Meaningful gun violence legislation will likely never come at the federal level no matter how many massacres take place. A new regional effort, however, is encouraging.
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh called what he referred to as the New England Violence Summit last week because the region's leaders can't continue to wait around for the federal government to act on the gun violence taking its toll in their communities. The mayor said he hoped the informal group will meet regularly to exchange ideas and adopt methods that have worked in some communities.
While Massachusetts has tough gun control laws, three neighboring states, Vermont, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, do not, and guns are easily transported among the states. Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza told The Boston Globe that one way to get around this problem is for New England's mayors, almost all of whom confront problems with gun violence, to work together and share successful programs to address the gun issue, such as through gun buyback programs and melting down guns that come into the possession of city police departments. They can also lobby for tougher state laws.
As has become clear in recent years, Pittsfield is one of those urban communities with a serious gun problem, one that is tied into gangs and the drug trade. Ideally, Mayor-elect Linda Tyer will pursue an invitation to join Mayor Walsh's summit when she takes office in January.
Help is not coming from Washington D.C. — the National Rifle Association and its congressional allies will see to that. While this badly hinders the efforts of state and local leaders in Massachusetts and New England, there is still much they can do to address the gun violence epidemic by pooling their ideas, talents and resources. Mayor Walsh of Boston has the right idea.