The head of the state’s largest gun ownership rights organization and a Democratic candidate for governor faced off outside the Statehouse in Boston on April 17, to debate gun policy.
Much of the debate between Jim Wallace, the executive director of the Gun Owners’ Action League, representing more than 350,000 registered gun owners in the Bay State, and state Treasurer Steve Grossman, a gubernatorial candidate, centered around Gov. Deval Patrick’s “one gun a month” policy and a proposal by former state Sen. Warren Tolman, who is running to be the attorney general, requiring smart technology on all firearms sold in Massachusetts.
Wallace emphasized “the plight of law-abiding gun owners who feel persecuted under the current Massachusetts laws and the abject failure of the current laws to reduce crime,” while Grossman chastised opponent, Martha Coakley, the current attorney general, for blowing off the debate.
"Martha Coakley doesn't think one gun a month is enough for Massachusetts residents, and even worse she’s not here today to tell us why she rejects this common-sense gun safety measure,” Grossman said. “I just don't understand why she continues to side with NRA on this issue. Simply put, gun laws save lives. And there are more lives we can save through common-sense solutions that stop gun violence."
Coakley’s campaign told The Associated Press she wouldn’t attend, calling the debate a "stunt."
Wallace countered Grossman’s comments by saying, “These candidates need to realize the failure gun control in Massachusetts … What we need to do is stop dividing ourselves on useless policies and join together to find a way to stop the criminals from trafficking guns like our legislation, H. 3264, The Civil Rights and Public Safety Act.”
GOAL updated its Twitter followers saying, “We had fun at the debate, lets do it again with all of the candidates!” The group hopes to hold similar events with other candidates before the election.