Law

Massachusetts Joins Northeastern States in Gun Safety Coalition

Gov. Charlie Baker announced the Bay State will share information with New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.


Charlie Baker speaks at the 2018 State of the Commonwealth

Photo via State House News Service

If someone is banned from buying a gun in Massachusetts, officials in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island will all know about it.

Gov. Charlie Baker announced Massachusetts will join the four northeastern states’ gun safety coalition and contribute to a shared information network detailing who is barred from obtaining a gun in each place, according to WBUR. The states have also agreed to make available the names of people who have domestic violence restraining orders against them or warrants out for their arrest, the New York Times reports.

The state-level action was prompted by a perceived void in gun reform in Washington. As the nation grapples with a rampage that left 17 people dead at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the federal government has “gone backwards on this issue,” according to the Times.

Baker is the only Republican governor who has signed onto the initiative, and his advocacy for gun reform breaks with many in his party. Last week, he criticized President Trump’s suggestion that teachers should be armed, and in November, his administration signed the nation’s first bump stock ban following the Las Vegas massacre in which the device was used. Baker’s spokeswoman Lizzy Guyton said in a statement to WBUR that the specifics of the information-sharing network are still being worked out, but the goal is to bolster preexisting safety measures.

The northeastern states in the coalition already have stricter gun laws than much of the country, and the regulations are certainly working by some measures. The five members of the cohort are among the top six states with the lowest per capita firearm mortality rate nationwide, with Massachusetts topping the list.