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Slavit Baylis Renews Call For Gun Violence Prevention Measures

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Long-time gun violence prevention advocate, attorney, and candidate for state representative, Diann Slavit Baylis on Thursday renewed her call for stronger gun laws in Massachusetts in the wake of recent mass shootings around the nation. Slavit Baylis is a candidate for the open seat in the 8th Essex District, encompassing Marblehead, Swampscott, and two precincts in Lynn.

Slavit Baylis, who lives in Marblehead, was part of the effort to pass the state’s Extreme Risk Protective Order Law, also known as the Red Flag Law. Slavit Baylis, who lost someone close to her to gun violence, testified before the Joint Committee on Public Safety and spoke at Statehouse rallies in support of the bill. In 2018, Slavit Baylis and her husband, Angus McQuilken, participated in the Tri-Town to Newtown ride, navigating 210 miles over three days from Massachusetts to Newtown, Conn. on a tandem bicycle to raise awareness and keep the memories of the victims of the horrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School alive.

Slavit Baylis has proposed a number of measures to further combat gun violence in Massachusetts, including maintaining and reinforcing the state discretionary system for firearms licensing, administered at the local level by municipal chiefs of police, based on a standard of suitability after a thorough review of individual applicants.

The proposal would also utilize funding provided under the new federal firearms law to fund a broad, statewide public awareness campaign to raise awareness of the Massachusetts Red Flag Law and how to utilize it to remove firearms access from individuals that the courts determine are an extreme risk to themselves or others.

Slavit Baylis is also proposing to initiate an inter-state compact with like-minded states to pursue a common approach to firearms licensing based on the Massachusetts model and elements of effective laws in collaborating states.

Slavit Baylis intends to pass legislation making clear that victims of gun violence can pursue liability claims against firearms manufacturers and retailers for irresponsible marketing of firearms (based on a law already adopted in New York).

The proposal would also ensure annual public reporting on statistics regarding the origin of crime guns in Massachusetts, either in collaboration with the next governor, or through legislative mandate if necessary.

Slavit Baylis also seeks to pass a clear state prohibition on “ghost guns,” untraceable self-assembled weapons that evade tracing through the lack of a serial number.

“Every day we are reminded of the need for stronger laws to end the epidemic of gun violence,” said Slavit Baylis. “The recent shooting in Lynn, involving the loss of four lives, including the shooter, drove home that this remains a problem right here in our district. The Massachusetts House is poised to take up major gun legislation early next year. We need experienced leaders on this issue at the table for those negotiations, including people whose lives have been impacted by gun violence.”

Regarding the proposal for using newly available federal funds to run a public awareness campaign regarding the state’s Red Flag Law, Slavit Baylis said, “Playing an active role in the passage of this law is the legislative accomplishment I am most proud of, because this law is saving lives. I am the only candidate in this race that has advocated successfully for stronger gun laws in Massachusetts. But the Red Flag Law will only achieve its full life-saving potential if people are aware of the law and how to utilize it, especially family members of individuals in crisis who can utilize this law to keep both their family members and the community safe. In Massachusetts, this would be the best and highest use of the new federal funding that is being made available under the recently adopted, and long overdue federal firearms law.”

LaVerne, Courtney. “Slavit Baylis Renews Call for Gun Violence Prevention Measures.” Itemlive. The Daily Item, September 1, 2022.

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