Kim Odom, Field Director for Operation LIPSTICK, shares her response to Massachusetts Speaker Robert DeLeo’s gun bill.
Kim attended a Boston community meeting on May 27, where Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo discussed his proposed legislation to reduce gun violence. The Speaker said his bill would give the Bay State the most effective gun laws in the country. He said he was spurred into action by the horrific Newtown school shootings 18 months ago.
The legislation, which House leaders tout as the most comprehensive package since 1998, requires the state upload mental health records to the National Instant Background Check System (NICS), allows local police chiefs discretion in licensing owners for shotguns and rifles, prohibits the private sale of guns without a licensed gun dealer, requires gun owners to list the guns they own each time they renew their license, and improves the state’s gun tracking system.
While the Speaker deserves credit for steps he believes will reduce gun violence, we urge lawmakers to maximize this opportunity to address the realities of urban gun violence.
From Pastor Kim Odom:
I want the lives of children being murdered, maimed, and traumatized every day in inner cities to be recognized as the public health crisis that it is. I want the lives of children growing up in urban neighborhoods to be valued as much as the lives of children in Newtown and Santa Barbara and Newton and Brookline. And I don’t want to hear that our children were “in the wrong place at the wrong time” simply because they were trying to make their way home after school or play in the local park.
I want my child’s life to matter.
I want people to understand that preventing gun violence isn’t about taking rights away. I want people to understand there are things we can do to stop the next shooting like the one that took the life of my son Steven.
The boy who shot my son did not have a 2nd Amendment right. He was only 17. Arresting him would not solve the problem. Arresting him would not stem the flood of guns pouring into our community and into the hands of people who can’t get guns legally.
I want people to ask, Where are the guns coming from? I want them to refuse to take “I don’t know” for an answer.
I have 2 recommendations for elected leaders who truly want to reduce gun violence in the Commonwealth:
1. Lawmakers should mandate that law enforcement track every gun recovered in every crime. We must begin to treat crime guns the way we respond to outbreaks of tainted food products, like hamburger meat or peanut butter, by cutting off the supply at the source. Lawmakers should require law enforcement to share crime gun trace data with each other, researchers, advocates, the public and the media so we can work together to identify common sources of guns used in crime and hold them accountable.
2. We know that women are a significant source of guns that end up in the wrong hands. In some cases, women who are homeless, poor, isolated, victims of domestic violence, or suffer from low self-esteem can be easy prey for men willing to exploit them to get a gun.
Operation LIPSTICK raises awareness of this problem for the first time. Like public health campaigns against drunk driving, we’re changing perceptions, busting myths, and rallying women to take action. We’re converting former gun traffickers into powerful spokeswomen and leaders to break this cycle of exploitation and violence. And we’re keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people while the laws are being debated.
I want lawmakers to provide funding support for educational programs like LIPSTICK that keep our young men and women out of harm’s way and out of jail. It’s less expensive to educate a young person than lock him or her up, and we’ll save more lives in the process.
– Kim Odom
Let us know what you think about the Speaker’s bill. Do you agree with Pastor Odom?
To learn about Speaker DeLeo’s bill, click here:
To learn about Operation LIPSTICK, click here: www.operationlipstick.org