BOSTON, Mass. (SHNS)–Answering a question about gun violence in Massachusetts cities on Thursday, Gov. Maura Healey said her administration will continue to view violence as a public health issue and said she thinks much of it stems from “a failure to address some of the root causes of violence.”
Without articulating specific policies or plans, Healey said that she plans to work with Attorney General-elect Andrea Campbell, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and others to “fund and support programming to reduce violence, particularly among our young people.” She said that she has long looked at gun violence as a public health issue in addition to a matter of public safety.
“It is absolutely the lens through which we need to address this, and that means more intervention for health and wellness, for mental health, for efforts to deal with trauma, because we know trauma begets trauma, violence begets violence. And while numbers are going down … that’s no comfort to the mothers and fathers of 12-, 13-, 14-, 15-year-old kids in Boston and around who are shooting one another,” the former attorney general said on Java with Jimmy on Thursday morning.
As attorney general, Healey enforced the state’s gun laws. She drew the ire of Second Amendment advocates and gun owners in 2016 when she heightened her office’s enforcement of an assault weapons ban that had been on the books for years by cracking down on copycat assault weapons. Last summer, she joined with the Baker administration to provide guidance to licensing authorities and law enforcement agencies on how a U.S. Supreme Court opinion striking down New York’s concealed-carry gun licensing law applies to a similar Massachusetts law.
On Thursday, Healey said she will continue to enforce what she called “some of the strongest gun laws in place.”
“But it’s not good enough when we still have, every day or every other day, a report of a shooting — two people sitting in their car the other day, right? I mean, this cannot continue. I do think at the heart of so much of this, Jimmy, is a failure to address some of the root causes of violence,” Healey said. “And I’ve talked a long time about my real heavy focus on mental health, and I do think we need more mental health providers, we need more people trained in trauma-informed care and we’ve just got to do this for our young people and for our families. My heart goes out to to the victims, to the victim of violence, in Boston and beyond in the state.”