State Rep. Dan Cullinane Joins U.S. Senator Ed Markey for Unveiling of The “Handgun Trigger Safety Act” New Federal Gun Safety Legislation

On Wednesday, State Representative Dan Cullinane participated in an intimate round table discussion on the impact of gun violence hosted by United States Senator Ed Markey at Project R.I.G.H.T. in Dorchester. Senator Markey hosted this community dialogue just prior to his public announcement unveiling new federal gun safety legislation entitled the “Handgun Trigger Safety Act.”

“No one wants children to get access to a handgun and hurt themselves or others,” said Senator Markey. “In the 21st century, we should use advances in technology to our own advantage and save lives, and the Handgun Trigger Safety Act will help ensure that only authorized users can operate handguns. This is the type of gun safety legislation that everyone – regardless of political party or affiliation – should be able to support.”

“We need to study gun violence like the public health crisis it is,” continued Senator Markey. “Funding for a federal gun violence research agenda should be a permanent priority so that we no longer look back and say that we didn’t commit any resources to a cause of death that took more people last year than leukemia.”

The Handgun Trigger Safety Act of 2014 would:

  • Authorize grants for further development and improvement of “personalized” handgun technology

  • Direct the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to create a safety standard for personalized handguns that newly manufactured handguns will have to meet

  • Require that all handguns manufactured in the U.S. two years after the date of enactment of the bill be “personalized handguns” and comply with the CPSC standard

  • Require that any entity, whether individual or business, selling a handgun, retrofit their handgun with personalization technology three years after the date of enactment of the bill

  • Hold the gun manufacturers liable if they produce guns that do not meet the CPSC safety standard two years after the passage of the bill

In addition to announcing the Handgun Trigger Safety Act, Senator Markey called on President Obama to commit $10 million for the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence in his FY 2015 Federal Budget. President Obama by executive order ended a 17 year ban, from 1996-2013, on the federal government performing research into gun violence.

“Gun violence is a public health crisis which has been allowed to plague our communities for too long,” said State Representative Cullinane. “For gun violence prevention to be successful it requires national changes and courageous federal leadership. That’s what we saw today and I am grateful to have stood beside Senator Markey as he answered that call.”

Quoting the recently issued report from the Committee to Reduce Firearm Violence to the Speaker of the House and the Massachusetts House of Representatives entitled Strategies for Reducing Gun Violence in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, “A major problem for Massachusetts is that unlike guns used in suicide or accidents, which are guns obtained and owned legally, crime guns move from states with weak gun laws (e.g. New Hampshire) to states like Massachusetts with strong gun laws…some 60% of the guns used in Boston were originally purchased outside of Massachusetts. New Hampshire is a prime source of gun trafficking into Boston.”

“This is why we need national change,” said Cullinane. “For too long the special interest of the National Rifle Association has been allowed to outweigh the human interests of grieving mothers burying their children in Cities across our nation.”

“This year in Boston there has been eleven homicides, ten of them by gun, including a nine year old Mattapan boy accidentally shot by his brother playing with a handgun. The two proposals put forth by Senator Markey, the Handgun Trigger Safety Act and federal research dollars to empirically better understand gun violence, put simply are 21st century common sense steps to get the facts and save lives,” Representative Cullinane said. “The use of smart technology to ensure that only the handgun’s rightful owner can fire the weapon is a pragmatic safety solution which takes ideology out of the debate. Simply, if you choose to legally own a handgun, you should be the only person who can fire it. No one else – accidently or intentionally, through theft or careless storage, should be able to discharge your handgun.” Cullinane continued, “This technology exists. It works. I hope the United States Congress sees this legislation for what it is – a sensible and morally responsible bill which has the potential to save thousands of lives each year.”      

Among those at the table were: Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins; Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley; Boston City Councilors Tito Jackson, Ayanna Pressley, and Michelle Wu; State Representative Gloria Fox; local clergy and community advocates.