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(NECN: Alison King) - Lawmakers and community leaders gathered in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, blocks from where a nine-year-old boy was shot and killed recently by his 14-year-old brother with an illegal gun, to support federal gun legislation filed by Senator Ed Markey.
Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley talked about why he's supporting the legislation.
"Since I've been district attorney, 28 children under the age of 16 have been killed in Boston by firearms that were in the wrong hands," said Conley.
"It's called the Handgun Trigger Safety Act to keep guns, literally out of the hands of those who should not have them," Senator Markey added.
The legislation would require manufacturers to personalize all guns, through fingerprint or other technology, within 2 years of the laws enactment.
Gun owners wanting to sell a gun would have 3 years to retrofit it so it could only be used by an authorized person.
Calling it a public health issue, Markey compared his legislation to current laws on tobacco, seat belts and child safety caps for pharmaceuticals.
"I think as well, the gun industry is going to be subject increasingly to lawsuits because they have not installed safety features in their guns which are readily available," Senator Markey added.
This will not be an easy sell for Markey. The US Senate rejected a bill last year requiring tighter background checks on guy buyers, and a ban on assault weapons.
Additionally, President Obama has not put gun control at the top of his agenda. But Markey said it's important that Massachusetts take the lead.
"I think its in the Presidents heart that he would like to do something, but he just needs to make sure that we build this political momentum out here in the grassroots of the country," said Senator Markey.
Even those who in Massachusetts who embrace laws like background checks, like Independent candidate for Governor, Jeff McCormick, say they're not sure about this.
"First of all, I think it would be terribly difficult to enact and I personally believe that the people who are going to follow the law are the law abiding citizens, others won't. And I'm not sure how you'd even effect that," McCormick said.
Naysayers worry all this legislation will do is make it harder for gun owners to protect themselves. But for those pushing for stricter gun laws, it would go a long way toward saving lives.