Boston Gun Buyback Planned After A 9-Year-Old Is Killed In Accidental Shooting

Boston Mayor Plans Gun Buyback After A 9-Year-Old Is Accidentally Shot By A 14-Year-Old

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is accused of being ‘gimmicky’ after announcing plans for a gun buyback in response to a 9-year-old’s accidental shooting death.

Last week a completely preventable tragedy struck a Boston family. A 14-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his 9-year-old brother. The shooting, just another in a long line, has caused the mayor of Boston to take action. Mayor Walsh announced plans to hold a gun buyback in Boston to get unwanted guns off the street.

The accident that spurred the gun buyback.

On Friday, February 7th, an unidentified teenage boy was charged with involuntary manslaughter and unlawful possession of a firearm after an accident that left his little brother dead. Police say they received a call at 11:37 a.m. that a person was shot. When they arrived they found a 9-year-old boy with a gunshot wound to the chest. They then received a report that someone had fled the scene after the shooting.

Officers found the victim’s brother a short distance away  with the weapon used in the shooting. Police believe that the brother panicked and ran from the scene after the shooting. They said that he was extremely remorseful and very scared.

Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley announced this evening the 14-year-old was arraigned in juvenile court on the two charges. They say they believe the boy was “handling the firearm recklessly when it discharged.” Conley also urged people to take action.

“Part of our investigation in the days to come will be determining how this weapon got into the hands of a 14-year-old,” Conley said. “In the meantime, I want to make something crystal clear: if you know about an illegal firearm in this city, help us prevent another tragedy like this one. Boston Police are doing a tremendous job of taking guns off the street, but they aren’t mind readers. They need tips and information about these weapons before they’re used.” [Source]

Mayor Marty Walsh announces his plans.

Mayor Walsh said that he is making plans with the city’s newly appointed police commissioner, William Evans, to put together a gun buyback in Boston. The plans come at a time when Boston has seen a spike in gun related homicides. There have been eight homicides related to firearms since Feb. 2., up from two during the last time period last year.

Evans told reporters that 667 guns were taken off the street last year and  little over 50 this year. The Mayor told reporters that he understands that the buyback is a short-term solution.

“It’s a short-term solution,” Walsh told reporters on Saturday. “We need help
from the community, we need help from these people to let us know where these
guns are, who has these guns, so we can get them off the street.” [Source]

Firearm expert calls gun buyback ‘gimmicky.’

Thomas Nolan, a former 27-year Boston cop who teaches criminal justice at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, told the Boston Herald that the gun buyback is a bit ‘gimmicky.’ Nolan says that people who use the weapons in violent crimes are not going to surrender their weapons.

“This is a little bit gimmicky,” he said. “They’ve done them all over the country, but I think in 2014 we should be thinking of entirely new means of addressing these issues rather than recycling old and somewhat tired ideas.” [Source]

John Firman, director of research for the International Association of Chiefs of Police told USA Today during an interview in April that the point of gun buybacks are to raise awareness in communities. Some people may not know where to turn in unwanted guns and buybacks let them know. He also called it a lifeline for people who are in domestic violence situations and want to get rid of guns in a household.

Gun buybacks have always been controversial. When I studied criminal justice they were made fun of by my professors and called pointless. Just like with all things related to gun violence we know that a gun buyback is not going to prevent every crime. During Memorial Day weekend many police department’s have DUI campaigns; they don’t have these campaigns because they think they are going to prevent every DUI. In Florida officials often have the ‘Click It Or Ticket’ seatbelt campaign, not because they think every traffic fatality will be prevented. None of these campaigns are waged with the notion that every death will be prevented. A gun buyback will not save every life, but one life saved makes it worth it.

If it prevents one 9-year-old’s death, it is worth it.