BOSTON – After reviewing the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on criminal data among Northeast states, the Gun Owners’ Action League of Massachusetts (“GOAL”) believes that it is yet another empty promise from elected officials providing themselves with nice soundbites for voters. GOAL is certain this MOU only represents an admission of guilt by our government for not doing their jobs to stop criminal gun traffickers. For decades, GOAL has been asking why our state’s existing gun laws were not being enforced.

In Massachusetts over the last five years, GOAL has successfully passed comprehensive criminal laws that provide tools to law enforcement to stop criminal gun traffickers including passing legislation in 2014 that created a “State Police Criminal Firearms Task Force”. Just two weeks ago, GOAL filed legislation that combines the Commonwealth’s gun and drug trafficking laws. The bill provides up to life in prison for anyone convicted of both crimes.

As information comes in daily about the teenage shooter in Parkland, FL, we are becoming fully aware of one thing – what happened was a direct result of a systemic failure of government at every level. From the local level – to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, they all failed to do their job to stop a person repeatedly identified as a public threat.

Now, in an effort to provide themselves with political cover, the Governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, have all signed a letter outlining how they also failed. The MOU claims to attempt the following:

1. Create a data system to trace and intercept illegal guns –There are database systems already in place within the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and on state levels that can already be utilized to track criminals and gun traffickers. Why weren’t law enforcement agencies doing this already?

2. Enhanced Intelligence Gathering – Are these states telling us that their state and local law enforcement have not already been gathering information on criminal gun and drug traffickers and other prohibited persons and providing that information to the National Instant Background Check System (NICS)?

3. Explore Reciprocal Law Enforcement Powers – This measure is supposed to provide an avenue for neighboring law enforcement agencies to share information and provide assistance when needed. Why is this not already in place? If we learned anything after 9/11 it was that law enforcement agencies around the country were communicating effectively to each other to stop threats. Nearly 20 years later, there is no excuse for states’ law enforcement agencies to still not have the means to communicate effectively with each other about dangerous and violent criminals.

4. Comprehensive Study of Gun Violence –We know who the bad people are. We know they traffic guns and drugs. What is it we need to study that we don’t already know?

The bottom line is that for decades our state leaders have had the necessary tools to get criminals and gun traffickers off the streets – and they have failed to do so. Yet another systemic failure of government. DO YOUR JOB!