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As gun violence roils U.S., what you can do right here

The following letter to the community about gun violence was issued by Police Chief Julie Flaherty and Christine Bongiorno, director of Health and Human Services.

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"Recent events involving gun violence in communities across our country -- particularly the events in Uvalde, Buffalo and the events that occurred over the long weekend in Highland Park and Philadelphia -- have been devastating to our families, communities and our country. These senseless acts of violence are unacceptable and preventable.

"Here in Massachusetts we have some of the strongest gun laws in the nation, but there is so much more that can be done. In Arlington, as community leaders, we are committed to working together to gather local data, conduct community education and continue to partner with organizations that work to prevent gun violence. The safety and security of all community members is critically important to us and we are committed to protecting our children and our community at large.

"We start by asking you to join us as we take steps to further safeguard our community. Below are initial actions we can all take now.

Securing firearms: "Responsible ownership of a firearm is important to prevent firearms from getting into the wrong hands. Proper firearm storage is a vital component to gun safety. Under Massachusetts law, any type of firearm must be stored and secured in a locked container or with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device that makes the weapon inaccessible and inoperable by anyone other than a legally authorized user.

"Improperly stored firearms are exceedingly dangerous when accessible to minors, and fines and punishments increase when weapons are stored in a place where a minor is able to acquire access to the weapon. Any person in Arlington that needs assistance in securing a firearm or access to a gun lock or lockable container can call the Arlington Police Department for resources.

Ask about firearms in homes: "Before children visit a friend's home for the first time, parents should ask the friend’s parent or guardian if there are firearms in the home, and if they are stored securely.

Turn in unwanted firearms: "Along with properly storing firearms, turning in unwanted firearms helps to prevent tragedy and violence by ensuring they do not fall into the wrong hands. Any community member who would like to safely dispose of a firearm in their home is encouraged to contact the Arlington Police Department to make arrangements to remove unwanted firearms or ammunition from the home for destruction. Firearms are regularly collected by the Arlington Police Department, no questions asked.

Join us: "We will be sharing information with the community periodically and ask that you help us to spread the word on safety measures.

Speak up: "As always, if you see something, say something. If anyone in the community becomes aware of a threat, whether it be verbal, on social media or by any other means, please report it to police. The Arlington Police Department works closely with federal partners at the FBI Boston Office to thoroughly and aggressively investigate threats of violence.

"Gun violence is preventable, and though we are fortunate to live in a state with many protective measures, there is more we can do, and we can all play a part in safeguarding our community.

"Anyone with questions regarding firearm safety is encouraged to contact the Arlington Police Department at 781-643-1212."


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This community letter was published Sunday, July 10, 2022. John Guilfoil Public Relations provided information.

 

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