On Monday, May 8th, 2023, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts held its forth stop on the “Gun Law Listening Tour.“ It was held in the city of Brockton, which has the moniker the “city of champions,“ because it is the hometown of Rocky Marciano and Marvin Hagler. It’s also a city where a 20 year old person was arrested on Sunday, May 7th, 2023, along with two of his friends, for illegal possession of three handguns, including one that was a P80, a homemade handgun, according to the Boston Police Department.
There was lots of great pro gun support from The DC Project again. This time the local leaders from Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Kerrie Ann Auclair, and Renee Gagne, respectively, turned out with about two dozen ladies in the #TealTeam2 teal colored shirts. The shirts all have the DCP logo on it, which is the silhouettes of AR-15’s atop an image of the Capitol Building. The shirts read “educate over legislate.”
Besides the Mom Demand Action crew in their red shirts, there was a new anti-gun group there. Their orange shirts all said “Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence.” They were probably about the same number of orange and red shirts combined as there were teal shirts.
The four panelists included two police officers from the city of Brockton, and two women that worked with some community organizations that help the underprivileged in the city of Brockton.
Lieutenant Paul Bonanca, Brockton police department, talked about how gun violence is a “public safety issue,” and that most of the crime is through “organized criminal activity.”
Lieutenant Jamal Gooding said that he thinks the “gun violence” in Brockton isn’t a ‘reflection of people not caring.” He also said “guns themselves are not the problem. It’s the people with illegal access.” Lieutenant Gooding further talked about how their statistics included “children” from 17 to 24 years old. I might be wrong on this, but I do believe people after the age of 18 are considered adults. You have to be 18 years old to apply for a credit card, apply for college loans, and open a bank account.
The next two speakers were Heather Shruhan from Safe Corners, and Juliet Keogh. Shruhan kept talking about the drug use in youths from the ages 13 to 24 years old. Keogh talked about poverty, racism, and systemic violence are all related. Both ladies pointed out that the city of Brockton did not get government funds that were supposed to be issued to them through COVID-19 relief. These ladies spent a lot of time talking about how the town doesn’t get enough money.
There were several speakers from both sides of the gun issue. A number of the members of the DCProject got up to speak about their experience growing up. One woman talked about how she grew up in “the hood“ and was beat up and victimized while she was growing up. But she also talked about how she made the decision not to live that sort of lifestyle and how she fought hard to change the outcome of her life.
Another woman went up and talked about how she didn’t start shooting until she was in her 70s. She talked about how the local chapter of Armed Women of America was instrumental and integral in her firearm education training, and her attitude about becoming a Firearm owner late in life.
On the opposing side there was a woman that got up and said her son was murdered in the city of Brockton in 2012. She talked about the suffering that she goes through every day, running through her mind, about losing her son. She also asked the lieutenants why they have never been able to find her son’s murderer.
There was a young man that went up, wearing an orange shirt that talked about how easy it is to get firearms, and that it’s easy for people with 3-D printers to print guns and then go out and commit crimes with them.
Several of the pro gun speakers talked about how making more gun laws is not going to end any of the crimes that are being committed. But, keeping the criminals locked up would probably be a better solution than making more laws for the law-abiding.
I had an opportunity to talk about how adding live fire requirements to training only increases the cost of getting a license, while some of the panelists were talking about how there’s not enough money in these communities. Oftentimes families in the city of Brockton have two full-time jobs and they’re not able to be home to raise their kids. I pointed out that in the Revolutionary War times, all guns were considered “ghost guns,“ because people had to make them themselves. I emphasized that mandatory storage laws, which several of the anti-gun folks thought would solve a lot of the problems, are not going to solve any problems in the home, unless the government came in and broke the fourth amendment to do an illegal search and seizure of their home. The Bay State already has mandatory storage laws, so we should stand as an example to the rest of the nation that such policies are failures.
I’m not sure what is getting through to the politicians. I’m not sure that there’s going to be any positive outcomes from these events. But I’m certainly going to attend as many of them as possible. Some of the upcoming topics are covering things like “ghost guns,“ preventing school shootings, and three more on “impacted communities.“
I am very proud that the DC Project was very well represented! There seems to be less than a dozen pro gun people that are not from the DC Project. There were some board members from Gun Owners’ Action League in attendance at this meeting. But, if the people of Massachusetts really want to make a change, they need to make time in their schedules to attend these events, and to speak up to have their voices heard. Otherwise Massachusetts will lose what’s left of their Second Amendment rights.
It was an incredible night of advocacy. The DC Project emphasized education being paramount to firearm safety. Although legislation is necessary in a world with order, education is the KEY to firearm safety. Charlie Cook thank you for the highlights!! More folks need to participate in these discussions!