The Bedford Board of Health is promoting gun-violence prevention as one of its goals for the current year – and is planning a multi-pronged campaign.
“It’s really nice to see the collaboration with the Police Department, our board, Health and Human Services, and community organizations to keep our community safe,” said Chair Susan Schwartz at last week’s meeting of the board. Member Maureen Richichi added, “People see this as an important issue.”
Richichi said she was joined by Schwartz and Health and Human Services Director Heidi Porter in recent discussions with Bedford Police Detective Lt. Scott Jones. She added that Chief John Fisher is on board with the effort.
“We have drafted a letter going out to faith organizations, non-profits, and community groups asking them to get back to us by Jan. 27 asking if they would like to endorse the campaign,” said Richichi, noting that four endorsements have landed already: Bedford Rotary, the Violence Prevention Coalition, Bedford Embraces Diversity, and the Domestic Violence Services Network.
Also planned to promote the campaign is a mailing to all households, a web page featuring components about gun buyback, and how to talk to children about firearms safety. There are plans for distribution of articles and links, she said.
Beginning in March, speakers will address the topic, including experts from Massachusetts General Hospital, she continued. Actual gun buyback will take place in June, which is gun violence prevention month. Toy guns will be accepted for a special reward. The buyback will be conducted by the office of the county sheriff.
Richichi said there are several websites that address “strategies on gun-violence prevention, down to the local level; education; and securing firearms in homes.” Porter added that sites offer ideas that present “easy ways to have a hard conversation.”
Also at last week’s meeting, the board approved consolidating its local regulations, along with state requirements enforced at the local level, in one publication. “This is a wonderful document to understand the full scope of what we do,” said Richichi.