-Submitted by Joe Piantedosi
Gun violence is not a Bedford health problem
I would like to comment on The Board of Health gun violence prevention program. Massachusetts has some of the most restrictive, fragmented, and convoluted firearm laws in the country. You must obtain a Massachusetts Firearm license which requires an extensive background check before you can legally own a firearm. A law promoted by Gun Owners Action League (GOAL) to educate the public was passed in 2014 (chapter 284 of the acts of 2014, section 69) requiring the colonel of the state police to produce and distribute public service announcements to encourage and educate the general public about safe storage and transportation of weapons and firearm safety education and training, including information on places and classes that a person may attend.
Sadly, not one penny has been spent by the State to comply with this. Fortunately, many local gun clubs that are also members of GOAL have had extensive programs by GOAL educating gun owners and some law enforcement groups on the Massachusetts gun laws and firearm safety.
When it comes to firearm accidental deaths Massachusetts has one of the lowest rates in any category which has been typically one death each year during the past five years and these statistics don’t track whether these accidents were lawful citizens or criminals. When you compare this to some other accidental deaths in the year 2020 from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health like drug abuse – 2192, falls – 1016, vehicles – 374 vs. guns – 1. You have to question the real motives behind this Board of Health initiative.
A leading cause of death in Bedford and throughout the country has been Covid which is a real health epidemic. Covid, along with accidental drug deaths caused mainly by fentanyl which has killed over 100,000 people each year in our country, should be the focus of the Board of Health along with Lyme disease. As for violence, we do have an epidemic of violence in our country. It’s not guns it’s people committing violent acts with mostly knives and cars, arson, firearms, and many other methods as evidenced every day in the news. This isn’t a health epidemic it’s a serious crime epidemic. Fortunately, we live in a town with an excellent police department and a very low crime rate.
Board of Health’s website has some links for resources related to this issue pending the release of their plan. I hope mental health resources are incorporated but it seems to be missing currently. Mental health issues are the leading factor in gun violence especially in communities like Bedford
I agree, gun violence is a mental disorder. I fact any crime committed is a mental sickness, no normal person commits any crime, including gun violence. We all know that mental illness has been rising in our country, especially due to affects of Covid and this is where the focus should be.
I think it’s pretty clear that he is saying gun violence is not a pressing issue in Bedford. Hard to argue with that and it seems that the Board of Health’s resources are being improperly allocated if gun violence is becoming their focus.