PROVIDENCE, RI -Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh joined mayors and law enforcement officials from across New England for the New England Regional Gun Violence Summit in Providence to share strategies to reduce the trafficking of illegal firearms and to reduce gun violence.
“Illegal guns and gun violence devastate families and communities. Today, in Providence we are bringing leaders and resources from throughout the region together to discuss ways to reduce the trafficking of illegal guns and the violence that follows them,” said Mayor Elorza. “I thank Mayor Walsh for co-hosting this conference and all of our partners in law enforcement for their diligent and continued work on this very important issue.”
Speakers at the summit included Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) New England Field Division Special Agent in Charge Daniel Kumor, United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha, District of Rhode Island, and Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin. Topics ranged from information sharing, local, state and regional advocacy and law enforcement best practices aimed at stemming the diversion of firearms into the hands of criminals and prohibited purchasers.
During the summit, Mayor Walsh announced funding from The Boston Foundation for the non-profit Arms With Ethics to work with Boston in order to lead a multi-city pilot program in the New England Region which will include both Boston and Providence.
“We know that illegal guns come into Boston from surrounding jurisdictions, which is why we have taken an aggressive regional approach with all of our partners in New England,” said Mayor Walsh. “I thank Mayor Elorza for convening today’s summit, and I was pleased to announce that with support from the Boston Foundation, we will be able to partner with Arms with Ethics to further strengthen our efforts to reduce gun violence.”
Through this project, Arms With Ethics will work with mayors and police leaders in selected cities, in addition to Boston and Providence, to develop customized law enforcement-led projects focused on preventing the illegal flow and illegal use of guns. The goal of these pilot projects is to translate the regional information-sharing and collaboration generated by the New England Regional Gun Summit into immediate, concrete action. The pilot designs will be replicable, with the intention that once they are established and proven in the selected sites, the solutions will be expanded to other interested cities participating in the New England Gun Violence Summit.
“The issues contributing to gun violence are bigger than any one community or any one city. The New England Gun Violence Summit provides a powerful platform to bring together local leadership and resources to offer law enforcement-focused solutions that can impact gun violence both regionally and nationally,” said Casey Woods, Executive Director of Arms With Ethics. “Arms With Ethics is proud to be part of this bold, common-sense effort, and we thank Mayor Walsh, Commissioner Evans, and The Boston Foundation for their support and leadership on this project.”
“The Boston Foundation is pleased to support this innovative approach to reducing gun violence and appreciate the leadership of Mayor Walsh in bringing the proposal to our attention,” said President and CEO Paul Grogan. “As Greater Boston’s community foundation, we work to ensure that our communities are vibrant and our residents are healthy and thriving. Gun violence threatens the progress we’ve made as a community, and we need to find solutions that are regional and collaborative in nature.”
About the New England Regional Gun Violence Summit
Since 2014, cites across New England have worked collaboratively to share strategies to reduce gun violence and reduce trafficking of illegal firearms. This regional partnership focuses on collaboration and open dialogue about the reality of gun violence in New England cities. To date, significant actions have been taken by cities across the region, a result of the direct connections made between cities and law enforcement agencies with field experts and community partners. This includes outreach to responsible gun owners; several cities in the region have also reached out to engage responsible gun owners on firearm storage and safety, offering guidance regarding reporting requirements for lost and stolen firearms, and in some cities, even providing free firearm locks. This regional approach to gun violence reduction and illegal firearms trafficking reduction has its strength in municipalities creating and implementing strategies that have both immediate and long-term direct impacts on residents at the community level.