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Gun homicides up 111% since 1998 gun control law, gun rights group says

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A new report by a state gun rights group show the state’s homicide rates have increased drastically since the implementation of stricter gun controls was passed by the Legislature in 1998.

“What just jumps off the page is the more than doubling of gun related homicides since the passage of the 1998 Gun Control Act,” Jim Wallace, Executive Director of the Gun Owners Action League, said with the release of the report.

According to the report, which draws data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Injury Surveillance Program, in 1998 there were 63 “gun related homicides.”

In 2020, the year of the most recent DPH “Injury Deaths to MA Residents” report, there were 133 such homicides in Massachusetts, an increase of 111%.

“For more than two decades we have constantly heard that Massachusetts is leading the nation in ‘common sense’ gun control laws. Using the State’s own data, we are proving that is simply a false and dangerous narrative,” Wallace said.

An Act Relative to Gun Control in the Commonwealth was passed as Chapter 180 of the General laws and established restrictions on feeding devices, like magazines, and the number of rounds a firearm can be carried with, among other changes to the state’s laws.

GOAL thinks that needs to change.

“It is GOAL’s hope that the legislature will finally see what this so-called, gun control effort for what it really is. An affront to our Second Amendment civil rights,” the group said with the release of their report. “There is absolutely no way to justify what has been done to the Second Amendment Community in the name of “safety”. One of the first things the legislature needs to address in the next legislative session is a complete revamp of the State’s gun laws in a manner that respects our community’s civil rights.”

According to GOAL, in that time there has been a 13% drop in gun related suicides, overshadowed, they say, by a 63% increase in hangings and suffocation. According to GOAL, this demonstrates that the problem isn’t firearms, but mental health.

“The political leadership needs to start addressing the human criminal element head on and the growing mental health crisis,” the group said.

According to the state’s data, “Injuries are the leading cause of death for people ages 1 through 44. In 2020, there were 5,005 injury deaths among Massachusetts residents, a rate of 71.2 injuries for every 100,000 residents. The leading causes of injury deaths were poisonings, falls and suffocations.”

Unintentional injury deaths represented the vast majority of such losses, 82%, with 12.4% resulting from suicide. Just 3.7% of injury deaths were the result of homicide in 2020, according to the state, and the cause for 1.8% was undeterminable.

GOAL, in their report, gave the state a grade of “F” when it comes to “reducing gun related homicides” and grades of “D-” and “F” for reduction of suicides and accidental gun deaths.

“When will the Commonwealth end its overwhelming persecution of lawful gun owners and begin dealing with the human criminal element and mental health?” the group asks in their report.

Attempts to reach gun control advocates Everytown For Gun Safety, were unsuccessful Sunday.

Various guns are displayed at a store on July 18, 2022, in Auburn, Maine. Most U.S. adults think gun violence is increasing nationwide and want to see gun laws made stricter. That's according to a new poll that finds broad public support for a variety of gun restrictions. The poll comes from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
Various guns are displayed at a store on July 18, 2022, in Auburn, Maine.  (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

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