Restrictions work, says man who brought Massachusetts gun deaths to record low

Restrictions work, says man who brought Massachusetts gun deaths to record low

In 2020, even as many Americans remained cloistered in their homes under the pandemic, 19,380 died from gunshots – more than in any other year. This year is no different. According to the Gun Violence Archive , there have been 158 mass shootings with four or more people shot, more than one a day. No one knows the numbers better than John Rosenthal, a co-founder of Stop Handgun Violence, a Boston-based non-profit. He has discussed the issue with presidents, governors, a supreme court justice and even the former head of Smith & Wesson. Largely thanks to his efforts, the state has the lowest US gun death rate. It all started in 1994, when Rosenthal owned a parking garage next to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. Negotiating a price for a billboard on top of the garage, he realized the value of the spot, over the Massachusetts Turnpike and 250,000 drivers a day. “I thought, ‘Well, what message could I put on here that could help change bad public policy?’” A friend told him 15 kids under 19 died every day from guns. The figure went on the billboard. The numbers changed as the board gained attention. Bill Clinton would reroute his motorcade to pass it. The president met Rosenthal through former governor Bill Weld. Over 27 years, Stop Handgun Violence has led the way on passing four state gun violence prevention bills – three under Republican governors. “We’ve had a 40% reduction in the rate of […]

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