BOSTON (CBS) – The two Boston Police officers critically wounded in East Boston this week were top of mind as a campaign to stop gun violence came to Boston Friday. It’s called “The Vocal Majority Tour” and the leader is former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords who suffered a severe brain injury when she was shot five years ago.
The goal is to elect people who will support national gun control measures. They call it ballots over bullets. The message is to fight the gun lobby on Election Day.
“Stopping gun violence takes courage, the courage to do what’s right,” says Giffords.
Saying “we are the vocal majority” the tour bus stopped at the Boston Common, calling for the election of people who will vote for what they call common sense gun reform. Congresswoman Giffords spoke briefly, but powerfully.
“Democrats. Republicans. Everyone. We must never stop fighting,” she told a small crowd.
The emphasis is on electing people who will push for expanded background checks. “They can reduce the risk of terrible incidents like the shooting we had in East Boston of two Boston Police officers the other night,” says Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
Other Massachusetts politicians picked up the drumbeat. “We wake up, day after day, to more stories, more statistics, more lives lost,” says Rep. Joe Kennedy.
“The epidemic of gun violence is not pre-ordained, it is preventable,” added Sen. Ed Markey.
While Massachusetts has among the strongest gun laws, neighboring states do not, so the campaign is calling for nationwide rules. “When the facts come out about the police officers shot this week, there’s a 70% chance that those weapons were purchased in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont or one of the southern states that are crime gun source states,” says John Rosenthal, the co-founder of Stop Handgun Violence.
He says more than 2/3rds of the guns used to commit crimes in Mass. are from out of state.
The organization behind the tour, Americans for Responsible Solutions, was founded by Giffords and her husband Capt. Mark Kelly, and has endorsed several dozen candidates across the country.