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Gun Violence Up In Western MA, Along with Rest of the State

gun2WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) –Massachusetts passed some of the nation’s toughest gun laws in 1998, but since then, gun-related crimes have gone up.

According to the FBI, in 2011, there were 122 gun-related homicides on record, nearly twice as many as in 1998. West Springfield Police Chief Ronald Campurciani had one reaction when he learned that the number of gun-related crimes have risen all over the state. “It does alarm me, and it should alarm everybody, and I think that’s just the thing. There has been an increase. There’s been a steady increase every year. What’s interesting about those gun crimes is that in 2004 when the Assault Weapons Ban ended, it spiked for us,”

That spike kept on climbing into 2006, and for the next two years after that, it started to drop. “Now it’s on the rise again. You know, we could say the gun laws, we could say that was about the time 2007-2009 budgets started tightening also we started to lose some officers across the state, so I think there’s a parallel between gun laws, and where we are with manpower,” Campurciani recalled.

No matter how strict one state’s gun laws are, it’s hard to fight gun violence if laws in a nearby state are more relaxed. Gun buying laws are not as strict in New Hampshire and Maine, and the chief has seen guns come into Massachusetts illegally from those states. “I think there needs to be a national standard where at least all the states are on the same page so we can have these people that maybe are transients, that come and go from state to state, and want to flock to states that are easier to buy guns,”  he said.

Chief Campurciani says that the bottom line is the more guns that are in circulation, the higher the potential for gun violence.

Gun rights groups are saying the gun laws are ineffective,  However, 2010 data from the Centers for Disease Control says that Massachusetts has the eleventh lowest gun-homicide rate in the nation.

 

Death by guns in New Hampshire is double the rate of Massachusetts, in Maine, it’s triple.


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