MAYOR WALSH DISCUSSES IMPORTANCE OF EXECUTIVE ACTION AND WORKING COLLABORATIVELY, URGES CONGRESS TO ACT ON GUN VIOLENCE STRATEGIES
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - Mayor Walsh today offered the following remarks at the White House State and Local Gun Violence Prevention Convening in Washington D.C. The White House convened a group of state and local elected officials from all 50 states who have been leaders in the fight to address gun violence to engage with senior Administration officials and to exchange information about steps they are taking in their communities.
Remarks of Mayor Walsh as Prepared for Delivery:
I want to thank President Obama, Vice President Biden, and the Administration for hosting this convening. I want to thank my fellow mayors: San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Thank you to the leaders from all 50 states for being here.
Thank you, Attorney General Maura Healey for joining me in representing Massachusetts. Thank you to our moderator, Brian Kavanagh, Founder of American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention. -I also want to thank my fellow panelists: Bea Hanson, from the Office on Violence Against Women, Connecticut Governor Malloy, and Los Angeles City Attorney Feuer.
Gun violence is one of the defining challenges of our time--- it is a scourge devastating both children and adults. All of us in this room are taking action, on many levels, to stop gun violence. We have success to show for it. In Boston, we've seen homicides drop more than half since the mid-90s (1995, 98 homicides vs. 2015, 40)
But we know that even one gun-related death is too many---We must do more. We can't afford not to. As city and state leaders, we are looking for national leadership on this issue.
I commend President Obama for his Executive Actions on Gun Control. As leaders ourselves, we must also take our own Executive Actions to address gun violence. We need a coordinated approach, across all levels. For instance, in Boston, we know gun violence isn't just a Boston problem-it's a New England problem. 70% of Boston's crime guns come from other states-states with weaker gun laws.
So we convened Regional Gun Summits. We've organized regional and coordinated responses, reaching out to over 80 cities. At our most recent gun summit, we announced a pilot program with national non-profit, Arms With Ethics. They'll work closely with our law enforcement to create customized projects to prevent illegal flow and use of guns.
We're reaching out to our residents & responsible gun owners --- something that hasn't been done before. We've gotten positive feedback. It's clear they want to be part of the solution, too.
We're taking many more steps on a local level: We're analyzing traced guns for research purposes. We have a successful gun buyback program. We also instituted a citywide ban on replica handguns: a move that will save many children's lives. We're educating women about the danger of holding guns for their partners.
We know that gun violence is very complicated. It overlaps with other community problems: like illegal drug use, domestic violence, and mental illness. We need to make sure all of our systems and agencies are talking to one another and working together. And we need to make sure every level of government is working together.
I want to applaud the governor and state legislators for the action you've all taken to combat gun violence in your own states. I urge you to keep collaborating with your mayors as well. We are on the frontlines of this problem. And all of us share the responsibility to end gun violence. Only together can we make that happen. Thank you.