2 more states, Puerto Rico join coalition to enhance gun controls

Weapons at a gun range (Cory Doctorow via Wikimedia Commons)

Two more states and Puerto Rico have joined the multi-state coalition Connecticut helped to launch last week to strengthen gun regulation efforts, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Monday.

Massachusetts, Delaware and the Puerto Rican commonwealth will participate along with Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.

Malloy called these additions “an important step toward regional cooperation to prevent gun violence, and I applaud these governors for being a partner in this endeavor. … I am hopeful that this represents the beginning of a turning point and that more states will join our growing partnership.”

The seven coalition members will begin sharing databases and criminal intelligence and coordinating research related to potential firearm purchases, gun trafficking and violent crime.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said, “Our public safety officials will work collaboratively across state lines with coalition members to bolster efforts for stronger communication to keep our communities safe.”

“We need to bring attention to the fact that there is an undisputed relation between the lack of gun-control regulations and recent acts of gun violence that has resulted in the loss of innocent lives and that has brought together a nation demanding action now,” added Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.

Malloy and his fellow northeastern governors said the new coalition was not a direct reaction to the Feb. 14 fatal shooting of 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Fla. But that tragedy did accelerate states’ efforts to counter what the governors called a failure of Congress to respond to dozens of mass shootings in recent years.

Malloy added that while the growing coalition “can make a significant difference, we need real and substantive action from Congress if we are serious about ending this epidemic of gun violence. It shouldn’t need saying, but the lives of children are far more important than any powerful special interest. It’s time to act.”