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We spearheaded state’s 2014 gun law; new legislation can build on it

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Illustration of a black gun with a yellow background.

CommonWealth, August 2023

For nearly 10 years Massachusetts has been one of the states with the lowest rates of firearm deaths. Firearm deaths include homicides and suicides by firearm and firearm accidents. Most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the annual firearm death rate in Massachusetts is 3.4 per 100,000 residents while the national firearm death rate is 14.7 per 100,000, or nearly five times the rate in Massachusetts.

This low death rate is due to strong state level legislation, which has helped produce a relatively low firearm ownership rate. Massachusetts has been viewed as a model that many other states copy to keep their population safe.   

One problem with firearm legislation is that new technologies produce weapons not even envisioned 10 years ago and firearm manufacturers often shift the way they build firearms to skirt state level legislation. So as the firearm market changes, so too must the legislation intended to reduce firearm violence.  

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