HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Gun violence continues to be an issue across the United States and right here in the Commonwealth.

Western Massachusetts is no stranger to gun violence, just yesterday multiple people were in the hospital, and an infant was killed after a shooting in downtown Holyoke. Local and state leaders are taking steps to curb this devastating trend.

On Thursday House Democrats kicked off a renewed push for a overhaul to the state’s current gun laws, with the release of an updated bill. “We have a very huge issue with ghost guns, there is very little legislation that addresses ghost guns so we’re trying to create something that prevents ghost guns from coming into Massachusetts,” stated Rep. Orlando Ramos.

This new bill will help tighten restrictions on ghost guns, and ensure that the manufacturers of these kits, mark these guns with serial numbers so they are no longer untraceable. Ramos believes that we have to come up with common sense solutions to address violence and the root causes, “We have to get to the root causes of violence and get to the root causes of why people feel like they need a gun in the first place.”

Ramos says that it’s critical for us to partner with local non profit organizations like the YMCA and Boys and Girls Club to protect our youth and keep them off the streets, “It’s an issue that we’re tired of dealing with and we can curb this we’re working with the mayor and our city councilors,” said Ramos. “There’s going to be a gun buy-back program we are trying to get these guns off the streets so our kids can be safe.”

Keshawn Dodds, the Executive Director the Boys & Girls Club Family Center in Springfield
says that the boys and girls club serves as a buffer, “We want to make sure that our kids have a place to be safe where the violence doesn’t directly hit them. So they can come in here learn and become leaders and also provide other opportunities for growth.”

Dodds told 22News that they want make sure that kids have a safe place to go 7 days a week to do homework, participate in sports and engage with their peers.

Local News

Melissa Torres is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2021. Follow Melissa on X @melissatorrestv and view her bio to see more of her work.