Local leaders review strategies to reduce gun violence

Madeleine Wright | WPRI-TV

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Gun violence was the focus Wednesday as the mayors of Providence, Boston and other New England cities gathered on Federal Hill. They, along with law enforcement leaders reviewed strategies for reducing the number of shootings.

Murder rates are down across the country, according to the FBI, but word of shootings is all too familiar in local communities.

On Wednesday, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and other officials announced a new pilot program aiming to reduce gun violence.

“These pilot projects will start in Boston and Providence, paving the way for other cities across the region,” said Walsh.

The announcement was made Wednesday at the New England Regional Gun Violence Summit, where leaders also shared strategies for improving public safety.

“We’re fortunate to receive $25,000 and another $10,000 from private donors in this effort,” Walsh added.

As part of the program, the nonprofit group Arms with Ethics is planning to work with local police departmnets to stop the flow of illegal guns.

“We’re tracking where the guns are coming from, and typically they’re coming from states with looser gun laws,” Elorza explained.

“I think the overwhelming thing we heard today is we need universal gun laws,” said Boston Police Commissioner William Evans. “Because Massachusetts and Providence have gotten tough, but we see there’s a lot of work to be done in other New England states.”

Leaders said there’s also concern about accidental shootings. They talked about expanding family access to gun locks to keep firearms away from kids.

As for the pilot program, the goal is to turn the information shared at the summit into action. Mayor Walsh said he expects to see results by next summer.

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