Mass. Residents Join in on Gun Control Conversation

(NECN: Alysha Palumbo, Sudbury, Mass.) - "The data is just overwhelming, these guns are not protecting us," said Harvard University Public Health Professor Dr. David Hemenway.

A gun violence forum at Lincoln-Sudbury High School drew a large crowd Wednesday night, as the issue of gun control continued to permeate both local and national discussions.

"I think that right now emotions are running very high and people are on one side or the other of the issue and we’re not really having a civil dialogue and discussion," said Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian.

Sheriff Koutoujian moderated a panel on the topic, where the audience asked questions and local doctors and professors shared some of their gun control research.

"Our unintentional firearms death rate is ten times higher, that’s how we’re protecting our children, all the other developed countries look at us and cannot understand what are we doing?" Dr. Hemenway said.

"We cannot be a silent majority, hoping for improved gun safety, we need to work together with responsible gun owners to support comprehensive policies that will enable enforcement of the current laws where they work and write new ones where there are gaps," Dr. Michael Reinhorn, a Newton-Wellesley surgeon, said.

The discussion was also going on in Boston – a city that’s seen its share of gun violence recently, from the Mattapan massacre in 2010, to the shooting of a 13-year-old boy walking to church just last week.

Mayor Tom Menino and Police Commissioner Ed Davis applauded President Obama’s actions Wednesday – signing 23 executive orders on gun control and mental illness, calling on Congress to act on gun restrictions, and urging the American people to speak up against gun lobbyists.

"We will hold all members of Congress accountable, no matter what party they belong to and we will not allow one organization to hijack our government," Mayor Menino said.

"It is unconscionable that we stand by and allow people to frighten us into inaction and hide behind the Constitution," Commissioner Davis said.

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