To the editor:
Massachusetts is one of the safest states in the US thanks to its strong gun laws, but it is still missing a common sense law that could prevent shootings like the one in Parkland last month. Fortunately, such legislation is pending in the State House.
The Extreme Risk Protective Order bill would empower family members to seek a court order temporarily prohibiting access to guns when an individual poses a danger to themselves or others. Individuals often display warning signs before carrying out a shooting, and the Parkland shooter was no exception. These "red flag laws" exist in five other states. They are designed to identify individuals in crisis, help them get treatment and save lives.
Such laws can also reduce suicide by giving family members a mechanism for intervention. Suicide claims over 600 lives in Massachusetts each year, but an Extreme Risk Protective Order could reduce that. A study estimated that up to 10 percent of gun removals under Connecticut’s law averted a suicide.
Massachusetts should continue to be a leader in gun violence prevention. Please ask your legislators to support this crucial legislation that could save lives.
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