politics

Gabrielle Giffords visits Mass., calling for action during Gun Violence Awareness Month

The Massachusetts legislature is looking to move forward with a sweeping gun reform bill before formal sessions end

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In 2011, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head during a constituent event in a supermarket parking lot.

Thirteen years later, Giffords travels the country sharing her story of survival and calling for action on gun reform.

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“It can be so difficult. Losses hurt, setbacks are hard, but I tell myself to move ahead,” said Giffords.

Those words were shared with lawmakers and advocates on Beacon Hill, as the Massachusetts legislature looks to move forward with a sweeping gun reform bill before formal sessions end.

“We’ve passed a number of bills, the last one is in conference, we will get that done,” said House Speaker Ron Mariano (D-Quincy).

The bill would pave the way for a ban on ghost guns, Glock switches and even expand red flag laws. Gun reform proponents call it a critical step in protecting the Commonwealth.

“What I appreciate about this is it has many components that together will keep our communities safer,” said Ruth Zakarin with the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence.

But not everyone shares that perspective. The Gun Owners Action League claims to have been strong-armed out of the legislative process.

“To be outright lied to,” said Jim Wallace, “Not just about what they were trying to do but the process in which they were trying to do it.”

Even so, leadership for both chambers says the conference committee is pressing ahead with hopes of sending a bill to Gov. Maura Healey in the coming weeks.

“They’re tying up some loose ends, listen, we all want the same thing,” said Mariano.

The legislative session ends on July 31.

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