongst regional stakeholders.
Regional Gun Trafficking Summit Attendees
- Attleboro Mayor Kevin Dumas
- Attleboro Police Chief Kyle P. Heagney
- Beverly Mayor Michael P. Cahill
- Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan
- Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter
- Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash
- Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria
- Fall River Police Chief Daniel Racine
- Gardner Mayor Mark Hawke
- Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera
- Malden Mayor Gary Christenson
- New Bedford Police Chief Daniel Provencher
- Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday
- Revere Mayor Daniel Rizzo
- Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt
- Salem Police Captain Thomas Griffin
- Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno
- Springfield Police Commissioner William Fitchet
- Providence, RI, Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Paré
- Milford, NH, Police Chief Michael Viola
- Milford, NH, Town Administrator Guy Scaife
- Manchester, NH, At-Large Alderman Daniel O’Neil
- Bridgeport, CT, Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett, Jr.
- Hartford, CT, Police Chief James Rovella
- Hartford, CT, Sgt. John O’Hare
- Portland, ME, Police Chief Michael Sauschuck
- Village of Essex Junction, VT, Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Essex Junction, Dan Kerin