Healey Cites “Public Health Crisis” Following Las Vegas Massacre

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2017/10/03/healey-cites-public-health-crisis-following-las-vegas-massacre/


By Katie Lannan

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, OCT. 3, 2017…..As Las Vegas grapples with the aftermath of Sunday night’s mass shooting that left 59 dead and over 500 injured, Attorney General Maura Healey said she has offered help to her counterpart in Nevada.

Healey said she spoke Monday with Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt and proposed making support from her office available to him. At the start of her remarks Tuesday, Attorney General Maura Healey reflected on Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas and asked for a moment of silence. 

“Unfortunately, we have some experience from the marathon bombing and other events, and I think particularly with regards to the deep need that they have for victim witness services, we want to do everything we can — and we will — as a state,” Healey said before testifying at a Health Policy Commission hearing on health care cost trends.

The attorney general opened her remarks with a request for a moment of silence for the victims of the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival — including Rhonda LaRocque of Tewksbury — and their families.

“I’m hoping and praying that at long last, this time our leaders will find the courage to do what is right to face this as the public health crisis that it is, and to acknowledge that as with all public health crises, there’s certain things that are preventable,” she said. “I hope our Congress will take meaningful steps to prevent this kind of tragedy from ever happening again.”

Authorities have identified Stephen Paddock, 64, as the gunman, and said he fired on the crowd of thousands from a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino around 10 p.m. Sunday. Sheriff Joe Lombardo said at a Monday afternoon media briefing that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is still working to investigate the shooter’s motives.

Healey touched off a flood of criticism from gun owners last summer when she announced her office would include copies and duplicates of prohibited guns in its enforcement of the state’s 1998 assault weapon ban.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo on Thursday plans to meet with Northeastern University criminologist Jack McDevitt to review the impact of a 2014 gun law that included suicide prevention initiatives, firearm tracing and new background check requirements. A study was called for in a spending bill lawmakers passed in the fall of 2015.

“It wasn’t necessarily to go after gun owners or anything else like that, it’s just that we wanted to see exactly where we are, were our laws working, could they be better at some point, did we miss points, or whatever,” DeLeo said after speaking at the health costs hearing.

DeLeo said he has wanted to see Massachusetts gun laws could serve as a model for Congress and for other states.

“Quite frankly, whatever we do here, unless we’re going to get some real legislation out of Washington we’re going to be limited,” DeLeo said. “We can say we’ve got the strongest gun laws in Massachusetts, but across the border in other states, if they don’t share that same type of strong legislation, then we can only go so far. What we can only hope, and it was my hope when we passed that Massachusetts legislation, that other states would follow suit, but I’m not sure how optimistic I am about that to be honest with you.”