Describing a July 4 weekend "wracked by gunfire throughout Boston," interim Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden on Thursday called on governors and legislators in states with "easy-access gun purchase laws" to consider the impacts their laws are having on cities like Boston.
"We're seeing more daylight shootings on busy streets and more guns in the hands of teenagers. The common thread, beyond shooters willing to send bullets flying regardless of where they are, is that the guns were likely trafficked in from another state," Hayden said.
Police on Sunday and Monday responded to more than a dozen shooting scenes across Boston that left 11 people injured, police seized a handgun from a 13-year-old on Monday, and two groups of men in vehicles shot at each other in Chelsea during the daytime on Tuesday, with a bullet striking the window of a nearby McDonalds.
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Hayden estimated that 75% of illegal firearms used in Boston-area crimes originated in another state, describing "a lethal river of steel flowing from northern and southern states onto the streets of Boston."
The district attorney's office, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Boston police, this year created Boston FIRST, a program that "uses a federal database to track guns and gun casings recovered from crime scenes to their source of origin, and to connect them to other crimes."
Data shows that most illegal guns seized in Boston come from Maine, New Hampshire, Alabama, Georgia and Florida, Hayden reported. Guns have also been traced to Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Ohio.
The data also shows that of the 441 traceable guns seized in Boston in 2021, 271, or 61%, originated in those nine states; 67, or 15%, originated in other states; and 103, or 23%, originated in Massachusetts, the district attorney said.
"When more than three out of four guns seized in Boston come from out of state it tells me three things," Hayden said. "First, gun laws in Massachusetts work well. Second, gun laws in many other states don't. And third, gun traffickers know which states are easiest for them to amass their murderous inventory and which states are best to sell that inventory."