SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) - Massachusetts gun laws are among the toughest in the country. But how effective are they?
"The reaction with all the legislation has people in droves out buying guns and ammunition. It's completely having the opposite effect of what they were trying to accomplish," said Jeffrey Walsh of Holyoke.
There were 122 gun related murders in Massachusetts in 2011. That's almost double the amount from the year the states strict gun laws were passed back in 1998.
"The laws aren't going to stop criminals from getting their guns. Criminals don't go into shops and legally buy their guns. You can put a ban on them but they're still going to get them," said Rachele Silliker of Holyoke.
But gun control advocates say many of the guns used in these crimes were purchased in states with more lenient laws. One Holyoke city councilor told 22news there are other issues to consider.
"Right now there are so many illegal guns out there I think what we have to do is focus on getting those guns out of the hands of bad people and focus on mental health," said Holyoke city councilor James Leahy.
According to a report from the Boston Globe, aggravated assaults with guns and robberies with firearms have also increased since the laws passed.